Current Research Projects

Researchers' perspectives on Science Communication within the Collaborative Research Centre 656 'Molecular Cardiovascular Imaging' (Funded by SFB 656) Funding period: 1.10.2016-20.3.2017.

Rainer Bromme, Dorothe Kienhues, Friederike Hendriks

Fostering Multiple Document Literacy Skills: A European Perspective. Project funded by ANR and DFG, within the French- German Joint Research Program in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Funding period: 01.06.2013 – 30.10.2017.

The main goal of this project is to develop and evaluate a new instructional method to develop teenage students' awareness and use of multiple documents. Our approach is grounded in an analysis of the new demands of contemporary societies on individuals' comprehension and use of documentary evidence, and on recent advances into the cognitive resources and processes that support these activities. Based on existing theoretical models, we identify two core skills, namely information evaluation and integration, which form the basis of our research and development program. Evidence from research studies and large-scale surveys suggests that many 15 year-old students experience difficulties when evaluating and integrating information across texts. At the same time, educational systems in France and Germany are lacking adequate assessment and training procedures to develop such skills. Therefore, it is theoretically and educationally relevant to assess students' potential for learning those skills, as well as to develop, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of innovative training procedures, taking into account the constraints and the affordances of different educational systems. By working collaboratively, the participating teams will capitalize on their respective areas of expertise and benefit from transnational observations and outcomes. During the three years of the project, (a) we will develop an original framework to describe the core skills targeted in our training modules and the learning potential of 9th graders; (b) we will develop and test a set of teaching modules and practice tasks focusing on each of the skills and subskills, and (c) we will implement an intervention study in which groups of students from the two countries will develop their multiple document literacy skills. Finally, we will consider the possibilities for the transfer and dissemination of the outcomes of this project to authentic learning environments.

Marc Stadtler, Rainer Bromme

Trust and Communication in a Digitized World (DFG Research Training group 1712/1).
Funding period: 01.04.2012 – 31.03.2021

The Research Training Group “Trust and Communication in a Digitized World” examines how trust can be developed and maintained against the backdrop of the contexts of new forms of communication. Digitized means of communication change the structure and sustainability of trust because firstly, familiar face-to-face communication is replaced by digitized interactions, secondly, virtual social and office networks emerge and finally, because new forms of relationships between the public, organisations and individuals develop. The postgraduate programme analyses the consequences of these processes for the establishment of trust relationships by the example of four prototypical areas: media, economy, science and sports. On the basis of specific trust problems identified for these fields of research, the doctoral researchers investigate questions of trust at three analytical levels: individuals, organisations and the public sphere. In order to examine the concepts of trust and communication in the overlapping research areas and dimensions, scholars from the field of communication studies, economics, information systems, psychology and sports science will cooperate within the framework of the interdisciplinary research programme.

Homepage of the Research Training Group
Rainer Bromme (applicant)

Judgments about One’s Own Knowledge – Expertise, Common Sense or Social Comparison.

How technical artifacts work (e.g. a helicopter) can only be explained with extensive scientific knowledge. For such everyday devices laypersons systematically overestimate their own knowledge. Only if they have to give explanations about the working of these devices, their judgments about their own knowledge drop. This could be demonstrated empirically and frequently within the paradigm of the “Illusion Of Explanatory Depth” (IOED). Within a series of empirical studies we explored the question whether such an IOED also exists regarding psychological knowledge, namely if layperson’s judgments about their own knowledge will change if they have to explain the device or phenomenon at hand. In some of these studies we used the example of the relation between violent computer games and adolescent aggression. We found a reverse IOED effect, namely after laypersons gave an explanation the judged their own knowledge regarding this topic higher than before, especially if they had to give the explanation in a concept-map. This might indicate that they believe that psychological knowledge could be inferred by common sense – something that seems impossible with scientific knowledge.
Further studies focus on the replication of the IOED effect in the domain of health-related knowledge and on differences between the assessment of one’s own knowledge and the assessment of others’ knowledge. A further series of studies focuses on the impact of the addressee of elaborations on metacognitive judgments.
Rainer Bromme, Eva Thomm