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PD Dr. Roland Thomaschke

Head of Research Group Time, Interaction, Self-determination


Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Institut für Psychologie
Engelbergerstraße 41c
D-79085 Freiburg
Abteilung: Allgemeine Psychologie

Raum: HS 1005a

Tel. 0049 (0)761 203 98673

E-Mail: Roland.Thomaschke@psychologie.uni-freiburg.de

Research Interests

The majority of my work concerns timing, interaction, and self-determination. On the one hand, I am developing and testing basic cognitive models to understand how time processing in cognition and motivation builds the basis of autonomous self-determined behavior. On the other hand, I approach the same topics from an applied perspective: systematically exploring the applicability of my theoretical models to practical contexts, ranging from scheduling of data transmission capacities over self-management techniques to architecture and museology.

Most of my research is third party funded and carried out in interdisciplinary collaborations. My methodologies are primarily psychological (mainly experimental, with behavioral, physiological, qualitative and mixed measures), but are, in a number of collaborations, also blended with methods from other disciplines (e.g., pharmacology, psychiatry, developmental science, ergonomics, social science, ethnology).

Below I have listed some of my current projects. For more information, go to the webpage of my research group Time, Interaction, and Self-determination.



Basic Principles of Time-based Cognition

One of my main research goals is to understand how we exploit temporal structures in the environment to organize our behavior.  To that end, I have established the so-called time-event correlation paradigm in which the durations of warning intervals predict aspects of upcoming events. Training with this paradigm typically leads to the formation of time-based expectancy, as evidenced by performance gains for valid predictions.

In order to understand the mechanisms underlying time-based expectancy, I have elaborated a dynamic cognitive model, which has been empirically tested in over 30 experiments in recent years. The model is continuously extended and specified.

Central questions in my current research are:  Which types of cognitive and affective processing can benefit from time-based expectancy, which internal timing-mechanisms are involved, and how is time-based expectancy realized on a neural level?

I am pursuing these questions together with Gregor Volberg (Universität Regensburg), Marina Kunchulia (Free University of Tbilisi, Georgia), Kathuna Parkosadze (Free University of Tbilisi, Georgia), and Andrea Kiesel.


Time-Scheduling in Multitasking

Internet-based computing is limited by data transmission rates, resulting in mostly rather short, but noticeable, system delays at the user interface. Due to the prevalence of parallel computing, there are usually considerable degrees of freedom for variably scheduling these transmission delays over sets of users and interactions. In this project, I am aiming to determine optimal scheduling systems to optimize user performance and experience in computer-based multitasking environments.  

Specifically, I am investigating how and why it is beneficial when system delays predict tasks.  Central questions are: How does adaptation to time-based task expectancy transfer to global temporal changes in interaction environments? Which role do task cues play? How does time-based task expectancy interact with other expectancies? Do we benefit from such expectancies when doing several tasks simultaneously? In this project, I employ computer game-based experiments, as well as traditional laboratory studies. User experience and behavior are accessed by explicit behavioral measures, but also implicitly by means of eye tracking.

I am running this project together with Stefanie Aufschnaiter. We collaborate with the following researchers from our and other labs: Wilfried Kunde (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg), Robert Wirth (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg),  Markus Janczyk (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen), Robert Gaschler (Fernuniversität in Hagen), Fang Zhao (Fernuniversität in Hagen), Markus Raab (Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln), Laura Bröker (Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln), Stefan Künzell (Universität Augsburg), Harald Ewolds (Universität Augsburg), Andrea Kiesel, Victor Mittelstädt, and Christina Pfeuffer.

The project is funded by the DFG grant TH 1554/3-1 Predictive timing in multi-tasking: Basic mechanisms and temporal flexibility which is embedded in the DFG Priority Program SPP 1772 Human performance under multiple cognitive task requirements: From basic mechanisms to optimized task scheduling


Action-Perception Coupling

In this project, I seek to understand how actions change our perceptual processing. During my PhD, I developed the Planning and Control Model (PCM) of motorvisual priming. The initial purpose of the model has been to reconcile two previously conflicting research traditions, showing on the one hand detrimental, but on the other hand facilitative effects from actions on perception. The core assumption of the PCM is that action planning impairs non-spatial processing in perception, but at the same time action control boosts spatial processing in the perceptual system. The PCM correctly predicts effect direction in all standard motorvisual impairment as well as facilitation paradigms.

While I am constantly refining and empirically testing the PCM, I am also interested in the time-related aspects of action processing. Specifically, I am investigating how representations of duration are bound by action selection processes, and how time perception is biased around actions.

I am pursuing this line of research in collaboration with Miriam Rueß, Andrea Kiesel, David Dignath, Johanna Bogon (Universität Regensburg), Brian Hopkins (Lancaster University), and Chris Miall (University of Birmingham).

Parts of this research are funded by the DFG grant KI.1388/3-2 Perception of time in the context of action.


