Bettina von Helversen

Bild von Bettina von Helversen

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Bettina von Helversen
Group Leader

Cognium Building, Room 1130
Hochschulring 18
28359 Bremen
Email: b.helversen (at)
Phone: +49 (0)421 218-68700

Office Hour: Thursdays 4-6 p.m. In Person or via Zoom. 

During the semester break, office hours are only available by arrangement.


Focus on Research

  • Judgment and decision-making processes
    •     Influence of environment and cognitive skills on strategy choice
    •     Memory processes in the judgment and decision behavior
  • Cognitive development
    •     Development of judgment and decision making processes over the lifespan
  • Affect & decision behavior
    •     Influence of emotions on strategy choice
    •     Influence of stress on risk decisions


Scientific Career

Since 05/2019            Professor for General Psychology, University of Bremen

01/2016 – 12/2019    SNF conveyor professorship, cognitive decision-making psychology, University of Zurich (Switzerland)

01/2009 – 12/2015    Research Scientist, department of Economic Psychology, University of Basel (Switzerland)

010/2007 – 12/2008  Postdoc, Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung, Berlin   (Deutschland)

02/2008                     Dr. rer. nat., Humboldt University, Berlin (Deutschland)

09/2004 – 12/2007    PhD student, Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition & Max Planck International Research School LIFE, Max-  Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung, Berlin (Deutschland)

2004                          Diploma, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen (Deutschland)


Peer-reviewed Journals:


  • Hosch, A.-K., Wirtz, P., & von Helversen, B. (2023). Prior Experience of Variability Influences Generalization of Unspecified Categories. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
  • Lin, H.-Y. and von Helversen, B. (2023), Never gonna give you up even when it is suboptimal. Cognitive Science47: e13323.
  • Seitz, F., I., von Helversen, B., Albrecht, R., Rieskamp, J., & Jarecki, J. (2023). Testing three coping strategies for time pressure in categorizations and similarity judgments. Cognition, 233, 105358.


  • Baumann, C., Schlegelmilch, R., & von Helversen, B. (2022). Adaptive behaviour in optimal sequential search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication.
  • Aubert, A., Lienert, J., & von Helversen, B. (2022). Gamified environmental multi-criteria decision analysis: Information on objectives and range insensitivity bias. International Transactions in Operational Research.
  • Rosner, A., Basieva, I., Barque-Duran, A., Gloeckner, A., von Helversen, B., Khrennikov, A., & Pothos E. (2022). Ambivalence in Decision Making: An Eye Tracking Study. Cognitive Psychology,134, 101464. 
  • De Clercq, E., Grotzer, M., Landolt, M. A., von Helversen, B., Flury, M., Rössler, J., ... & Streuli, J. (2022). No wrong decisions in an all‐wrong situation. A qualitative study on the lived experiences of families of children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, e29792. 
  • Rosner, A., Schaffner, M., & von Helversen, B. (2022). When the eyes have it and when not: How multiple sources of activation combine to guide eye movements during multiattribute decision making. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 151(6), 1394–1418.
  • Schlegelmilch, R., Wills, A., & von Helversen, B. (2022). A cognitive category-learning model of rule abstraction, attention learning, and contextual modulation. Psychological Review. 129(6), 1211-1248. 


  • Bernard, L. C., Lac, A., Richter, M., Cieciuch, J., Zuro, B., Silvestrini, N., ... & von Helversen, B. (2021). A cross-cultural study of purposive “traits of action”: measurement invariance of scales based on the action–trait theory of human motivation using exploratory structural equation modeling. Studia Psychologica: Theoria et Praxis, 21(1), 5-29.


  • Baumann, C., Singmann, H., Gershman, S., & von Helversen, B. (2020). A Linear threshold model for optimal stopping behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117 (23), 12750-12755;
  • von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2020). Stress‐related changes in financial risk taking: Considering joint effects of cortisol and affect. Psychophysiology, e13560.
  • Schlegelmilch, R., & von Helversen, B. (2020). The influence of reward magnitude on stimulus memory and stimulus generalization in categorization decisions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 149(10), 1823–1854.
  • von Helversen, B., Coppin, G., & Scheibehenne, B. (2020). Money does not stink: Using unpleasant odors as stimulus material changes risky decision making. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 33(5), 593-605.
  • Albrecht, R., Hoffmann, J. A., Pleskac, T. J., Rieskamp, J., & von Helversen, B. (2020). Competitive retrieval strategy causes multimodal response distributions in multiple-cue judgments.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(6), 1064–1090.


