Bastian Jaeger
  • Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 225, Simon Building, room S 406

    5037 DB Tilburg

    Netherlands

20162024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University.

I studied at the University of Cologne (B.Sc. Social Sciences) and the University of St Andrews (MRes Psychology) before completing my PhD at Tilburg University in 2020. My dissertation focused on how and why first impressions influence our behavior.

My research focuses on three topics:

Altruism & Morality

Most people agree that it is important to reduce suffering and increase well-being in the world. This is an important motivation for individuals when they donate money or volunteer their time and it is also a key goal of national governments and intergovernmental organizations like the UN. So how can we make the world a better place for everyone? This is a diffucult question because there are so many problems in the world - inequality, climate change, factory farming, the threat of nuclear war and pandemics, to name just a few - and we have limited time and resources to tackle them.

We can use evidence and reason to figure out which issues to prioritize and how to do the most good possible. But research shows that prosocial behavior is often driven by emotions and intuitions. For example, many people donate to local charities even though their contributions have a much larger impact abroad. People are also more likely to help someone in need if they look similar and hearing about the suffering of a single person can move people more than hearing about the suffering of thousands. I study the psychological factors that make us care about some individuals, but not others, why our altruistics acts often fail to reduce suffering in an effective way, and how we can promote more impactful giving.

My ultime goal is to understand how we can reduce suffering in the world - no matter where it occurs, when it occurs, or who experiences it. For example, a tremendous amount of suffering is experienced by non-human animals. I study how people reason about the moral standing of animals and how we can reduce meat consumption. You can listen to an introduction to effective altruism, featuring some of my research, here.

First impressions & Social biases

Despite the old maxim to not “judge a book by its cover”, people are very quick in judging others based on their looks. My research explores the antecedents and consequences of first impressions. How do we form impressions of others? Which facial features make a person look trustworthy or competent? How accurate are our first impressions? How do first impressions influence our decisions? Why is the influence of first impressions so persistent and difficult to suppress? How can we reduce the influence of first impressions?

To answer these questions, I analyze data from the lab and the field, using a variety of methods such as face morphing, face classification algorithms, machine learning, and economic games (you can watch a 10-minute video on this topic here).

Meta-science & Research methods

The social and behavioral sciences are undergoing a fundamental change at the moment. Many published research findings fail to replicate, questioning many established theories and their practical usefulness. A critical examination of how we do science shows that questionable research practices (e.g., p-hacking) are common and serious methodological shortcomings (e.g., small sample sizes) are widespread. My goal is to understand and improve the way we do science. I contribute to projects that aim to promote collaboration, test the (cross-cultural) replicability of important theories, or understand how the outcomes of studies are shaped by differences in study design and differences in analytic approaches.

Current courses

Click here for my courses.

Teaching

  • Courses: Rational Thinking and Decision-Making
  • Supervision: Master and Research Master theses

Keywords

  • Morality
  • Altruism
  • Ethics
  • Judgment And Decision Making
  • Human-Animal Relations
  • Impression Formation
  • Discrimination
  • Social Psychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Research Methdology

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