Understanding People within their Context
Understanding People within their Context
Understanding People within their Context

Igou, Eric R., Dr.

Igou, Eric R., Dr.

Dr. Eric R Igou
+ 353 61 234657
Transnational Coordinator Psychology Education
Department of Psychology E1-036 University of Limerick Limerick Ireland



Biographical Details

I received my PhD from the University of Heidelberg in 2000 (summa cum laude; supervisor and mentor: Herbert Bless). Since then I worked at the University of Mannheim, the New School University (fellowship), New York University (fellowship; mentor: Yaacov Trope), Tilburg University (tenured), and now the University of Limerick.

I joined the University of Limerick in 2008 to become part of a newly formed and growing Department of Psychology. Here I led the development of 2 postgraduate courses (MSc in Psychological Science and MA in Psychology), served for a number of years as their course director, and served for a 3-year term as Head of Department. I am currently the department’s Transnational Coordinator Psychology Education.



In general terms, I investigate social judgments from a social cognitive perspective. More specifically, I am interested in: 

  • Assimilation and contrast effects in social judgments
  • Impact of conversational rules on information processing
  • Affective forecasting: how lay theories about the progression of affect (continuity vs. decrease) and how different perspectives (self vs. other) influence affective forecasts (i.e., predictions that people make about affective states)
  • Affect and self-regulation: how affective states influences goal pursuit
  • Framing effects: effects of decision frames (gains vs. losses) on decisions
  • Impact of construal levels (high vs. low) on judgements
  • Judgements as a function of subjective experiences (ease vs. difficulty of retrieval)
  • Effects of existential concerns (through mortality and life salience) on worldview defense (e.g., ideological judgments)
  • Person perception as a function of personal cues and behavior (e..g., eccentricity, hero characteristics, middle initials)


Current PhD Students Supervisory Team Member Location of Supervision
Robert MacRory-Crowley Co-supervisors: W. A. P. van Tilburg, D. O'Shea University of Limerick
Paul J. Maher Co-supervisor: W. A. P. van Tilburg University of Limerick
Cillian McHugh Primary supervisor: M. McGann Mary Immaculate College
Andrew B. Moynihan Co-supervisor: W. A. P. van Tilburg University of Limerick
Niamh O'Reilly Co-supervisor: L. McAvinue University of Limerick
David Tierney Co-supervisor: L. McAvinue University of Limerick


Former PhD Students (Supervisory Team Member) Graduation Current Academic Affiliation
Candice Condon (Primary Supervisor: T. Ritchie) 2015 St. Patrick’s, Carlow College
Elaine Kinsella (Primary Supervisor: T. Ritchie) 2013 Mary Immaculate College
Frederieke van Dongen 2013 ---
Wijnand van Tilburg 2011 King’s College (London)


Social Cognition at the University of Limerick Lab (SOCO-UL Lab)


Research & Lab Activities 

I am a social psychologist, who is interested in social judgements and decision making. I am particularly interested in the influence of affect on judgements and decisions, lay beliefs about affective states and their relevance, self-regulation, existential psychology, person perception and other topics. I investigate these topics primarily from a social cognitive perspective, focusing on how judgements and behaviours are influenced by the way in which contextual information is processed and interpreted. In recent years, my research interests focused much on self-regulatory processes, in particular on how existential concerns (e.g., impressions that life may not be as meaningful as we wish it to be) trigger motivated cognitions & actions (e.g., charity work). For more information on the research that I have been conducting with colleagues and PhD students, please visit my personal website: http://igou.socialpsychology.org.

Lab History 

When I started at UL in 2008, I created the Social Cognition & Decision Making Lab within the Department of Psychology. This research lab group included my PhD students, voluntary research assistants, and co-op students. As a student, I have been part of a research group (Bless and Waenke) that met on a weekly basis to discuss the ongoing research. At NYU, I was part of the 'Trope Lab' and at the New School in New York I was part of the 'Schober Lab'. Then at Tilburg University I formed my own lab group. It included primarily voluntary research assistants (approx. 6) and research master students. We usually discuss research articles, read book chapters on social cognition, and - most importantly - actively engage in research (from fleshing out, discussing results and manuscripts). In the past, we have met 1-2 times per week, for about 1.5 to 2 hours per session.


Such lab activities provide students with the opportunity to discuss research materials and findings in relation to the research that is conducted with the staff member(s) of the research group. I can list many success stories associated with such lab activities, such as : 'fun' aspect of doing interesting and high quality research, familiarity with the research process, inspirations for an academic career, and potentially publications. I am happy to say that former members of the lab have been extremely successful in conducting research and in writing and publishing this research in psychology journals. In order to avoid any confusions: this is an extra-curricular activity. No study credits are given for these activities. The lab group is designed for people interested in doing research on the topics listed above.


I believe in research collaborations with colleagues and students. With students there is also a supervisory element, however, I put great emphasis on the collaborative spirit of research. It is my impression that this way of working together contributes to both happiness with the research process and productivity.


