Research at the Faculty of Psychology

We are committed to conducting research on some of the most pressing issues of our day, for example on the psychological conditions and consequences of digitalization, of social inequalities and stigmatization, of large-scale social transformations, or of changes in the organization of work as well as on the role of science within different historical and political contexts.

Our research endeavors are based on the firm belief that scientifically addressing socially relevant issues requires a spirit of collaboration and exchange of ideas between research fields, disciplines, established methods and, most of all, researchers, in the humanities, social sciences, and the natural sciences.

We therefore research human thinking, feeling, and agency in its social, cultural and historical context.  Finally, we hold that answering the scientific and social problems of the present and future must be based on a solid understanding of the past.

Research at the Faculty of Psychology is unique in the following ways:

  • Humanities and social science orientation: Psychological research at the SFU is rooted in humanities and the social sciences. It is in this way that we position ourselves as an alternative to the natural scientific orientation of psychology that is predominantly represented at other universities. However, with “alternative” we do not mean “opposition”. Rather, we understand and research that and how different approaches in psychology are anchored in varying historical, cultural and geopolitical contexts.
  • Theory: Basic theories hold an independent place in our research. On the one hand, the relationship between theory and empirical approaches must be determined separately for different methodological approaches. On the other hand, we consider basic theories beyond testable micro-theories and empirically developed theories to be indispensable.
  • Methods: We stand for method pluralism beyond methodological anything-goes, with qualitative and quantitative methods equally weighted in research. The choice of research methods is based on problems and research questions and mixed method projects and method triangulations are often necessary to adequately investigate a phenomenon.
  • Research culture: We practice a culture of dialogue across disciplinary and methodological boundaries. Deducing the choice of methods from research questions without compromising methodological expertise requires a high level of skills in dialogue and cooperation across traditional sub-disciplines and methods from our researchers. However, we do not wish to see cultural, social and natural science approaches coexisting independently, but rather to encourage collegial exchange and mutual broadening of perspectives. After all, maintaining research creativity and freedom on the one hand and bundling research projects in research priorities and clusters on the other requires a special balancing act.

Research at the Faculty of Psychology is divided into four research foci, each of which integrates several research clusters. The organization of the research clusters across branches takes into account the internationalization and European orientation of the SFU as a whole and ensures that the unique profile of the Faculty does not remain a uniquely Austrian feature:

  • Psychology and history: History of psychology in a social and political context; Cultural psychologies of remembering.
  • Psychology of social and cultural changes: Ressentiment and change potential in Europe; psychological gender & diversity research
  • Psychology of clinically special populations: Clinical psychology and new media; Human-animal relationships; Psychology of adipositas; Psychology of epidermolysis bullosa.
  • Psychology of education, work and organisation: Work and health; Psychology of family businesses; Psychological education and giftedness research.

Research and teaching

At the Faculty of Psychology, research and teaching mutually enrich each other. Students and candidates at the Faculty of Psychology are therefore invited to participate in interdisciplinary and international cooperation projects by preparing qualification papers in coordination with the responsible project leaders.

PSY Research Projects

Related links

SFU Research Project Database

SFU Publication Database

SFU Research website

SFU Research Bulletin