Recent Media Coverage


Does Self-Control Make You Happy?

2019-07-29: Eating fruit instead of sweets, using the stairs instead of the elevator, working or learning instead of lying in the sun: self-discipline is often seen as a means to achieve personal goals. Carlos Alós-Ferrer, together with Michail Kokkoris from WU Vienna and Erik Hoelzl from the University of Cologne, has used several studies to investigate whether strict self-control and self-restraint make people happier. The answer is: not always. People who make very rational decisions actually do feel better when they resist temptation. This is different for people who decide "from the gut": they feel that self-restraint is unauthentic and tend to decide against it.

Articles (in German):Blick, Der Standard

Are we Altruistic or Selfish?

2019-04-17: This is the question that the TV program Sternstunde Philisophie tries to answer. In an interview, Ernst Fehr explains how trust or a sense of justice can be observed by playing small games. In his opinion both behaviours - egoism and altruism - are inherent in humans, but that it depends on the incentives, or rules of the game, which one prevails. But is that also true for major global issues such as climate change or organ donation? Find out and watch the Interview in German here

Rationality and Emotions in Economic Decisions

2019-04-10: The relatively young discipline of neuroeconomics uses biological mechanisms to analyze human decision-making: do we decide purely in a rational manner or do emotions sometimes take over? With the help of brain scans and magnetic stimulation, this can not only be measured, but also manipulated. Observing different areas in the brain show how decisions change when, for example, the test subjects are put under stress or certain brain regions are stimulated with electromagnetic waves. The TV programme Tempi Moderni by RSI takes a look over the shoulder of the researchers in the SNS Lab and wants to know for what - apart from marketing purposes - the findings are useful.
Watch programme (in Italian)

Negative Emotions Can Reduce Our Capacity to Trust

2019-03-13: It is no secret that a bad mood can negatively affect how we treat others. However, does it also make us more distrustful? Yes, according to a new study, which shows that negative emotions reduce how much we trust others, even if these emotions were triggered by events that have nothing to do with the decision to trust. The study was carried out by an international research team around Christian Ruffand Ernst Fehr.


Morals versus Money: How We Make Social Decisions

2019-02-06: Our actions are guided by moral values. However, monetary incentives can get in the way of our good intentions. An international group of Neuroeconomists under the supervision of Christian Ruff have now investigated in which area of the brain conflicts between moral and material motives are resolved. Their findings reveal that our actions are more social when these deliberations are inhibited.

Press Release