  • Hoffmann, J. A., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2019). Testing learning mechanisms of rule-based judgment. Decision, 6(4), 305–334.
  • Rosner, A., & von Helversen, B. (2019). Memory shapes judgments: Tracing how memory biases judgments by inducing the retrieval of exemplars. Cognition, 190, 165-169. 10.1016/j.cognition.2019.05.004


  • Hoffmann, J.A., von Helversen, B., Weilbächer, R., & Rieskamp, J. (2018). Tracing the path of forgetting in rule abstraction and exemplar retrieval. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.71, 2261-2281. doi: 10.1177/1747021817739861
  • Puskaric, M., von Helversen, B. & Rieskamp, J. (2018). Framing information as social influences information search and choice in probabilistic inference tasks. Acta Psychologica, 182, 166-176. Doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.08.004
  • Rydzewska, K., von Helversen, B., Kossowska, M., Magnuski, M., Sedek, G. (2018). Age-Related Within-Task Adaptations in Sequential Decision Making: Considering Cognitive and Motivational Factors. Psychology and Aging,33(2), 297-314. doi:10.1037/pag0000239.
  • von Helversen, B., Abramczuk, K., Kopéc. W., & Nielek, R. (2018). Influence of consumer reviews on online purchase decisions in older and younger adults. Decision Support Systems,113, 1-10. doi.:10.1016/j.dss.2018.05.006
  • von Helversen, B., Mata. R., Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Wilke, A. (2018). Foraging, Exploration, or Search? On the (lack of) Convergent Validity Between Three Behavioral Paradigms. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences.12(3), 152-162.


  • Hoffmann, J. A., Gaissmaier, W., & von Helversen. (2017). Justifying the judgment process neither affects judgment accuracy, nor strategy use. Judgment and Decision Making. 12(6), 627-641.    
  • Puskaric, M., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2017). How social and non-social information influence classification decisions: A computational modeling approach. Quartely Journal of Experimental Psychology. 70, 1516-1534. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2016.1192209


  • Herzog, S. M., & von Helversen, B. (2016). Strategy selection versus strategy blending: A predictive perspective on single- and multi-strategy accounts in multiple-cue estimation. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. Online first. doi:10.1002/bdm.1958
  • Hoffmann, J. A., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2016). Similar task features shape judgment and categorization processes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. 42, 1193-1217. doi:10.1037/xlm0000241


  • Mata, R. & von Helversen, B. (2015) Search and the aging mind: The promise and limits of the cognitive control hypothesis of age differences in search. Topics in Cognitive Science.7, 416-427.  doi10.1111/tops.12139
  • Scheibehenne, B., & von Helversen, B. (2015). Selecting decision strategies: The differential role of affect. Cognition & Emotion.29,158-167 doi:10.1080/02699931.2014.896318
  • Scheibehenne, B., & von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp. J. (2015). Different strategies for evaluating consumer products: Attribute- and exemplar-based approaches compared. Journal of Economic Psychology.46, 39–50. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2014.11.006
  • Scholz, A., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2015). Eye movements reveal memory-processes during similarity versus rule-based decision making. Cognition, 136, 228-246. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.11.019


  • Hoffmann, J. A., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2014). Pillars of judgment: How memory abilities affect performance in rule-based and exemplar-based judgments, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(6), 2242–2261. doi:10.1037/a0037989
  • Shevchenko, Y., von Helversen, B. & Scheibehenne, B. (2014). Change and status quo in decisions with defaults: The effect of incidental emotions depends on the type of default. Judgment and Decision making, 9, 287-296.
  • von Helversen, B. Karlsson, L., Rasch, B. Rieskamp, J. (2014). The neural substrate of strategy variety in human judgment. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.8:809. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00809
  • von Helversen, B, Herzog, S., M., & Rieskamp, J. (2014). Haunted by a doppelgänger: Irrelevant facial similarity affects rule-based judgments. Experimental Psychology, 61, 12-22, doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000221


  • Hoffmann, J. A., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2013). Deliberation’s blind sight: How cognitive load improves judgment processes. Psychological Science, 24, 869-879. doi: 10.1177/0956797612463581
  • von Helversen, B., Karlsson, L., Mata, R., & Wilke, A. (2013). Why does cue polarity information provide benefits in inference problems? The role of strategy selection and knowledge of cue importance. Acta Psychologica, 144, 73-82. Doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.05.007
  • von Helversen, B., Schooler, L., & Czienkowski, U. (2013). Are stripes beneficial? Dazzle camouflage influences perceived speed and hitting probability. PloS ONE. 8, e61173. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061173


  • Mata, R., Pachur, T., von Helversen, B., Hertwig, R., Rieskamp, J., & Schooler, L. (2012). Ecological Rationality: A Framework for Understanding and Aiding the Aging Decision Maker. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 6: 19.
  • Mata, R. von Helversen, B., Karlsson, L., & Cüpper, L. (2012). Adult age differences in categorization and multiple-cue judgment. Developmental Psychology, 48, 1188-1201. doi: 10.1037/a0026084
  • von Helversen, B., & Mata, R. (2012). Loosing a dime with a satisfied mind: Aging in sequential choice. Psychology and Aging, 27,825-839. doi: 10.1037/a0027845.


