Dr. Stefan Pfattheicher

Research interests

  • Cooperation and costly punishment in social dilemmas
  • The biopsychological basis of aggressive dominance (sadism, testosterone)
  • Basic motivational orientations (regulatory focus theory)
  • Influence of social presence on human behavior
  • Pro- and antisocial consequences of compassion and empathic concern


  • Mediation analysis using the SPSS Macro PROCESS (in German only): Download
  • Moderation analysis using the SPSS Macro PROCESS (in German only): Download


in press

Schindler, S., Greenberg, J., & Pfattheicher, S. (in press). An existential perspective on the psychological function of shamans. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. (Comment)

Pfattheicher, S., Böhm, R., & Kesberg, R. (in press). The advantage of democratic peer punishment in sustaining cooperation within groups. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.

Schnuerch R. & Pfattheicher, S. (in press). Motivated malleability: Frontal cortical asymmetry predicts the susceptibility to social influence. Social Neuroscience.

Pfattheicher, S. & Böhm, R. (in press). Honesty-Humility under threat: Self-uncertainty destroys trust among the nice guys. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Pfattheicher, S., & Böhm, R. (in press). Mechanisms to detect and punish cheaters. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science.


Steinmetz, J. & Pfattheicher, S. (2017). Beyond social facilitation: A review of the far-reaching effects of social attention. Social Cognition, 35, 585-599.

Pfattheicher, S. & Keller, J. (2017). A motivational perspective on punishment in social dilemmas. European Review of Social Psychology, 28, 257-287.

Pfattheicher, S., Geiger, M., Hartung, J., Weiß, S., & Schindler, S. (2017). Old wine in new bottles? The case of self-compassion and neuroticism. European Journal of Personality, 31, 160–169.

Pfattheicher, S. (2017). Illuminating the dual-hormone hypothesis: About chronic dominance and the interaction of cortisol and testosterone. Aggressive Behavior, 1, 85-92.

Pfattheicher, S., Keller, J, & Knezevic, G. (2017). Sadism, the intuitive system, and antisocial punishment in the public goods game. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43, 337-346.

Schindler, S. & Pfattheicher, S. (2017). The frame of the game: Loss-framing increases deceptive behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 69, 172-177.

Sassenrath, C., Pfattheicher, S., & Keller, J. (2017). I might ease your pain, but only if you’re sad: The moderating role of empathized emotion in the empathy-helping association. Motivation and Emotion, 41, 96-106.


Sassenrath, C., Hodges, S. D., & Pfattheicher, S. (2016). It's all about the self: When perspective taking backfires. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25, 405-410.

Pfattheicher, S. (2016). Testosterone, cortisol and the Dark Triad: Narcissism (but not Machiavellianism or psychopathy) is positively related to basal testosterone and cortisol. Personality and Individual Differences, 97, 115-119.

Pfattheicher, S., Sassenrath, C., & Schindler, S. (2016).
Feelings for the suffering of others and the environment: Compassion fosters proenvironmental tendencies. Environment and Behavior, 48, 929-945.

Pfattheicher, S., & Schindler, S. (2016).
Misperceiving bullshit as profound is associated with favorable views of Cruz, Rubio, Trump and conservatism. PLoS ONE 11, e0153419.

Bösch, C., Erb, B., Kargl, F., Kopp, H., & Pfattheicher, S. (2016). Tales from the dark side: Privacy dark strategies and privacy dark patterns. Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, 4, 237-254.


Pfattheicher, S. (2015). A regulatory focus perspective on reputational concerns: The impact of prevention-focused self-regulation. Motivation and Emotion, 39, 932-942.

Pfattheicher, S., & Schindler, S. (2015).
Understanding the dark side of costly punishment: The impact of individual differences in everyday sadism and existential threat. European Journal of Personality, 29, 498-505.

Pfattheicher, S., & Keller, J. (2015).
The watching eyes phenomenon: The role of a sense of being seen and public self-awareness. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 560-566.

Keller, J., Mayo, R., Greifeneder, R., & Pfattheicher, S. (2015).
Regulatory focus and generalized trust: The impact of prevention-focused self-regulation on trusting others. Frontiers in Psychology, Article 254.


Pfattheicher, S., & Sassenrath, C. (2014). A regulatory focus perspective on eating behavior: How prevention and promotion focus relates to emotional, external, and restrained eating. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1314.

Pfattheicher, S., Landhäußer, A., & Keller, J. (2014).
Individual differences in antisocial punishment in public goods situations: The interplay of cortisol with testosterone and dominance. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 27, 340-348.

Pfattheicher, S., & Keller, J.
(2014). Towards a biopsychological understanding of costly punishment: The role of basal cortisol. PLoS ONE, e85691.

2013 and before

Keller, J. & Pfattheicher, S. (2013). The Compassion–Hostility Paradox: The interplay of vigilant, prevention-focused self-regulation, compassion, and hostility. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1518-1529.

Pfattheicher, S. & Keller, J. (2013).
Vigilant self-regulation and costly punishment in public goods situations. European Journal of Personality, 27, 346-354.

Keller, J. & Pfattheicher, S. (2011).
Vigilant self-regulation, cues of being watched and cooperativeness. European Journal of Personality, 25, 363-372.





Stefan Pfattheicher
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

Stefan Pfattheicher
☎ +49-(0)731/50 31161
Π 47.2.277

nach Vereinbarung