Waiting, Self-determination, and Expectancy

Waiting can be experienced in highly different ways. Emotional and motivational dynamics during waiting strongly depend on context, personal factors, and to a large degree on expectancy. I am investigating how the nature and intensity of expectations for future events qualitatively and quantitatively affect our thoughts and feelings when we are forced to passively wait for these events. To what extent do we experience ourselves as self-determined in such situations, which attitudes do we have to the flow of time, and how do we regulate our emotions? 

This project is embedded in a collaborative research center, in which projects from diverse disciplines together approach the phenomenon “Muße”. Muße is a German term referring to a family of phenomena, which can be broadly characterized as calm, pleasurable, and self-determined, leisure time, often going along with an experience of meaningfulness, self-awareness, non-functionality, openness, and a lack of stress or pressure. The overarching hypothesis in this project is that the more intense expectancies one has during waiting, the lower is the probability that Muße-related experiences will occur during the waiting.

I am running the project together with Sonja Ehret. We collaborate with Miriam Rueß.

This project is funded by the DFG Grant SFB 1015 R05* Waiting and expecting in contemplative spaces: An empirical study on the relation between expectancy, room ambience, and temporal awareness
The project is embedded in the DFG Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1015 Muße. Grenzen, Raumzeitlichkeit, Praktiken


Architecture, Atmosphere, and Felt Time

“Atmosphere” is an increasingly important concept in currently emerging theories of architecture and build environment. It can broadly be defined as the potentiality of an environment or surrounding to induce a specific feeling or mood in individuals when sojourning in these environments.

In an interdisciplinary cooperation with the department of history of art, we investigate the psychological mechanisms by which the architecture and atmosphere of buildings affects temporal patterns of experience in these buildings. We focus on three architectural genres: spa, museum, and oratories, emphasizing within these genres buildings with distinctly contemplative character. Each building is analyzed conceptually as well as empirically.

An overarching aim of this project is to establish the concept of atmosphere in current theories of situated cognition and emotion, by integrating approaches from architecture psychology and cognitive science. 

I am running the project together with Sonja Ehret. We collaborate with Miriam Rueß, Hans W. Hubert, and Lorenz Orendi

This project is funded by the DFG Grant SFB 1015 R5 Waiting and expecting in contemplative spaces: An empirical study on the relation between expectancy, room ambience, and temporal awareness The project is embedded in the DFG Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1015 Muße. Grenzen, Raumzeitlichkeit, Praktiken


Psychology of Museology and Literature  

The project aims at establishing a first systematic research program investigating the psychology of literature museums, thereby pioneering a new research field in empirical museology. We operate at the intersection of cognitive science, cultural marketing, psychology of architecture and empirical literature science, in order to theoretically develop and empirically validate basic principles for the successful presentation of writers and their work in a museum context.

As part of the project, we set up, together with local partners, our own exhibition in the Stadtmuseum Baden-Baden, entitled “Europe in Russia – Russia in Europe”. The exhibition will be embedded in a series of other cultural events related to the 200th anniversary of the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev in 2018.

Based on evaluation of that exhibition as well as on intermediate findings from the Special Research Centre SFB 1015, we will develop and establish a new literature museum in Baden-Baden funded by private public partnership. The museum will be opened in 2020 and is closely embedded into an interdisciplinary research-based teaching project in collaboration with the department for Slavic Studies.

I am running the project together with Elisabeth Cheauré, Hans W. Hubert, Markus Tauschek, Sonja Ehret and Miriam Rueß.

This project is funded by the DFG Grant SFB 1015 T02 MUßEUM – Museum of Muße and literature Baden-Baden, which is embedded in the DFG Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1015 Muße. Grenzen, Raumzeitlichkeit, Praktiken


Curriculum Vitae 

2017 - present

Head of research group Time, Interaction, Self-determination (Freiburg)

2015 - present

Postdoc researcher Cognition, Action, and Sustainability Unit (Freiburg)

2010 - 2015

Postdoc researcher Chair for General and Applied Psychology (Regensburg)

2008 - 2010

Postdoc researcher Chair for Cognitive Psychology (Würzburg)

2005 - 2008

PhD in Psychology Department of Psychology (Lancaster, UK)

2004 - 2005

MSc. in Psychological Research Methods (London, UK)

1998 - 2003

BSc. studies in Cognitive Sciences (Osnabrück), Computation & Linguistics (Coleraine, NI), and Mathematics (Oldenburg)



Kunchulia, M., Parkosadze, K.,& Thomaschke, R. (in press). Age-related differences in time-based event expectancies. Timing & Time Perception.

Aufschnaiter, S., Kiesel, A., Dreisbach, G., Wenke, D., & Thomaschke, R. (2018). Time-based expectancy in temporally structured task switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44, 856-870.

Aufschnaiter, S., Kiesel, A., & Thomaschke, R. (2018). Transfer of time-based task expectancy across different timing environments. Psychological Research, 82, 230-243.

Künzell, S., Broeker, L., Dignath, D., Ewolds, H., Raab, M., & Thomaschke, R. (2018). What is a task? An ideomotor perspective. Psychological Research, 82, 4-11.