  • Mata, R., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2011). When easy comes hard: The development of adaptive strategy selection. Child Development, 82, 687-700. Doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01535.x
  • von Helversen, B., Wilke, A., Johnson, T., Schmid, G. & Klapp, B. (2011). Performance benefits of depression: Sequential decision making in a healthy sample and a clinically depressed sample. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120, 962-968. doi: 10.1037/a0023238


  • Mata, R., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2010). Cognitive aging and strategy selection learning in decision making. Psychology and Aging, 25, 299-309.
  • von Helversen, B., Mata, R. & Olsson, H. (2010). Do children profit from looking beyond looks? From similarity-based to cue-abstraction processes in multiple-cue judgment. Developmental Psychology, 46, 220-229.


  • von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2009). Predicting Sentencing for Low Level Crimes: Comparing Models of Human Judgment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied,15, 375-395.
  • von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2009). Models of Quantitative Estimations: Rule-based and Exemplar-Based Processes Compared. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 35, 867-889.


  • von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp, J. (2008). The mapping model: A cognitive theory of quantitative estimation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137, 73-96.
  • von Helversen, B., Gendolla, G.H.E., Winkielman, P., & Schmidt, R. E. (2008). Exploring the hardship of ease: subjective and objective effort in the ease-of-processing paradigm. Motivation and Emotion, 32, 1-10.

Conference proceedings (peer-reviewed)


  • Baumann, C., Singmann, H., Kaxiras, V.E., Gershman, S.J., & von Helversen, B. Explaining human decision making in optimal stopping tasks. (2018). In C. Kalish, M. Rau, J. Zhu, & T. T. Roger (Eds). Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1343-1348). Madison, WI: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Schlegelmilch, R., Wills, A., & von Helversen, B. (2018).CALM - A process model of category generalization, abstraction and structuring. In C. Kalish, M. Rau, J. Zhu, & T. T. Roger (Eds). Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2433-2438). Madison, WI: Cognitive Science Society.


  • Hoffmann, J., von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp. J. (2013). How episodic and working memory affect rule- and memory-based judgments. In M. Knauff, M., Pauen, N., Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.) Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 585-590). Austin TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Herzog, S. & von Helversen, B. (2013). Blending and choosing within one mind: Should judgments be based on exemplars, rules or both? In M. Knauff, M., Pauen, N., Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.) Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2536-2541). Austin TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp. J. (2013). Does the influence of stress on financial risk taking depend on the riskiness of the decision? In M. Knauff, M., Pauen, N., Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.) Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1546-1551). Austin TX: Cognitive Science Society.


  • von Helversen, B., & Rieskamp. J. (2010). Learning in multiple-cue judgment tasks. In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 174-179). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.


Book Chapter


  • Rydzewska, K., Koscielniak, M., von Helversen, B., & Sedek, G. (2022). Age differences in complex decision making and judgment. In G. Sedek, T. Hess & D. Touron (Eds). Multiple Pathways of Cognitive Aging: Motivational and Contextual Influences (203-234). New York, NY: Oxford University Press


  • von Helversen, B. (2016). Heuristiken bei Entscheidungen im Legalen Kontext. In S. Kirste. Interdisziplinarität in den Rechtswissenschaften: Ein interdisziplinärer und internationaler Dialog (pp 205-215). Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.


  • Hupfeld-Heinemann, J. & von Helversen, B. (2009). Models of decision-making on guilt and sanctions. In M. Oswald, S. Bieneck,  & J. Hupfeld-Heinemann (Hrsg.). Social Psychology of Punishment of Crime (pp. 275-293). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Scheibehenne, B., & von Helversen, B. (2009). Useful heuristics. In T. Williams, K. Samset & K. J. Sunnevåg (Eds.). Making essential choices with scant information - front-end decision-making in major projects (pp. 194-211). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


  • von Helversen, B., & Johnson, T. P. (2008). Der Einfluss von "Satisficing" und "Maximizing" auf das Entscheidungsverhalten. In W. Sarges & D. Scheffer. Innovative Ansätze für die Eignungsdiagnostik. Reihe: Psychologie für das Personalmanagement (pp. 265-273). Göttingen: Hogrefe.