Navigation und Suche der Universität Osnabrück



Welcome to the Department of Developmental Psychology!

Our research concerns three interrelated themes: Intergroup relations, personality, and (anti-)social behavior. We use an interdisciplinary, developmental perspective, examining short- & long-term changes and stability in social, personality, hormonal, and behavioral processes throughout the lifespan.





20.02.2024 - We have a new publication!

Scharbert, J., Humberg, S., Kroencke, L., Reiter, T., Sakel, S., ter Horst, J., Utesch, K., Gosling, S. D., Harari, G., Matz, S. C., Schoedel, R., Stachl, C., Aguilar, N. M. A., Amante, D., Aquino, S. D., Bastias, F., Bornamanesh, A., Bracegirdle, C., Campos, L. A. M., . . . Back, M. D. (2024). Psychological well-being in Europe after the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Nature Communications, 15(1), 1202.

16.02.2024 - We are looking for an intern!

We are looking for a new intern at the earliest possible date!

The focus of the internship will be on supporting the planning & implementation of the seminar “Jugend macht Hochschule: Diskriminierung im Jugendalter” in the upcoming summer semester. In addition, the specific content and time frame of the internship can be determined by individual agreement. As the seminar will be held in German, a good knowledge of German is also required.

If you are interested, please contact Wilma Middendorf ( and Şeyma Parlak ( We look forward to hearing from you!

13.02.2024 - We have a new publication!

Scharbert, J., Utesch, K., Reiter, T. F., ter Horst, J., van Zalk, M., Back, M. D., & Rau, R. (in press). If you were happy and you know it, clap your hands! Testing the peak-end rule for retrospective judgments of well-being in everyday life. European Journal of Personality.

05.01.2024 - Call for contribution: Special issue on the Impact of Social Norms on Cohesion and (De)Polarization

DEADLINE Abstracts: September 2024
DEADLINE Submissions: January 2025

We are thrilled to invite contributions to a forthcoming Special Issue on the journal Social Inclusion entitled "Special issue on the Impact of Social Norms on Cohesion and (De)Polarization". For details, please see

22.11.2023 - We have a new publication!

Shani, M., De Lede, S., Richters, S., Kleuker, M., Middendorf, W., Liedtke, J., Witolla, S. & Van Zalk, M. (2023). A social network intervention to improve adolescents’ intergroup tolerance via Norms of Equality-Based Respect: The “Together for Tolerance” Feasibility Study. International journal of developmental science, 17(1–3), 93–110.

12.07.2023 - We were at the 19th General Meeting of the EASP (European Association of Social Psychology) in Krakow!

There, we presented our current projects:

Middendorf, W., van Zalk, M. & Wölfer, R. (2023, July 4). A Transactional Model of Parental and Adolescent Intergroup Attitude Development [Poster Presentation]. 19th General Meeting of the EASP, Krakow, Poland.

Richters, S. & van Zalk, M. (2023, July 4). Which norms matter? An online-experiment testing the effect of friendship-group and school level norms on adolescent defending in bullying situations [Blitz Presentation]. 19th General Meeting of the EASP, Krakow, Poland.

ter Horst, J., Richters, S. & van Zalk, M. (2023, July 4). (Anti-)Social Media – A social network study analyzing the effect of peers’ social media behavior on adolescent loneliness [Blitz Presentation]. 19th General Meeting of the EASP, Krakow, Poland.

We thank the hosts for the organization and our colleagues from social psychology for the exchange!

More information at

21.06.2023 - We have a new publication!

Scharbert, J.*, Reiter, T.*, Sakel, S.*, ter Horst, J.*, Geukes, K., Gosling, S. D., Harari, G. M., Kroencke, L., Matz, S., Schoedel, R., Shani, M., Stachl, C., Talaifar, S., Aguilar, N. M. A., Amante, D., Aquino, S. D., Bastias, F., Biesanz, J. C., Bornamanesh, A., . . . Back, M. D. (2023). A global experience-sampling method study of well-being during times of crisis: The CoCo project. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 17(10), e12813.

11.05.2023 - We are looking for a research intern (m/f/d)!

