PESI – Personality and Emotions in Social Interactions

Mittelgeber: DFG
Projektlaufzeit: 2017-2021
Projektleitung: Prof. Dr. Katrin Rentzsch
Projektmitarbeiterinnen: B.Sc. Vera Hebel

The focus of this research is on the analysis of personality and social emotions such as envy and shame. In this research, we are interested in individual differences in the experience of social emotions (e.g., Does everybody react with envy when being confronted with the wealth of others? Why do people differ in their emotional reaction?). Furthermore, we are interested in the social-cognitive components of the emotion process of social emotions (e.g., Which conditions must be met that a person experiences envy? How is envy expressed, and what are the personal and social consequences? How can we prevent from being envious?). Is it good or bad for our psychosocial functioning when comparing oneself with others (e.g., Does facing the profiles of others in online social networks make us depressive, aggressive, or even motivate us?).

Currently, we are investigating antecedents and consequences of social emotions within a research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG; RE 3718/3-1, PI: K. Rentzsch). Although social emotions clearly depend on the social context, paradoxically, only little research has investigated social emotions in real social interactions before. The current research project opens up new perspectives in research on social emotions since it seeks to investigate interpersonal antecedents and consequences of social emotions in real social interactions. The goal of this project is to integrate findings in a process model by connecting individual difference theories to a social-cognitive approach of social emotions.

In order to account for the perspectives of multiple interaction partners, interpersonal study designs are used. The predominantly dyadic data are analyzed using hierarchical linear modelling. In order to assess interpersonal behavior between interaction partners we use video based behavioral observation. Video recordings are analyzed using automatic facial expression analysis software and behavioral observations with trained observers.


Lange, J., Hagemeyer, B., Lösch, T., & Rentzsch, K. (2020). Accuracy and bias in the social perception of envy. Emotion, 20(8), 1399-1410.

Kontakt: Katrin Rentzsch | | Tel.: 0176-34465882