ZiF Research Group

Cognitive Behavior of Humans, Animals, and Machines:

Situation Model Perspectives

October 2019 – July 2020

Convenors: Werner Schneider (Bielefeld, GER), Helge Ritter (Bielefeld, GER)

Roland Pfister


Foto Department of Psychology III,
University of Würzburg, Germany
E-Mail: roland.pfister@psychologie.uni-wuerzburg.de


Roland Pfister studied psychology at the University of Würzburg, the University of Göttingen and the University of Portsmouth. He completed his PhD in 2013 on the cognitive control of rule-violation behavior at the Department of Psychology at the University of Würzburg where he is currently a lecturer and researcher. He received the Heinz-Heckhausen young investigator award of the German Society for Psychology in 2016 as well as multiple institutional awards for distinguished teaching. He has published around 100 articles on action control, rule-violation behavior, statistics, and history of psychology.

Current Main Research Interests

My current research revolves around action control and executive functioning. On a basic level, I am intrigued by effect-based accounts of human action control and I investigate the role of sensory anticipations for action planning and initiation, as well as perception in action. At higher cognitive levels, I am interested in the representation of rules and in their impact on behavior, especially when this behavior aims at violating accepted rules or protocols. I focus on behavioral experiments that draw on response time measurements and the analysis of continuous movement trajectories, at times combined with (electro)physiological recordings and any other method that informs a question of interest.

Five selected publications with particular relevance to the Research Group
  • Pfister, R. (2019). Effect-based action control with body-related effects: Implications for empirical approaches to ideomotor action control. Psychological Review, 126, 153-161. doi:10.1037/rev0000140
  • Hommel, B., Lippelt, D. P., Gurbuz, E., & Pfister, R. (2017). Contributions of expected sensory and affective action effects to action selection and performance: evidence from forced- and free-choice tasks. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 24, 821-827. doi:10.3758/s13423-016-1139-x
  • Pfister, R., Wirth, R., Schwarz, K., Steinhauser, M., & Kunde, W. (2016). Burdens of non-conformity: Motor execution reveals cognitive conflict during deliberate rule violations. Cognition, 147, 93-99. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2015.11.009
  • Pfister, R., Janczyk, M., Wirth, R., Dignath, D., & Kunde, W. (2014). Thinking with portals: Revisiting kinematic cues to intention. Cognition, 133, 464-473. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.07.012
  • Pfister, R., Dignath, D., Hommel, B., & Kunde, W. (2013). It takes two to imitate: Anticipation and imitation in social interaction. Psychological Science, 24, 2117-2121. doi:10.1177/0956797613489139