Hats and Heads!

These are some of our recent creations, celebrating the tremendous efforts of these former doctoral candidates: Martin, Hsin-Pei and Julia. 

When doctoral students successfully complete their dissertation and defense, we celebrate them with a doctoral hat. It is of course a common practice to award doctoral hats (or mortarboards) when people achieve academic degrees. However, in Germany, it is often customary for colleagues to decorate these hats thematically and really show appreciation for the tremendous efforts of the fresh doctors.

In this lab, we take this task very seriously. Or rather, we have a lot of fun with it! Our team goes all out when decorating the hats for colleagues/friends. And we want to share our best efforts with you. 

Here you can see a few examples of our recent hats and the proud faces of the new doctors whose heads they adorn.

We congratulate Julia to her successful defence of her doctoral thesis!

In her thesis entitled “Emotional content in social misinformation affects mind, brain, and judgments”, Julia revealed the powerful extent to which social-emotional information affects how we see and judge people, even against our better knowledge of lacking credibility.

In her dissertation, Julia investigated the cognitive and brain mechanisms underlying the processing of social, person-related misinformation or “gossip”. Julia’s dissertation has shown the powerful impact misinformation can have at the level of the brain and individual judgments. Emotional messages and gossip do not simply bounce off if we find the information untrustworthy. The strong influence of emotions on our thoughts and actions against our better judgment also explains why “fake news” is so “successful”. These findings reveal central keys that are crucial to now develop strategies that protect us from the harmful effects of misinformation.

Julia’s dissertation was a runner up for the Adlershof Dissertation Prize 2023!

A very special golden hat reserved for the highest university degree! Congratulations go out to Dr. habil. Antje Lorenz who finished her habilitation at the Psychology department of HU (faculty of life sciences) in January 2023. The topic of her habilitation thesis was “Morphological complexity in speech production” and the topic of her final talk was “Repräsentation semantischen Wissens: Embodiment”.

Congratulations to Anne Vogt! In her PhD, Anne investigated the role of experientially grounded meaning aspects in language production. Thereby, she contributed to solving the puzzle of how and why we choose certain words when we want to convey a message. Furthermore, she provided a proof of concept that running timing-sensitive language production experiments online is feasible.

Congratulations to Anna-Lisa Döring! In her dissertation, Anna investigated speech production mechanisms. She first investigated specific characteristics of the cumulative semantic interference (CSI) effect, a semantic context effect widely used in speech production research. These findings advance our understanding of the CSI effect, and thus allow others to make more informed predictions when using CSI as a research tool. Using the CSI effect, she then investigated how compounds (morphologically complex words, e.g., goldfish) are lexically represented and found that compounds have a complex lexical structure, consisting of lexical entries for the whole compound (goldfish) as well as entries for each of the compounds’ constituents (gold and fish). In order to produce a compound, all of these lexical entries need to be activated and selected. This dissertation thus reveals that the morphological complexity of compounds affects the lexical-syntactic level during speech production and thus advances our understanding of the architecture of our speech production system.

We congratulate Iman Akra on her dissertation entitled The role of emotional facial expressions for the formation of and access to structural memory representations of faces.

Congratulations to Martin Maier whose dissertation went on to win the Adlersshof dissertation award in 2018. In his dissertation he demonstrated the effect of language and knowledge on early stages of visual stimulus processing and provided evidence that whether we consciously perceive things depends on our mother tongue.

Methods (how to make a hat)

These are close up pictures showing the details of Julia’s amazing doctoral hat. We hope this inspires you when you’re making a hat for a colleague and friend.

We use the fantastic instructions from Abschlussgeschenk.de

1. The cylindrical part

To make the cylindrical part of the hat, you should know roughly the circumference of the graduate’s head. If you’re not sure, just use these values ​​as a guide: 54 to 57 cm for a shorter person and 57 to 60 cm for a taller person.

Cut out a 12cm wide strip of the required length from black craft cardboard.

To attach the cap to the cylinder, you need a support surface. To do this, fold a 2 cm long strip lengthwise and cut it in a zigzag shape. You can then use double-sided adhesive strips to connect the ends together.

2. Square cap with tassel

Cut a square out of the black construction card. This should be about 30 cm for the smaller size and about 35 cm for the larger size.

Make a hole in the center of the square and insert the end of the sample bag clip. You attach your crafted tassel to this.

3. Let’s continue

Now all you have to do is glue the cylinder part to the cap. It is best to turn the mortarboard over so that you can really press the prepared surfaces of the cylinder firmly.

4. The final touch

With these instructions, you now hold your self-made mortarboard in your hands. Congratulations!

To give your self-made hat a personal touch, you can decorate it with various elements and accessories. For example, let yourself be inspired by the topic of the doctoral thesis, the course of study or the interests of the graduate.