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Vera Hoorens

Vera Hoorens

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After receiving my Ph.D. from Leuven University, I became a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Experimental Psychology and Wolfson College of Oxford University (U.K.). In 1991, I was appointed as an Assistant Professor in Social Psychology at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). In 1993 I moved to Tilburg University (The Netherlands), where I became an Associate Professor, first at the Department of Communication Psychology and later at the Department of Economic Psychology. Since 1998, I have been a Professor of Social Psychology at Leuven University (Belgium).

My current research focuses on self-favoring biases in social comparison and risk perception and communication. Self-favoring biases are erroneous or illusory perceptions of self-other differences in a self-flattering or self-serving direction. They include, among other biases, unrealistic optimism or the expectation of a better future for oneself than for others, illusory superiority or the perception of being a better and more competent person than others, and the overvaluation of own attributes. In the broad domain of self-favoring biases, I mainly focus on testing explanations and on exploring potential behavioral and social consequences. The latter point of interest forms a bridge to the domain of risk perception and communication, which I have been focused on lately.

Primary Interests:

  • Communication, Language
  • Gender Psychology
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Person Perception
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

Journal Articles:

  • Drace, S., Desrichard, O., Shepperd, J. A., & Hoorens, V. (2009). Does mood influence comparative judgments? Tracking an elusive effect. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 579-599.
  • Hoorens, V. (1996). 'Positive' and 'negative' self-favoring biases: Independent phenomena? Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 15, 53-67.
  • Hoorens, V. (1995). Self-favoring biases, self-presentation and the self-other asymmetry in social comparison. Journal of Personality, 63, 793-817.
  • Hoorens, V., & Desrichard, O. (2002). Self-other asymmetries: Three wonders in ‘hot’ social cognition and three questions about them. Psychologica Belgica, 42, 2-21.
  • Hoorens, V., & Harris, P. (1998). Distortions in reports of health behaviors: The time span effect and illusory superiority. Psychology and Health, 13, 451-466.
  • Hoorens, V., & Nuttin, J. M. (1993). The overvaluation of own attributes: Mere ownership or subjective frequency? Social Cognition, 11, 177-200.
  • Hoorens, V., Remmers, N., & van de Riet, K. (1999). Time is an amazingly variable amount of money: Endowment and ownership effects in the subjective value of working time. Journal of Economic Psychology, 20, 385-405.
  • Hoorens, V., & Ruiter, S. (1996). The optimal impact phenomenon: Beyond the third person effect. European Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 599-610.
  • Hoorens, V., & Smits, T. (2001). Comparative optimism and personal control. Revue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale / International Review of Social Psychology. Special Issue on ‘Social comparison and risk perception’, 14 (4), 11-43.
  • Hoorens, V., Smits, T., & Shepperd, J. (2008). Comparative optimism in the spontaneous generation of future life events. British Journal of Social Psychology, 47, 441-451.
  • Pandelaere, M., & Hoorens, V. (2006). The effect of category focus at encoding on category frequency estimation strategies. Memory and Cognition, 34, 28-40.
  • Pandelaere, M., Hoorens, V., & Peeters, G. (2003). Why ask about Peter? Do you think he caused it? Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 25, 291-297.
  • Smits, T., & Hoorens, V. (2005). How probable is probable? It depends on whom you’re talking about. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 18, 83-96.

Other Publications:

  • Hoorens, V. (1999). Group projects and tutorial exercises in economic and consumer psychology. In G. Webley & C. Walker (Eds.), Handbook for the teaching of economic and consumer psychology (pp. 153-172). Exeter: Washington Singer Press.
  • Hoorens, V. (1994). Unrealistic optimism in social comparison of health and safety risks. In D. Rutter (Ed.), The social psychology of health and safety: European perspectives (pp. 153-174). Avesbury: Aldershot.

Courses Taught:

  • Aspects from Psychology
  • Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Vera Hoorens
Centrum voor Sociale en Culturele Psychologie
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Tiensestraat 102
3000 Leuven

  • Phone: +32 16 32 60 28
  • Fax: +32 16 32 59 23

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