Hot Topics at the DGPs Congress 2018

The congress in Frankfurt will continue and expand the Hot Topic Sessions first introduced in Leipzig in 2016. The sessions will be held in English and are intended to ensure that at this year’s congress we will also be able to discuss current debates in the various fields of psychology together with our international guests. To select the Hot Topics, we asked the DGPs' expert groups for their support. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their invaluable feedback. From over 40 proposals, we have selected 16 topics that represent the diversity of psychology and - in line with the congress theme - address a number of current societal challenges.

There will either be a symposium or a panel discussion for each of the Hot Topics to which speakers have been invited. The contributions of the keynote speakers at this year's congress will also be linked to the Hot Topics. (Please note: Due to the large number of Hot Topics it was not possible to invite a keynote speaker for each one.) You are cordially invited to register your own symposia for the Hot Topics. These symposia will be grouped in the program so that small "sub-conferences" can take place. The symposia are open to all congress participants.

Hot Topics

  • Open Science in Psychology: Recommendations, Experiences, and Best-Practice-Examples

    Topic design: Felix Schönbrodt

    Open Science – increasing research transparency and reliability via open data, open materials, open access, and preregistration (where applicable) – is a fundament of good scientific practice.

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  • Reclaiming the Guiding Role of Theory in Psychological Research

    Topic design: Mario Gollwitzer

    Psychological research has come under scrutiny in recent years. In light of the so-called “replicability crisis”, many researchers have started to rethink the way they design their studies, analyze their data and report their procedures and findings.


    Joachim I. Krueger
    Brown University, USA

    "Theory in the Time of Crisis"

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  • Populism, Nationalism, and Radicalization

    Topic design: Stefan Stürmer

    A popular interpretation of the electoral successes of right-wing populist candidates and parties in Western countries refers to the concept of demagogy and deception. While right-wing populists actively deceive voters by spreading "fake news" and stirring up fears, according to this interpretation the voters have a largely passive role: they are uniformed and ignorant and inclined to be deceived because of low interests or irrational motives.

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  • Fake News and Dealing with Evidence

    Topic design: Stephan Winter

    In recent elections, the public discourse was impaired by the spread of misinformation in the social media (fake news) and disagreements on basic facts. This has led to concerns about an increasing relativism toward evidence and scientific knowledge as well as about a declining trust in the classic media and science:


    Andrew J. Flanagin
    University of California, USA

    "The Perceived Credibility of Online (Mis)information"

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  • Big Data in Psychological Research

    Topic design: Cornelius König

    Big data is “en vogue” in many scientific disciplines but, so far, they have not played a prominent role in psychology. The term “big data” encompasses different approaches to collecting and analyzing big, complex, and occasionally short-lived data, with the aim of discerning patterns by means of algorithms.

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  • Bayesian Approaches in Psychological Research

    Topic design: Steffen Nestler

    In statistics, two paradigms exist that are used to make statements about a population on the basis of sample data: While classic or frequentist statistics only use the sample data, Bayesian statistics also take into account a researcher's knowledge of the research question.


    Eric-Jan Wagenmakers
    University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

    "Bayesian Advantages for the Pragmatic Researcher"

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  • Multisensory Processing and the Neglected Senses

    Topic design: Christina Bermeitinger

    In our daily lives, we are multisensory experts. However, for many decades laboratory settings have focused on uni-sensory perception and processing, mainly in visual and auditive areas.

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  • Movement and Cognition

    Topic design: Henning Plessner & Markus Raab

    A large body of evidence suggests that human movement is strongly related to cognitive functions. Already Piaget highlighted that the emergence of motor skills determines cognitive and perceptual development.

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  • Validity of Neuroimaging Studies

    Topic design: Peter Kirsch

    In recent years, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has become one of the most popular methods in cognitive neuroscience and biological psychology. Results from fMRI research have improved our understanding of how the brain works and how psychological processes are represented there.

    Panel discussion

    Thomas Nichols
    University of Oxford, USA

    Rainer Goebel
    Maastricht University, Netherlands

    Dominik Bach

    University of Zurich, Switzerland

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  • Dynamics of Individual Change

    Topic design: Moritz Daum & Manuel Völkle

    The Hot Topic "Dynamics of Individual Change" sheds light on the analysis of individual longitudinal data from a theoretical, empirical, and methodological-analytical perspective. Human thinking, experience and behavior develop and change dynamically depending on a number of different influencing factors, both individual and contextual in nature.

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  • Heterogeneity in Learning Contexts

    Topic design: Ilonka Hardy

    Heterogeneous learning conditions include various dimensions: performance, cognition, motivation and interest, specific special educational needs, but also family background and multilingualism.


    Sara Rimm-Kaufman
    University of Virginia, USA

    "Do Teachers Matter for Children’s Development? Lessons Learned from Looking Inside Classrooms"

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  • The Social Cure: Social Processes as a Route to Better Health and Well-Being

    Topic design: Rolf van Dick

    Traditionally, psychological approaches to mental health and well-being focused on the individual. Research considered the causes of mental problems in terms of deficits in individual coping abilities, difficult personalities, or low levels of individual resilience.


    Catherine Haslam
    Australian National University
    S. Alexander Haslam
    Macquarie University, Australia

    "The new psychology of health: Unlocking the social cure"

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  • Intervention in Health and Environmental Psychology

    Topic design: Petra Warschburger

    Preservation and promotion of health and the environment are central topics in all our lives and also play an important role in politics. Recent epidemiological data on health indicate an increasing prevalence of health problems (such as "poor eating habits"; lack of exercise) but also of what are referred to as endemic diseases (such as obesity, diabetes or depression).

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  • Personality Trait Change through Intervention

    Topic design: Karl-Heinz Renner

    Multiple studies have provided evidence that personality traits change across the life span. Since personality traits predict meaningful outcomes, such as economic and relationship success, health, and well-being, the question arises whether or not interventions like psychotherapy and coaching can change personality traits.


    Brent W. Roberts
    University of Illinois, USA

    "Can Personality Traits Be Changed Through Intervention?"

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  • The State of the Art in Criminal Prognosis

    Topic design: Alexander F. Schmidt & Rainer Banse

    The valid prediction of criminal reoffending is crucial to protecting society from violent individuals. However, from a scientific viewpoint, the prognosis of relatively rare human behavior far into the future is extremely demanding.


    L. Maaike Helmus
    Carleton University, Canada

    "Offender Risk Assessment: What Is It and Where is the Field Headed?"

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