Bettina von Helversen

BettinavHelversen1)    Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m a researcher at Basel University working at the Center for Economic Psychology. I investigate the cognitive processes underlying judgments and decisions and how they are shaped by the characteristics of the task and the abilities of the decision maker. A large part of my work focuses on when people rely on rule- and exemplar-based processing in judgment and understanding the memory processes underlying these processes. One project I’m currently working on aims on trying to understand when memories about previously encountered instances are likely to influence the decision process and how this depends on affective experiences when encountering the exemplars. In addition I’m interested in how and when people search for information and how this in influenced by affect and stress.

2)    What do you consider your most important research tool(s) on your computer?

After reading that question I got curious which programs I’m actually using on a daily basis and I downloaded an app that allowed me to track the programs I’m using (TimeSink). A one week trial run suggested that I used the following programs in order of frequency: Firefox, Mail, Word, Powerpoint, Preview (a pdf viewer), Mendeley, Excel, Skype, SPSS and Matlab. Overall, that seems about right, although the order probably changes quite a bit with the projects I’m working on and the amount of teaching I’m preparing. Taking office for granted, I could not imagine doing research without Mendeley, Skype or Matlab anymore.

3)    What do you consider your most important research tool(s) outside of your computer?

Well there is of course the lab without which I would not have much data, but even more important are the people I work with (though they are no tools). For me research works best as a collaborative effort in a team of two to three people.

4)    What is your favorite tip for getting writing done?

I have to admit I’m struggling quite a bit with writing. To get writing done I need to find a day without meetings and preferably no evening plans that allow me an early escape.Additionally, I can recommend fast working coauthors. The knowledge that someone is waiting usually gets me to get my part done much faster and it works even better if the other person was really fast in doing their part.

Bettina’s webpage

Bettina’s favorite paper:

Scholz, A., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2015). Eye movements reveal memory-processes during similarity versus rule-based decision making. Cognition, 136,228-246. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.11.019

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