Institute of Psychology
University of Klagenfurt • Universitätsstraße 65-67 • 9020 Klagenfurt • Austria

Mission Statement
According to the statutes of the University of Klagenfurt the Institute of Psychology focuses on science and research as well as on the organisation of science in the field of psychology. Since 1999 the institute offers a greatly demanded stand-alone psychology programme (leading to a general academic diploma comparable to an M.S.). Besides its own courses the Institute for Psychology also coaches psychological courses within other fields of study.

The Department of General Psychology and Cognitive Science focuses on the following fields of cognitive psychology. Social and Decision Science, Psychology of Thought (Vitouch, Gula), Cognitive Music Psychology (Vitouch), Evolutionary Psychology and Evolutionary Anthropology (Vitouch, Süssenbacher) and Consciousness Research (Süssenbacher, Vitouch). We appreciate original and alternative methodological approaches and are aware of the growing significance of Cognitive Neuroscience. We want to achieve interdisciplinarity within the field of psychology (within the different branches) and also regarding other disciplines such as biology, business, media science or computer science for instance.

"All good psychology is applied psychology" (Piaget, 1936). This is the maxim of the Department for Applied Psychology and Methods Research. Other than the basic psychological disciplines, applied psychology wants to tackle practice-relevant problems and tries to develop solutions (Frey et al., 1988). The Department for Applied Psychology thereby fits the profile of the University of Klagenfurt that strongly emphasizes scientifically well-founded applications. Research methods in social science have to be developed further in the context of content questions and the department’s work focus

The Department’s research agenda addresses questions in the follwing fields:

  • Psychoanalysis und Psychotherapy,
  • Culture, Conflict and Trauma,
  • Learning and Development Across the Lifespan,
  • Cognition
  • Methods Research: Evaluative Science, Qualitative Science/Qualitative Content Analysis, Mixed Methodologies, Psychological Diagnostics

The Department for Applied Psychology and Methods Research offers a special service open particularly to the other departments of the Institute for Psychology. The ZEF (Centre for Evaluation and Evaluation Consulting) and the test library.

At the Department for Developmental and Educational Psychology the main areas of interest focus on the development of cognitive, self and emotional functions across adulthood. Specifically, the lab studies the psychology of wisdom, autobiographical memory, and spatial cognition. Concerning wisdom, current research projects focus on how wisdom develops over the life span. Our developmental model assumes that the development of wisdom is catalyzed by life challenges if the individual has sufficient levels of specific resources. We are also trying to develop a new, autobiographical measure of wisdom. Concerning spatial cognition, we have developed a virtual-reality spatial ability test that is presented in three-dimensional space. We are currently planning to use this test to study the effects of healthy aging on performance in different facets of spatial cognition.

The Department for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis focuses on the following fields: psychotherapy, clinical, social, cultural and political psychology, ethnic psychoanalysis and the history of psychoanalysis. The projects are carried out by individuals or research groups and can be classified as basic research as well as applied research. Main emphasis is laid on the disciplinary, scientific approach that is partly complemented by other disciplines. The research findings are applied in psychotherapeutic practice, education and further education, the university, teacher coaching and psycho-social institutions.

The Department for Social Psychology, Ethonpsychoanalysis and Psychotraumatology researches the sociological basis of social psychology and points out the critical application of psychoanalysis regarding questions of social and political development. Ethnic psychoanalysis and culture-contrastive psychotraumatology are essential parts of research and practice. The department is strongly cooperating with the organisation “Aspis”, a research and counselling-centre for victims of violence as well as for their helpers that offers psychotherapeutic help and counselling for refugees, Austrians and victims of torture.