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Psychology Faculty and Staff

Eric Igou


Dr. Eric R. Igou                             
Senior Lecturer

Postal Address: 
Department of Psychology                                                  
University of Limerick

Telephone: 00353 (0) 61 234657

Biographical Details

I joined the University of Limerick in 2008 to become part of a newly formed and growing Department of Psychology. Here I developed 2 postgraduate courses and served as HoD (2010-2013).
I received my PhD from University of Heidelberg in 2000. Since then I worked at the University of Mannheim, the New School University (fellowship), New York University (fellowship), Tilburg University (tenured), and now the University of Limerick. 



In general terms, I investigate context effects in judgments and decision making from a social cognitive perspective. More specifically, I am interested in: 

* Assimilation and contrast effects in social judgments
* Impact of conversational rules on information processing
* Affective forecasting: how lay theories about the progression of affect (continuity vs. decrease) and how different perspectives (self vs. other) influence affective forecasts (i.e., predictions that people make about affective states)
* Mood and self-regulation: how positive mood influences goal pursuit
* Framing effects: effects of decision frames (gains vs. losses) on decisions
* Impact of construal levels (high vs. low) on judgements
* Judgements as a function of subjective experiences (ease vs. difficulty of retrieval)
* Effects of existential concerns (through mortality and life salience) on worldview defense (e.g., ideological judgments)

Current PhD Students 

* Candice Condon (co-supervised with Tim Ritchie)
* Paul Maher
* Andrew Moynihan
* Niamh O'Reilly (co-supervised with Tim Ritchie)
* David Tierney
Former PhD Students Graduation Date Current Academic Affiliation
Frederieke van Dongen 2013  
Elaine Kinsella (co-supervised with Tim Ritchie) 2013 University of Limerick
Wijnand van Tilburg 2011 University of Southampton

Social Cognition & Decision Making Lab group

Research & Lab Activities 

For those of you who do not know me or my research, I am a social psychologist, who is interested in social judgements and decision making. I am particularly interested in the influence of affect on judgements and decisions, lay beliefs about affective states and their relevance, self-regulation, existential psychology, political psychology and other topics. I investigate these topics primarily from a social cognitive perspective, focusing on how judgements and behaviours are influenced by the way in which contextual information is processed and interpreted. In recent years, my research interests focused much on self-regulatory processes, in particular on how existential concerns (e.g., impressions that life may not be as meaningful as we wish it to be) trigger motivated cognitions & actions (e.g., charity work). For more information on the research that I have been conducting with colleagues and PhD students, please visit my personal website:

Lab History 

When I started at UL in 2008, I created the Social Cognition & Decision Making Lab within the Department of Psychology. This research lab group included my PhD students, voluntary research assistants, and co-op students. As a student, I have been part of a research group (Bless and Waenke) that met on a weekly basis to discuss the ongoing research. At NYU, I was part of the 'Trope Lab' and at the New School in New York I was part of the 'Schober Lab'. Then at Tilburg University I formed my own lab group. It included primarily voluntary research assistants (approx. 6) and research master students. We usually discuss research articles, read book chapters on social cognition, and - most importantly - actively engage in research (from fleshing out, discussing results and manuscripts). In the past, we have met 1-2 times per week, for about 1.5 to 2 hours per session.


Such lab activities provide students with the opportunity to discuss research materials and findings in relation to the research that is conducted with the staff member(s) of the research group. I can list many success stories associated with such lab activities, such as : 'fun' aspect of doing interesting and high quality research, familiarity with the research process, inspirations for an academic career, and potentially publications. I am happy to say that former members of the SC&DM Lab have been extremely successful in conducting research and in writing and publishing this research in psychology journals. In order to avoid any confusions: this is an extra-curricular activity. No study credits are given for these activities. The lab group is designed for people interested in doing research on the topics listed above.


I believe in research collaborations with colleagues and students. With students there is also a supervisory element, however, I put great emphasis on the collaborative spirit of research. It is my impression that this way of working together contributes to both happiness with the research process and productivity.


