Th willingness to take risks is often treated as stable personality trait. That’s not entirely true. Risk seeking depends on what we need and when we need it.
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We do it every day: correctly classifying people, objects, words. What seems easy for humans is computationally very complex. Together with Jonathan D. Nelson and Björn Meder (both Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, MPIB Berlin) I hypothesized and found that a relatively simple statistical principle called class-conditional independence (aka naive Bayes) describes human classification learning.
Human behavior changes across contexts like family, health, or job situations. I measure and model whether the aspects of situations determine our attitudes towards risk; specifically how our attitudes change across ten evolutionary domains. Together with Andreas Wilke (Clarkson University, NY, USA), I ask which processes underly domain differences.
People often state that they prefer one thing over the other. Whether these preferences are learned, constructed, discovered, or something completely different, is unclear. We ask: What is the cognitive process underlying preference formation? And we have a pretty neat idea (with Jörg Rieskamp at the University of Basel).