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11-02-2015

Clarkson University Psychology Professor Immersed in Ideas in Germany

As an associate professor of psychology at Clarkson University, Andreas Wilke studies how people make decisions, but he probably didn't have to think twice about spending part of his sabbatical in a Bavarian Castle at Lake Tegernsee, Germany.
 
Andreas WilkeEarlier in October, he joined his former research institute -- the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin -- as a visiting researcher. For the remainder of the calendar year, he'll be immersed in research activities and will be presenting his work at institutions across the country.
 
“This is my former research group -- the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition -- where I did my Ph.D. training,” says Wilke, a Germany native. “We just call it ABC. The center encompasses an interdisciplinary and international research group of psychologists, economists, behavioral biologists, computer scientists, mathematicians, anthropologists, philosophers, and researchers from other disciplines. The group’s research addresses key questions such as: How do humans and other animals make decisions under uncertainty, that is, when time and information are limited and the future is unknown?”
 
The researchers often focus their work on important applied problems as well. For instance, on risk literacy when educating young people on the dangers and uncertainties of everyday life or on risk communication when helping patients (and doctors) to better understand complicated medical information. Parts of the group also inform and consult the public about critical decision-making issues in law or business.
 
“It's a great honor to be back again and help move forward some of these important research questions," he says. "The retreat program for this week is a mix of things. We will have discussions on working papers and joint group work on selected topics. There will be tutorials on key research topics as well as career development workshops for the younger, next generation scientists on grant writing and job applications."
 
In the past, research retreats such as these have resulted in book proposals that compiled the group’s work on heuristic decision-making. The castle where he's staying is booked years in advance and used throughout the many research groups and institutes of the Max Planck Society as one of their main conference and research retreat locations.
 
Wilke will be traveling around Germany and Switzerland to speak about sequential decision-making and illusionary pattern detection in habitual gamblers, something he researched recently in the North Country. He'll also share ideas with colleagues in the evolutionary behavioral sciences at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. Before the year ends, he'll give an overview lecture at the University of Konstanz on his decision-making research.
 
For more information on the Max Planck Institute, go to https://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/en/institute/max-planck-society. For more information on Castle Ringberg, go to http://www.schloss-ringberg.de/home.
 
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/awilke-castle.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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