Feel free to contact me if you are interested in joining the lab group. Please note that for students this entails active participation in research by means of the voluntary internship programme in research (VIP-R). Normally, the research activity within this programme is designed for one academic year. However, lab membership can be longer if the student wishes to continue. Note, as the group size needs to be limited, some students may not be able to join the group this academic year. If you are interested in joining the research lab, please let me know: a) You name (and student ID) & year of study; b) the reason for joining (details would be appreciated); c) the predicted duration of your lab membership.

Please also note that other staff members in our department have created similar groups. Details on other staff members' research and their contact information can be found on the poster re our voluntary internships programme in research (VIP-R). 

Current (c) & former (f) members of the Social Cognition and Decision Making Lab 

Erin Beal (c), John Casey (c), Michael Clancy (c), Elaine Kinsella (f; now Mary Immaculate College), Esther Barten (f), Philippe van de Calseyde (f), Frederieke van Dongen (f), Peggy Emmerink (f), Sanne Koevoets (f), Jain Holzheimer (f), Lonneke van der Linde (f), Robert MacRory-Crowley (c), Paul J. Maher (c), Vincent Marrinan (c), Andrew B. Moynihan (c), Joris Mulder (f), Margarete O’Brien (c), Kevin O’Malley (f), Yvette van Osch (f; now Tilburg University), Anne-Lieke Piggen (f), Thijs Poels (f), Hanna Reinacher (f), Yaniv Shani (f; now Tel Aviv University), Ruud Smolders (f), Zachary Theriault (c), David Tierney (c), Wijnand A. P. van Tilburg (f; now King’s College in London), Maria-Therese Wiemer (f).

More details on SOCO-UL can be found on our Twitter: @SOCOUniLimerick


Platform for Psychological Science at the University of Limerick (PPS-UL)

A number of colleagues and I developed the network PPS-UL to promote psychological science at the University of Limerick. This is an inter-faculty network with multiple perspectives on psychological science, promoting multi-methods approaches. More details on the PPS-UL can be found on our website and on Twitter: @ PPSUniLimerick



Igou, E. R., & Van Tilburg, W. A. P. (2015). Ahead of others in the authorship order: Names with middle initials appear earlier in the author list of academic psychology articles. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:469. doi: 0.3389/fpsyg.2015.00469

Moynihan, A. B., Van Tilburg, W. A. P., Igou, E. R., Wisman, A., Donnelly, A. E., & Mulcaire, J. B. (2015). Eaten up by boredom: Consuming food to escape awareness of the bored self. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:369. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00369

Condon, C. E., Ritchie, T. D., & Igou, E. R. (2015). How dyads reminiscence moderates the relations between familiarity, trust, and memory conformity. Social Psychology, 46, 65-75. doi:10.1027/1864-9335/a000222

Kinsella, E. L., Ritchie, T. D., & Igou, E. R. (2015). Lay perspectives on the social and psychological functions of heroes. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:130. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00130

Kinsella, E. L., Ritchie, T. D., & Igou, E. R. (2015). Zeroing in on heroes: A prototype analysis of hero features. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108, 114-127. doi:10.1037/a0038463

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2014). Moving onwards: An action continuation strategy in finding the way. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 27, 408-418. doi:10.1002/bdm.1817

MacIntyre, T. E., Igou, E. R., Campbell, M. J., Moran, A. P., & Matthews, J. (2014). Metacognition and action: A new pathway to understanding social and cognitive aspects of expertise in sport. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:1155. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01155

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2014). The impact of middle names: Middle initials enhance perceived intellectual performance. European Journal of Social Psychology, 44, 400-411. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2026

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2014). From Van Gogh to Lady Gaga: Artist eccentricity increases perceived artistic skill and art appreciation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 44, 93-103. doi:10.1002/ejsp.1999

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2013). De zin van een verveeld bestaan. In-Mind Nederland, 1. http://nl.in-mind.org/uploads/In-mind%20NL/Issue%201/VanTilburg&Igou_Opgemaakt.pdf

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., Igou, E. R., & Sedikides, C. (2013). In search of meaningfulness: Nostalgia as an antidote to boredom. Emotion, 13, 450-461. doi:10.1037/a0030442

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2013). On the meaningfulness of behavior: An expectancy x value approach. Motivation and Emotion, 37, 373-388. doi:10.1007/s11031-012-9316-3

Igou, E. R., Van Dongen, F., & Van Tilburg, W. A. P. (2012). Preference judgments. In V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 2nd Edition (Vol. 2, pp. 153-159). New York: Academic Press. ISBN-10:0123750008

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2012). On boredom: Lack of challenge and meaning as distinct boredom experiences. Motivation & Emotion, 36, 181-194. doi:10.1007/s11031-011-9234-9

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2011). On boredom and social identity: A pragmatic meaning-regulation approach. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1679-1691. doi:10.1177/0146167211418530

Van Tilburg, W. A. P., & Igou, E. R. (2011). On the meaningfulness of existence: When life salience boosts adherence to worldviews. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 740-750. doi:10.1002/ejsp.819

Igou, E. R. (2011). Judgments and decisions based on attempts to disambiguate the given information: Effects of decision frames, non-diagnostic information, and information order. Discussion paper at the webconference workshop: Decision Making for a Social World, hosted by the International Cognition and Culture Institute. http://www.cognitionandculture.net/Social-decisions-workshop/judgments-and-decisions.html

Van de Calseyde, P. P. F. M., & Igou, E. R. (2010). Hier niet, daar wel: De invloed van afstand op inactie inertie. In B. Derks, R.-J. Renes, K. Ruys, N. van de Ven, & M. Vliek (Eds.), Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie 2010. Groningen: ASPO Pers.

