In my research, I analyze how people use media, and, in turn, how using media affects people. I focus on three particular aspects:

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1. Privacy

What is the relation between personality and privacy? Why do we disclose personal information on social networking sites?

In my dissertation The Psychology of Privacy, I tried to provide some answers to these questions. Specifically, I analyzed how we perceive privacy online, what determines self-disclosure, and how personality relates to privacy.

A major focus of my research is on the privacy paradox and the privacy calculus. Whereas the privacy paradox claims that self-disclosure online is somewhat illogical and random, the privacy calculus posits that online behavior can be explained on the basis of people’s expected benefits and perceived costs. Spoiler alert: In most of my studies (for example this one), I have found support for the privacy calculus.

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2. Well-Being

Does communication via social network sites increase loneliness? Does communicating via instant messengers influence our well-being?

Personally, I think these questions are important and belong to the most relevant ones that we can currently investigate. And the results do not always paint a negative picture: In a study with 460 people from Germany, we found that social network site communication actually increased face-to-face communication, and that instant messenger communication had no profound effects on well-being.

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3. Open Science

Finally, I’m very interested in all questions related to Open Science. Because there’s no way getting around this: We as researchers need to improve the quality of our work, too many studies cannot be replicated.

Fortunately, there are several ways to address the replicability crisis: preregistration, registered reports, open data, open materials, reproducible code, open access publication. In short, Open Science.

For example, it is my aim to publish manuscripts that are reproducible. A reproducible manuscript is a document that can be created in its entirety and automatically through the execution of code. The code takes the raw data, conducts all analyses and exports the results alongside the written content as a manuscript. Hence, no copy-pasting, less errors, more transparency, more accessibility. For an example, this manuscript can be reproduced using the following code.

In case you want to learn more about Open Science, have a look at our Agenda for Open Communication.