Prof. Dr. Stefan Stürmer

Portrait of Prof. Dr. Stefan Stürmer Foto: Hardy Welsch

Prof. Stürmer (born 1970), studied psychology from 1992 to 1997 at the University of Münster and Leipzig University, where he received a Diplom degree in psychology in 1997. This was followed by a Ph.D. (2000) at Kiel University, a one-year postdoctoral research stay in the USA (University of Minnesota), a junior professorship at Kiel University, a positive midterm evaluation of the junior professorship, and offers of professorships at the University of Roehampton in London and the University of Bergen in Norway. Since 2007, Stefan Stürmer has held the Chair of Social Psychology at the FernUniversität in Hagen. He is the founding dean of the Faculty of Psychology and an active member of numerous academic organizations and boards.

Prof. Stürmer has published extensively in international journals on the topics of intergroup behavior, altruism, helping and empathy, collective identity and civic engagement. In his current teaching and research projects, he uses theories and models of social psychological group research to describe, explain and design collaborative e-learning for heterogeneous groups of students in online learning environments. For example, the Diversity Inclusion in Media-Supported Distance Education project, funded by the Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research of North Rhine Westphalia, centers around the development, implementation, and evaluation of media-supported systems to assist students. One main product of this project is the interactive virtual Study Buddy Program - an obligatory peer support program in which students from different age groups, genders and social backgrounds support one another in specially instructed teams.

Prof. Stürmer is a member of the research cluster’s executive board.

Selected Publications

  • Stürmer, S., Ihme, T. A., Fisseler, B., Sonnenberg, K., & Barbarino, M.-L. (2018). Promises of structured relationship building for higher distance education: Evaluating the effects of a virtual fast-friendship procedure. Computers & Education, 124, 51-64. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2018.05.015
  • Ihme, A. & Stürmer, S. (2018). Emphasizing excellence and diversity cues on university websites. Additive or interactive effects on prospective students’ psychological reactions? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 48, 59-70. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12490
  • Ihme, T. A., Sonnenberg, K., Barbarino, M.-L., Fisseler, B., & Stürmer, S. (2016). How university websites’ emphasis on age diversity influences prospective students’ perception of person-organization fit and students recruitment. Research in Higher Education, 57, 1010-1030. doi: 10.1007/s11162-016-9415-1
  • Stürmer, S., & Benbow, A. F. (2017). Psychological foundations of xenophilia: Understanding and measuring the motivational functions of exploratory cross-cultural contact. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43, 1487-1502. doi: 10.1177/0146167217722555
  • Stoessel, K., Ihme, T. A., Barbarino, M.-L., Fisseler, B., & Stürmer, S. (2015). Sociodemographic diversity and distance education: Who drops out from academic programs and why? Research in Higher Education, 56, 228-246. doi: 10.1007/s11162-014-9343-x

Team Members



Leibniz Institute for Knowledge Media (Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, IWM)