Igou, E. R. (2010). The when and why of risky choice framing effects: A constructive processing perspective. In G. Keren, Perspectives on Framing (pp. 219-238). New York: Psychology Press, Taylor and Francis Group. ISBN-10:1848729030

Shani, Y., Igou, E. R., & Zeelenberg, M. (2009). Different ways of looking at unpleasant truths: How construal levels influence information search. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 110, 36-44. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2009.05.005

Bless, H., Keller, J., & Igou, E. R. (2009). Metacognition. In J. Förster & F. Strack (Eds.), Social Cognition, the Basis of Human Interaction (pp. 157-178). Frontiers of Social Psychology. New York: Psychology Press. ISBN-10:1-84169-451-7

Igou, E. R. (2008). “How long will I suffer?” versus “How long will you suffer?” A self-other effect in affective forecasting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 899-917. doi:10.1037/a0011619

Igou, E. R., & Bless, H. (2007). On undesirable consequences of thinking: Framing effects as a function of substantive processing. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 20, 125-142. doi:10.1002/bdm.543

Igou, E. R. (2007). Additional thoughts on conversational and motivational sources of the dilution effect. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26, 61-68. doi:10.1177/0261927X06296473

Igou, E. R., & Bless, H. (2007). Conversational expectations as a basis for order effects in persuasion. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26, 260-273. doi:10.1177/0261927X06303454

Trope, Y., Igou, E. R., & Burke, C. T. (2006). Mood as resource in structuring goal pursuit. In J. P. Forgas (Ed.) Affect in social thinking and behavior (pp. 217-234). New York: Psychology Press. ISBN-10:1841694541

Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2006). Stimmung und Informationsverarbeitung. In H.-W. Bierhoff & D. Frey (Eds.), Handbuch für Sozialpsychologie und Kommunikationspsychologie (pp. 423-429). Göttingen: Hogrefe. ISBN-10:3-8017-1844-1

Gervey, B., Igou, E. R., & Trope, Y. (2005). The role of positive mood in pursuing primary self-evaluation goals. Motivation & Emotion, 29, 269-296. doi:10.1007/s11031-006-9011-3

Igou, E. R., & Bless, H. (2005). The conversational basis for the dilution effect. The Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 24, 25-35. doi:10.1177/0261927X04273035

Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2005). Mood and the use of general knowledge structures in judgment and decision making. In T. Betsch & S. Haberstroh (Eds.), The routines of decision making (pp. 193-210). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. ISBN:0-8058-4613-1

Igou, E. R. (2004). Lay theories in affective forecasting: The progression of affect. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 528-534. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2003.09.004

Igou, E. R., & Bless, H. (2003). Inferring the importance of arguments: Order effects and conversational Rules. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 91-99. doi:10.1016/S0022-1031(02)00509-7

Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2002). Die Rolle kognitiv verfügbarer Information bei der Eindrucksbildung [The role of accessible information in impression formation]. In D. Janetzko, H. A. Mayer, & M. Hildebrandt (Eds.), Das experimentalpsychologische Praktikum. Computergestützte Versuchssteuerung im Labor und WWW. Göttingen: Hogrefe. ISBN-10:3801714276

Igou, E. R., Bless, H., & Schwarz, N. (2002). Making sense of standardized survey questions: The influence of reference periods and their repetition. Communication Monographs, 69, 179-187. doi:10.1080/714041712

Igou, E. R. (2001). Determinanten der Wichtigkeit von Information: Eine kommunikative Perspektive zur Erklärung von Primacy und Recency Effekten bei Urteilen und Entscheidungen [Determinants of the importance of information: A conversational perspective for the explanation of primacy and recency effects in judgments and decisions]. Psychologia Universalis, Neue Reihe, 24. Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers. ISBN:978-3-935357-27-2

Wänke, M, Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2001). Next to a star: Paling, shining or both? Turning inter-exemplar contrast into inter-exemplar assimilation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 14-29. doi:10.1177/0146167201271002

Bless, H., Igou, E. R., Schwarz, N., & Wänke, M. (2000). Reducing context effects by adding context information: The direction and size of context effects in political judgment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1036-1045. doi:10.1177/01461672002611002

Agudelo, D., Böhne, J., Crawford, M. Galliker, M. Hemmati-Weber, M., Horlacher, K. D., Hüneke, H., Igou, E. R., Rodewald, R., & Sommer J. (1994). Das Psychologiestudium der Zukunft oder: Was wir noch immer zu träumen wagen. Journal für Psychologie, 2, 71-79. (Authors appear on article as Heidelberger Arbeitsgruppe zur Erneuerung der Psychologie) http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-20854

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