Ruess, M., Thomaschke, R., Haering, C., Wenke, D., & Kiesel, A. (2018). Intentional binding of two effects. Psychological Research, 82, 1102-1112.

Ruess, M., Thomaschke, R., & Kiesel, A. (2018). Intentional binding of visual effects. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 80, 713-722.

Ruess, M, Thomaschke, R., & Kiesel, A. (2018). The time course of intentional binding for late effects. Timing & Time Perception, 6, 54-70.

Thomaschke, R., Bogon, J., & Dreisbach, G. (2018). Timing affect: Dimension-specific time-based expectancy for affect. Emotion, 18, 646-669.

Thomaschke, R., Miall, R.C., Ruess, M., Mehta, P.R., & Hopkins, B. (2018). Visuomotor and motorvisual priming with different types of set level congruency: Evidence in support of ideomotor theory, and the Planning and Control Model (PCM). Psychological Research, 82, 1073-1090.

Bogon, J., Thomaschke, R., & Dreisbach, G. (2017). Binding time: Evidence for integration of temporal stimulus features. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 79, 1290-1296.

Broeker, L., Kiesel, A., Aufschnaiter, S., Ewolds, H.E., Gaschler, R., Haider, H., Künzell, S., Raab, M., Röttger, E., Thomaschke, R.,& Zhao, F. (2017). Why prediction matters in multitasking and how predictability can improve it. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 2021.

Kunchulia, M., Tatishvili, T., Lomidze, N., Parkosadze, K., & Thomaschke, R. (2017). Time-based event expectancies in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Experimental Brain Research, 235, 2877.

Ruess, M., Thomaschke, R., & Kiesel, A. (2017). Earlier effects are more often perceived as one's own action effects. Timing & Time Perception, 5, 228-243.

Ruess, M., Thomaschke, R., & Kiesel, A. (2017). The time course of intentional binding. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 79, 1123-1131.

Volberg, G., & Thomaschke. R. (2017). Time-based expectations entail preparatory motor activity. Cortex, 92, 261-270.

Kunchulia, M., & Thomaschke, R. (2016). Effects of alcohol intake on time-based event expectations. Experimental Brain Research, 234, 937-944.

Thomaschke, R., Hoffmann, J., Haering, C., & Kiesel, A. (2016). Time-based expectancy for task relevant stimulus features. Timing & Time Perception, 4, 248-270.

Thomaschke, R., & Dreisbach, G. (2015). The time-event correlation effect is due to temporal expectancy, not to partial transition costs. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41, 196-218.

Thomaschke, R., Kunchulia, M., & Dreisbach, G. (2015). Time-based event expectations employ relative, not absolute, representations of time. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 890-895.

Thomaschke, R., & Haering, C. (2014). Predictivity of system delays shortens human response time. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 72, 358-365.

Thomaschke, R., & Dreisbach, G. (2013). Temporal predictability facilitates action, not perception. Psychological Science, 24, 1335-1340.

Weber, F., Haering, C., & Thomaschke, R. (2013). Improving the human computer dialogue with increased temporal predictability. Human Factors, 55, 881-892.

Thomaschke, R. (2012). Investigating ideomotor cognition with motorvisual priming paradigms: Key findings, methodological challenges, and future directions. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 519.

Thomaschke, R., Hopkins, B., & Miall, R.C. (2012). The Planning and Control Model (PCM) of motorvisual priming: Reconciling motorvisual impairment and facilitation effects. Psychological Review, 119, 388-407.

Thomaschke, R., Hopkins, B., & Miall, R.C. (2012). The role of cue-response mapping in motorvisual impairment and facilitation: Evidence for different roles of action planning and action control in motorvisual dual-task priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38, 336-349.

Pfister, R., Heinemann, A., Kiesel, A., Thomaschke, R., & Janczyk, M. (2012). Do endogenous and exogenous action control compete for perception? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38, 279-284.

Thomaschke, R., Kiesel, A., & Hoffmann, J. (2011). Response specific temporal expectancy: Evidence from a variable foreperiod paradigm. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 73, 2309-2322.

Thomaschke, R., Wagener, A., Kiesel, A., & Hoffmann, J. (2011). The scope and precision of specific temporal expectancy: Evidence from a variable foreperiod paradigm. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 73, 953-964.

Thomaschke, R., Wagener, A., Kiesel, A., & Hoffmann, J. (2011). The specificity of temporal expectancy: Evidence from a variable foreperiod paradigm. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64, 2289-2300.

Butz, M.V., Thomaschke, R., Linhardt, M.J., & Herbort, O. (2010). Remapping motion across modalities: Tactile rotations influence visual motion judgments. Experimental Brain Research, 207, 1-11.

Vogt, S., & Thomaschke, R. (2007). From visuo-motor interactions to imitation learning: Behavioural and brain imaging studies. Journal of Sports Sciences, 25, 497-517.

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