Please contact me if you are interested in joining the lab group. Please note that for students this entails active participation in research by means of the voluntary internship programme in research (VIP-R). Normally, the research activity within this programme is designed for one academic year. However, lab membership can be longer if the student wishes to continue. Note, as the group size needs to be limited, some students may not be able to join the group this academic year. If you are interested in joining the research lab, please let me know: a) You name (and student ID) & year of study; b) the reason for joining (details would be appreciated); c) the predicted duration of your lab membership.

Please also note that other staff members in our department have created similar groups. Details on other staff members' research and their contact information can be found on the poster re our voluntary internships programme in research (VIP-R). 

Current (c) & former (f) members of the Social Cognition and Decision Making Lab 

* Erin Beal (c)
* John Casey (c)
* Elaine Kinsella (f; now University of Limerick)
* Esther Barten (f)
* Philippe van de Calseyde (f)
* Frederieke van Dongen (f)
* Peggy Emmerink (f)
* Sanne Koevoets (f)
* Jain Holzheimer (f)
* Lonneke van der Linde (f)
* Paul Maher (c)
* Vincent Marrinan (c)
* Andrew Moynihan (c)
* Joris Mulder (f)
* Yvette van Osch (f; now Tilburg University)
* Anne-Lieke Piggen (f)
* Thijs Poels (f)
* Yaniv Shani (f; now Tel Aviv University)
* Ruud Smolders (f)
* David Tierney (c)
* Wijnand van Tilburg (f; now University of Southampton)


Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (in press). De zin van een verveeld bestaan. In Mind Magazine.

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., Igou, E. R., & Sedikides, C. (2013). In search of meaningfulness: Nostalgia as an antidote to boredom. Emotion, 13, 450-461. doi:10.1037/a0030442

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2013). On the meaningfulness of behavior: An expectancy x value approach. Motivation and Emotion, 37, 373-388. doi:10.1007/s11031-012-9316-3

Igou, E. R., Van Dongen, F., & Van Tilburg, W. A. P. (2012). Preference judgments. In V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 2nd Edition (Vol. 2, pp. 153-159). New York: Academic Press. ISBN-10:0123750008

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2012). On boredom: Lack of challenge and meaning as distinct boredom experiences. Motivation & Emotion, 36, 181-194. doi:10.1007/s11031-011-9234-9

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2011). On boredom and social identity: A pragmatic meaning-regulation approach. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1679-1691.doi:10.1177/0146167211418530

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2011). On the meaningfulness of existence: When life salience boosts adherence to worldviews. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 740-750. doi:10.1002/ejsp.819

Igou, E. R. (2011). Judgments and decisions based on attempts to disambiguate the given information: Effects of decision frames, non-diagnostic information, and information order. Discussion paper at the webconference workshop: Decision Making for a Social World, hosted by the International Cognition and Culture Institute.

Van de Calseyde, P. P. F. M., & Igou, E. R. (2010). Hier niet, daar wel: De invloed van afstand op inactie inertie. In B. Derks, R.-J. Renes, K. Ruys, N. van de Ven, & M. Vliek (Eds.), Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie 2010. Groningen: ASPO Pers.

Igou, E. R. (2010). The when and why of risky choice framing effects: A constructive processing perspective. In G. Keren, Perspectives on Framing (pp. 219-238). New York: Psychology Press, Taylor and Francis Group. ISBN-10:1848729030

Shani, Y., Igou, E. R., & Zeelenberg, M. (2009). Different ways of looking at unpleasant truths: How construal levels influence information search. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 110, 36-44. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2009.05.005

Bless, H., Keller, J., & Igou, E. R. (2009). Metacognition. In J. Förster & F. Strack (Eds.), Social Cognition, the Basis of Human Interaction. Frontiers of Social Psychology (pp. 157-178). New York: Psychology Press. ISBN-10:1-84169-451-7

