Portrait of Dr Pascal Burgmer

Dr Pascal Burgmer

Lecturer in Social and Organisational Psychology
MSc Programme Director and Dissertation Coordinator for Social Psychology


Dr Pascal Burgmer is a Lecturer at the University of Kent with a research focus on topics such as social trust, moral judgment, theory of mind, and lay beliefs, particularly in mind-body dualism. In doing so, he bridges social-cognitive and personality psychology with experimental philosophy. 

Pascal completed his PhD in social psychology at the University of Cologne in Germany, with a research stay at the University of Iowa, USA. He is currently a member of the scientific network Understanding Others (funded by the German Research Foundation).  

Research interests

Pascal studies how people think about a variety of phenomena, including social trust, distrust, creativity, effort, and philosophical issues such as the relationship between mind and body. In doing so, he mostly employs methods from social-cognitive science, and he is interested in implications of this research for applied settings such as health behaviour or organisational contexts.

Among others, Pascal pursues the following questions:    

  • Creativity, Effort, and Labour: What do people value most about a creation: the idea behind it or the labour needed to execute the idea? What are common-sense beliefs about creativity, and what role do perceptions of effort play in the appreciation of ideas versus labour?
  • Trust and distrust: What determines whether or not we trust or distrust others? What are the consequences of trust and distrust (e.g., moral hypocrisy)? How can we promote cooperative behaviour among individuals? How do lay people think about what it means to trust and distrust?
  • Mind-body dualism: What are the psychological consequences of thinking of minds and bodies as two distinct entities? How do such dualistic beliefs shape health-related attitudes and behaviours? How does dualism affect how we think about the minds of others?
  • Morality: Do lay people believe in expertise in the moral domain? What constitutes a moral expert? How do people judge others with immoral thoughts? What determines our propensity to entertain divergent moral standards for ourselves compared to others?
  • Theory of Mind: What undermines our motivation to take other people’s perspectives or to feel empathy towards them? When do people engage in hypermentalising such as anthropomorphism, that is, perceiving minds where there actually are none?
  • Power: What are the psychological consequences of having power over others? Is having power always beneficial for oneself? Or can having power also make us prone to biases when processing information?

Pascal welcomes applications from prospective PhD students interested in these and related topics.


Convenor and Lecturer

  • SP802: Current Issues in Social and Applied Psychology Part 1
  • SP650: Topics in Business Psychology


  • SP302: Introduction to Social and Developmental Psychology
  • SP653: Social Psychology of Justice and Morality
  • SP636: Evaluating Evidence: Becoming a Smart Research Consumer
  • SP844: Groups, Teams and Organisations
  • SP311: Business Psychology: An Introduction
  • SP649: Developing Leadership, Enterprise and Initiative Taking Skills



Key publications

  • Burgmer, P., Forstmann, M., & Stavrova, O. (2019). Ideas are cheap: When and why adults value labor over ideas. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148(5), 824-844. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000473
  • Burgmer*, P., & Forstmann*, M. (2018). Mind-body dualism and health revisited: How belief in dualism shapes health behavior. Social Psychology, 49(4), 219-230. https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000344 
    *shared first authorship
  • Burgmer, P., & Englich, B. (2013). Bullseye! How power improves motor performance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(2), 224–232. http://doi.org/10.1177/1948550612452014
  • Forstmann*, M., & Burgmer*, P. (2015). Adults are intuitive mind-body dualists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144(1), 222–235. http://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000045 
    *shared first authorship
  • Todd, A. R., & Burgmer, P. (2013). Perspective taking and automatic intergroup evaluation change: Testing an associative self-anchoring account. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(5), 786–802. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0031999
  • Weiss*, A., Burgmer*, P., & Mussweiler, T. (2018). Two-faced morality: Distrust promotes divergent moral standards for the self versus others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(12), 1712–1724. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218775693 
    *shared first authorship
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