For our international research project "Together for Tolerance" we are looking for research interns starting immediately or at any time with flexible working hours!

The tasks are varied and depend on the desired internship period. Contact us so that we can find out together how you can best contribute your knowledge and strengths to the project.

Please send your application in a PDF document to Wilma Middendorf (wilma.middendorf[at] with the subject Research Internship_YourName.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

18.03.2023 - We have a new publication!

Kauff, M., Kotzur, P. F., Van Assche, J., Schäfer, S. J., van Zalk, M. H., & Wagner, U. (2023). A longitudinal test of secondary transfer effects of negative intergroup contact and mediating processes. European Journal of Social Psychology.

17.01.2023 - We have a new publication!

Back, M. D., Branje, S. J. T., Eastwick, P. W., Human, L. J., Penke, L., Sadikaj, G., Slatcher, R. B., Thielmann, I., van Zalk, M. H. W., & Wrzus, C. (2023). Personality and social relationships: What do we know and where do we go. Personality Science, 4, 1-32.

22.12.2022 - We have a new publication!

De Moor, E. L., Cheng, T.-Y., Spitzer, J. E., Berger, C., Carrizales, A., Garandeau, C. F., Gerbino, M., Hawk, S. T., Kaniušonytė, G., Kumru, A., Malonda, E., Rovella, A., Shen, Y.-L., Taylor, L. K., van Zalk, M., Branje, S., Carlo, G., Padilla-Walker, L., van der Graaff, J. (2022). What should I do and who’s to blame? A cross-national study on youth’s attitudes and beliefs in times of COVID-19. PLOS ONE, 17(12), Article e0279366.

01.07.2022 - We have a new publication!

Padilla-Walker, L. M.,  Van der Graaff, J., Workman, K., Carlo, G. , Branje, S., Carrizales, A., Gerbino, M., Gülseven, Z., Hawk, S. T., Kanacri, P. L., Mesurado, B., Samper-García, P., Shen, Y. L., Taylor, L. K., Trach, J., van Zalk, M. H. W., Žukauskienė, R. (2022). Emerging adults’ cultural values, prosocial behaviors, and mental health in 14 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 46(4), 286–296.

23.05.2022 - We have a new publication!

Humberg, S., Dufner, M., Schönbrodt, F. D., Geukes, K., Hutteman, R., van Zalk, M. H. W., Denissen, J. J. A., Nestler, S., & Back, M. D. (2022). The true role that suppressor effects play in condition-based regression analysis: None. A reply to Fiedler (2021). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 123(4), 884–888.

13.12.2021 - We have a new publication!

Friehs, M. T., Kotzur, P. K. Böttcher, J., Zöller, A. C., Lüttmer, T., Wagner, U., Asbrock, F., van Zalk, M. H. W. (2022). Examining the structural validity of stereotype content scales – A preregistered re-analysis of published data and discussion of possible future direction. International Review of Social Psychology, 35(1), 1.

20.07.2021 - Funding from the Landespräventionsrat Niedersachsen!

Maarten van Zalk and the Verein Niedersächsische Bildungsinitiativen received funding for the project "Together for tolerance: Miteinander füreinander" from the Landespräventionsrat Niedersachsen.

Total: 60.000 €
van Zalk: 22.500 €

04.07.2021 - Funding received from the VW Foundation: "Inclusivity"!

Prof Eva Jaspers (University Utrecht), Prof Marcin Bukowski (Jagiellonian University), Prof Miranda Lubbers (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Prof Oliver Christ (FernUniversity Hagen) and Prof Maarten van Zalk received funding for the project "Inclusivity norms to counter polarization in European societies (INCLUSIVITY)" in the Challenge for Europe call by the VW Foundation

Total: 1.488.800 €
van Zalk: 436.700 €

05.04.2021 - Funding received from the DFG: "Coping with Corona"

Prof. Maarten van Zalk (Osnabrück University), Prof. Mitja Back (WWU Münster) and Prof. Markus Bühner (LMU München) received funding for the project "Coping with Corona (CoCo): Understanding individual differences in well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic" by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Total: € 1.416.250
van Zalk: € 347.750