Before joining Cass Business School in 2018, I was an Assistant Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Until 2016, I was a post-doc at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I received my PhD in 2014 from the University of Cologne, Germany. In 2009, I graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, with additional time spent abroad at Kyoto University, Japan, and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
My work investigates how people pursue their goals in a social context (Fishbach, Steinmetz, & Tu, 2016; Steinmetz & Pfattheicher, 2017; Steinmetz, Xu, Fishbach, & Zhang, 2016). In one major line of work, I find that actions done in the presence of others are magnified. For instance, people (falsely) believe that they ate larger portions of food when someone was watching them eat, because the social presence magnifies the action. Furthermore, people in test situations amplify both their successes and failures (i.e., the number of correct and incorrect answers) when they are observed during the test. This work suggests that people perceive the world in a fundamentally different way in the presence of others.
More generally, I’m interested in how people think about themselves and others. For example, I have investigated how self-control is affected depending on whether people construe their self in an independent versus interdependent way (Steinmetz & Mussweiler, 2017). I have further shown effects of such self-construals on stereotyping and decision-making (Speckmann & Steinmetz, in prep.; Steinmetz, Bosak, Sczesny, & Eagly, 2014). Because people often communicate their self-perceptions and decisions to others, I have examined whether the way people think about themselves affects how they portray themselves in public. It shows that, when people project their self-perceptions onto others, systematic mishaps in impression management can occur (Steinmetz, 2018; Steinmetz, Sezer, & Sedikides, 2017).
In another major line of work, I study how the concrete physical context affects people’s perceptions and behavior. I have shown that in physically warmer conditions, people are more motivated to perceive similarities and to assimilate to other people (Steinmetz & Mussweiler, 2011). Because people are also more motivated to affiliate in warmer conditions, their response behavior in surveys was biased towards greater affirmation of neutral items (Steinmetz & Posten, 2017, 2018). Even when only mentally simulating physical states, these simulation can affect judgments and behavior (Hansen & Steinmetz, under review; Steinmetz, Tausen, & Risen, 2018).