"No problem can be solved from
the same level of consciousness that created it."
--- Albert Einstein


VR facilities of MBLab.


Existentialism, existential psychology, radicalization, terrorism, and gender are the leading research concentration areas of eXistential Social Psychology Lab. We are very excited to work together to understand how and whay a behavior takes place.


Please note that team members' previous projects on different topics are not mentioned here. This page will summarize projects that are carried out within the eXSPLab. In eXSPLab, besides standard experimental apparatuses such as both Mac and Windows-based computers, helpful software to design and run experiments, we also have a VR system and a sound-proof room.


Project #001 | Life Longings & Sehnsucht
In the goal domain, selection refers to choosing among goals, whereas optimization and compensation requires use of means to achieve one’s goal (Freund et al., 1999). The necessity to selecting certain goals while opting out the others through the lifespan may draw people to a longing for unattainable (Scheibe, 2005). A bittersweet desire for the realization of the idealized aspects of the life has been addressed within the concept of Sehnsucht (Scheibe, 2005; Scheibe et al., 2007). Two proposed functions are directionality and managing nonrealizability. [PDF]


Project #002 | Nostalgia
[in progress]
Nostalgia, described by Wildschut et al. (2006) as “a sentimental longing for the past” and believed to be a form of depressions or melancholia from 17th century to 20th century (Routledge et al., 2013). Recently, the research on nostalgia has been focusing on the positive aspects of this existential emotion. According to the current research, inducing nostalgia can be a psychological resource to promote psychological health Routledge et al., 2013) as well as serving as a protective mechanism against death anxiety (Routledge et al., 2014). As a result, many companies started use nostalgic feelings for marketing (Youn & Jin, 2017), gaming industry (Wulf et al., 2018) and other purposes. This study will be designed to analyze these existing functions as well as investigating other possible functions that nostalgia might offer.


Project #003 | Where is the Trolley Heading?
[in progress]
Death is inevitable. However, the cause of death -due to natural causes or with the involvement of another- matters a great deal from a moral perspective (Thomson, 1976). The Trolley Problem, introduced by Foot (1967) and Thomson (1976), involves an array of moral dilemmas and it is the most well-known thought experiment. The present study aims to investigate the effects of prior knowledge regarding an individual, induced mortality salience while figuring out the dilemmas of the Trolley Problem in the light of moral decision-making strategies and game theory.


Project #004 | Existential Anxiety & Dating
[in progress]
Existential concerns can be considered fears and concern that are related with a person’s own existence and a presence of an existential threat. While this mentioned threat can be physical such as death, it can also be psychological such as loneliness (Kirillova et al., 2017). According to previous literature, close relationships that individuals form and maintain are interpreted as “protection from existential anxiety through emotional attachment”. This function of close relationships are considered to be anxiety-buffering. As an interpretation of attachment theory, death thought accessibility was found to be higher in individuals who have anxious attachment (Mikulincer et al., 2002). Considering all mentioned information, the present study aims to combine the elements in the literature with a more recent concept, which is swipe-based dating applications. It is hypothesized that existential anxiety and frequency of dating application use will be positively correlated, with the moderating effect of attachment style.