Politics is my passion. I deeply care about what is going on in the world around me. For quite some time, I´ve been engaged in local political organizations, spending countless hours on the streets to convince citizens to cast their ballots.
Like so many others, at one point in time I asked myself if what what we do is of any worth. If the practices of political campaigning in Germany that have grown into habits actually represent the best and most effective way of mobilizing and persuading voters. What is it that makes voters cast their ballots for one party and not the other? Why do some citizens decide not vote at all and what can we do about it?
In politics, most people have thoughts on these questions and many believe to know the final answers. Yet, often these accounts are based on unfounded hearsay or reflect true but biased experiences. In order to -at least- get closer to an answer to these question, I shifted the focus of my studies on political behavior and public opinion. During my master´s studies at the University of Bamberg, I learned, that the explanation of voter behavior requires a proper understanding of the psychological mechanisms that precede attitude formation and individual action. This is why we need to work across disciplinary boundaries and need to integrate the insights from psychology, sociology, political science and motivation theory.
I’ve been employed both in the public service and in academia. I worked for projects promoting local democracy and, for several years, I worked for a member of parliament. In recent years my occupational focus shifted to academic research.
Currently, I work for MZES (Mannheim Centre for European Social Research) and Gesis (Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences) in Mannheim. I am associated with the Chair for Political Psychology (Harald Schoen), one of the Principal Investigators for the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES). My responsibility is the programming and implementation of the GLES online panel surveys.
Two GLES panel components are surveyed at the research chair: The long-term panel observes voters over the course of 8 years (3 federal elections). The campaign panel observes many thousands of citizens in the 12 months preceding the 2017 federal elections. Each of these surveys comply with the highest standards of data quality in social scientific surveys and offer unique opportunities to study voting behavior in changing contexts over time.