Ralf Kurvers

Senior Research Scientist

Ralf is the PI of the research group. Ralf did his PhD in behavioral ecology at the Wageningen University, studying the role of individual differences in social information use and collective movement in bird flocks. After his PhD, Ralf joined the lab of Jens Krause as a postdoc working on collective decision making in fish and human groups. In 2016 Ralf established his own research group at the MPIB where he works at the interface of behavioral ecology, social psychology and collective behavior. Ralf is also an external PI in the Science of Intelligence Excellence Cluster, and a guest researcher at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries.


Alan Tump


Alan recently finished his PhD in our research group in which he investigated the cognitive mechanisms underlying decision making in human collectives. Alan is continuing his research with us as a Postdoc further expanding his exciting work on applying social drift diffusion models to social systems to uncover the temporal dynamics of collectives. This is a hybrid position together with the Excellence Cluster Science of Intelligence at the TU Berlin.


Dominik Deffner


Dominik recently finished his PhD at the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. Dominik is an an evolutionary and computational behavioral scientist with a background in Psychology and Anthropology. His research focuses on the individual-level learning processes and population-level social dynamics underlying human cultural adaptation. He uses a mix of behavioral group experiments, computational and statistical modeling as well as formal mathematical theory. Dominik is about to join our group as a Postdoc to start studying human collective foraging in immerse environments. This is a hybrid position together with the Excellence Cluster Science of Intelligence at the TU Berlin and part of a larger project investigating collective search in analytic (humans) and synthetic systems (robots).


Mubashir Sultan

PhD Student

Mubashir (Mubs) holds a B.A. in Psychology and English Literature (Trinity College Dublin), an M.Sc. in Cultural Psychology (Univ of Amsterdam) and an M.Sc. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Univ of Amsterdam). Mubs research interest are social decision making with a focus on experimental methods and computational modeling. In his PhD, Mubs is studying misinformation, asking how time pressure affects the cognitive processes underlying the identification of online misinformation, and how to attenuate the impact of misinformation.


Julian Berger

PhD Student

Julian holds a B.A. in Politics, Administration and International Relations (Zeppeling Univ), and an M.Sc. in Psychology in Business and Economics (Univ Catolica Portuguesa, Lisbon). Julian’s research interest are the psychology of decision making in social settings and institutions, crowd wisdom and policy implications, interventions and aggregation mechanisms for improved group performance, development of open science and meta-science. Julian is about to start his PhD in our group working on collective intelligence in the context of diagnosing mental disorders.

Alexander Schakowski

PhD student

Alex conducted a Master in Psychology at the Heidelberg University. Alex has a broad interest in social behavior and social cognition, and is especially interested in how techniques from cognitive psychology can be applied to study social decision making. Alex did his Master thesis with us, investigating how integrating decision maker’s metacognition can improve wisdom of the crowd estimates. Early 2022 Alex joined us as a PhD student working on human collective foraging in icefishers in Finland.

Marta Balode

Research Assistant / Master Student

Marta is conducting a Master in Neural Systems and Computation at the ETH in Zurich. Marta is interested in computational neuroscience and the application of machine learning techniques to solve complex societal problems. Marta works in our group as a programming RA, providing vital support for conducting online interactive group studies. The to-go person for any debugging.


Deyan Dzhurov

Research Assistant / Master student

Deyan is pursuing his Master in Informatics at the Free University of Berlin. Deyan has a keen interest in programming and neuroscience. Deyan works in our lab as a programming RA, bringing his skills in C++, Java and Python to live in projects ranging from real-time communication between tablets for collective decision making studies, to online studies, to programming apps for museum expositions.


If you are interested in the work we do and joining the group or collaborating, please get in touch.

Previous members

Bertrand Jayles

After completing his PhD in social physics at Toulouse university, studying collective human behavior using techniques from statistical physics, Bertrand joined our group as a postdoc. During his stay with us Bertrand focused on collective intelligence, social influence and cognitive biases in human groups. After spending three years with us Bertrand moved to the Singapore University for his next postdoc in cooperation with the ETH in Zurich. Website

Roberto Sautto

Robert holds a B.Sc. in Computing Science (Univ of Aberdeen) and is currently conducting a M.Sc. in Cognitive Science (Aarhus Univ). Robert has an interest in Natural Language Processing, data modeling, human-computer interactions and design foundations of programming. Robert conducted a 3 months internship with us, implementing an agent based simulation of agents accumulating evidence across different networks conditions to study the effect of network composition on information spread through groups.

Cheyenne Cavender

Cheyenne conducted an internship with us building a large-scale database on studies on misinformation brushing up her skills on data tidying in R and version control in GitHub. At the time Cheyenne was in her second year of her study Psychology at the Jacobs University in Bremen. She has a fascination for social learning strategies, collective intelligence, and social-cognitive disorders.

Ruth Marheinecke

Ruth is finishing her Masters in Psychology at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena. Ruth has a keen interest in how identities shape group processes. Ruth has conducted a 3 month internship with us in which she started to build a large-scale database on studies on misinformation brushing up her skills on data tidying in R, archiving metadata (rjson) and version control in GitHub.

Aaron Lob

Aaron finished his bachelor in Psychology at the Heidelberg Unversity, and is about to start a Master in Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. Aaron’s main research interest lies in the field of cognitive social psychology. In his 3-month internship with us Aaron used machine learning techniques for optimizing wisdom of crowd accuracy in large datasets. website

Ethan Dampf

Ethan is pursuing his Master in Cognitive Linguistics at the University of Potsdam. For his Master project, Ethan is studying lexical development in infants using eye tracking at the BabyLab at the University of Potsdam. Ethan worked in our group as a Research Assistant helping out with various tasks including database management, organizing lab participants and running experiments. Website

David Wollny-Huttarsch

David has finished his Master in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience at the Maastricht University. David conducted his Master thesis with us investigating how the timing of social information impacts its uptake using online experimental studies. In his time with us he has developed a keen interest in JavaScript modeling and Bayesian statistics. Website

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