Igou, E. R. (2008). "How long will I suffer" versus "How long will you suffer?" A self-other effect in affective forecasting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 899-917. doi:10.1037/a0011619

Igou, E. R., & Bless, H. (2007). On undesirable consequences of thinking: Framing effects as a function of substantive processing. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 20, 125-142. doi:10.1002/bdm.543

Igou, E. R. (2007). Additional thoughts on conversational and motivational sources of the dilution effect. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26, 61-68. doi:10.1177/0261927X06296473

Igou, E. R., & Bless, H. (2007). Conversational expectations as a basis for order effects in persuasion. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26, 260-273. doi:10.1177/0261927X06303454

Trope, Y., Igou, E. R., & Burke, C. T. (2006). Mood as resource in structuring goal pursuit. In J. P. Forgas (Ed.) Affect in social thinking and behavior (pp. 217-234). New York: Psychology Press. ISBN-10:1841694541

Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2006). Stimmung und Informationsverarbeitung. In H.-W. Bierhoff & D. Frey (Eds.), Handbuch für Sozialpsychologie und Kommunikationspsychologie (pp. 423-429). Göttingen: Hogrefe. ISBN-10:3-8017-1844-1

Gervey, B., Igou, E. R., & Trope, Y. (2005). The role of positive mood in pursuing primary self-evaluation goals. Motivation & Emotion, 29, 269-296. doi:10.1007/s11031-006-9011-3

Igou, E. R., & Bless, H. (2005). The conversational basis for the dilution effect. The Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 24, 25-35. doi:10.1177/0261927X04273035

Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2005). Mood and the use of general knowledge structures in judgment and decision making. In T. Betsch & S. Haberstroh (Eds.), The routines of decision making (pp. 193-210). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. ISBN:0-8058-4613-1

Igou, E. R. (2004). Lay theories in affective forecasting: The progression of affect. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 528-534. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2003.09.004

Igou, E. R., & Bless, H. (2003). Inferring the importance of arguments: Order effects and conversational Rules. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 91-99. doi:10.1016/S0022-1031(02)00509-7

Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2002). Die Rolle kognitiv verfügbarer Information bei der Eindrucksbildung [The role of accessible information in impression formation]. In D. Janetzko, H. A. Mayer, & M. Hildebrandt (Eds.), Das experimentalpsychologische Praktikum. Computergestützte Versuchssteuerung im Labor und WWW. Göttingen: Hogrefe. ISBN-10:3801714276

Igou, E. R., Bless, H., & Schwarz, N. (2002). Making sense of standardized survey questions: The influence of reference periods and their repetition. Communication Monographs, 69, 179-187. doi:10.1080/714041712

Igou, E. R. (2001). Determinanten der Wichtigkeit von Information: Eine kommunikative Perspektive zur Erklärung von Primacy und Recency Effekten bei Urteilen und Entscheidungen [Determinants of the importance of information: A conversational perspective for the explanation of primacy and recency effects in judgments and decisions]. Psychologia Universalis, Neue Reihe, 24. Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers. ISBN:978-3-935357-27-2

Wänke, M, Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2001). Next to a star: Paling, shining or both? Turning inter-exemplar contrast into inter-exemplar assimilation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 14-29.doi:10.1177/0146167201271002

Bless, H., Igou, E. R., Schwarz, N., & Wänke, M. (2000). Reducing context effects by adding context information: The direction and size of context effects in political judgment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1036-1045. doi:10.1177/01461672002611002

Agudelo, D., Böhne, J., Crawford, M. Galliker, M. Hemmati-Weber, M., Horlacher, K. D., Hüneke, H., Igou, E. R., Rodewald, R., & Sommer J. (1994). Das Psychologiestudium der Zukunft oder: Was wir noch immer zu träumen wagen. Journal für Psychologie, 2, 71-79. (Authors appear on article as Heidelberger Arbeitsgruppe zur Erneuerung der Psychologie)

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