Symbolic picture for personality research


Get to know our research focuses, collaborations and projects.

Foto mit Menschen unterschiedlichen Alters

Research focuses

1. Description and Explanation of individual Differences and Social Inequality

This lab concerns itself generally with the description and measurement of personality differences against the background of a complex, systemic, and dynamic understanding of personality with its (A) affective, (B) behavioral, (C) cognitive, and (D) dynamic-motivational components. Psychological diagnostics place great value on accurate measurements of personality. The agreement and the specificity of different diagnostic methods (e.g. self- or external reports) is of great importance. In the context of explanation, global personality dimensions, socio-political orientations and preferences, values and morality, interests, competencies, as well as individual self-concepts of people are researched regarding their genetic factors and biological correlates (e.g. hormones) on the one hand and their potential malleability through environmental factors (e.g. life events) and contexts (e.g. family and peer groups) on the other hand. In addition, the impact of these inter-individual differences on social inequality and well-being is one major focus.

2. Patterns and Sources of Personality Development across the Lifespan

This department is focused on the entire life span and investigates how personality characteristics develop during different stages of life. The major goal is to explain the developmental patterns with genetic, biological, and environmental factors, and their complex interactions. Here, accurate operationalization of individual particularities and environments plays an important role. On this basis, it is researched when, how, and why differences in personality unfold between people, are reduced, stabilized, or destabilized. These patterns and their sources are also being investigated regarding their influence on health in different age groups.

3. Modeling and Analysis of Complex Longitudinal and Relationship-Data

In order to realize the research aims formulated above, complex research designs have to be used (e.g. paired dyad- twin family- and longitudinal designs), and a multitude of different data sources (e.g. multi-method-data, biological markers, and accurate environmental measures). To analyze this multi-modal data, we utilize a comprehensive quantitative-methodical know-how. The spectrum of the department includes, among others, structural equation and multi-level modeling, as well as methods for analyzing (quasi-)causal inference. As such, this third focus represents the methodological foundation of the other research foci.

Bild mit Zwillingen

Research projects and collaborations

DFG project SPeADyStudy of Personality Architecture and Dynamics

DFG long-term project TWINLIFE Genetic and Social Causes of Life Chances 

Personality Change Consortium

CODATwins Collaborative Project of Development of Anthropometrical Measures in Twins


In press

  • Zapko-Willmes, A., & Theocharis, Y. (2024). Accounting for the association between socioeconomic status and youth political participation: A twin family study. Political Psychology, 00, 1–20.
  • Kandler, C., Kühn, S., Mönkediek, B., Forstner, A., & Bleidorn, W. (in press). A multidisciplinary perspective on person-environment fit: Relevance, measurement, and future directions. Current Directions in Psychological Science
  • Gloy, K., & Kandler, C. (in press). Was misst der Wahl-O-Mat? Eine explorative Faktorenanalyse zur Validität des Wahl-O-Mat als diagnostisches Instrument der politischen Orientierung. Diagnostica
  • Jaeger, B., Sleegers, W. W. A., Stern, J., Penke, L., & Jones, A. L. (in press). Testing perceiver’s accuracy and accuracy awareness when forming personality impressions from faces.European Journal of Personality.
  • Gloy, K., Marzuki, A. A., Schaefer, A., Jenkins, M., de Vries, I. E. J., Phon-Amnuaisuk, P., Lim, S. X. L., Wong, K. Y., Enge, S., Michael, L., Kühnel, A., Depow, G. J., Inzlicht, M., Oldemburgo de Mello, Arriaga, P., Frade, S., Jeronimo, R., Garrison, K., Wahlers, J., Karen, A., … Kandler, C. (in principle acceptance). Revisiting the neurocognitive correlates of the behavioral inhibition and activation systems. Stage 1 Registered Report. Cortex.
  • Marzuki, A. A., Gloy, K., Kandler, C., Phon-Amnuaisuk, P., Jenkins, M., Wong, K. Y., Lim, S. X. L., Yip, W. Z., Garrison, K., Tullett, A., Wahlers, J., Akin, K., Arriaga, P., Frade, S., Jerónimo, R., de Mello, V. O., Depow, G. J., Inzlicht, M., Enge, S., Michael, L., … Schaefer, A. (in principle acceptance).  Error- and inhibitory-related brain activity associated with political ideology: A multi-site replication study. Stage 1 Registered Report. Cortex.
  • Stern, J., Schild, C., & Zettler, I. (in press). Revisiting the relation between steroid hormones and unethicality in an exploratory, longitudinal study with female participants. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 10.1177/01461672231199961


  • Driebe, J. C., Stern, J., Penke, L., & Gerlach, T.M. (2024). Probing the Predictive Validity of Ideal Partner Preferences for Future Partner Traits and Relationship Outcomes Across 13 Years. European Journal of Personality

  • Driebe, J. C., Stern, J., Penke, L., & Gerlach, T. M. (2024). Stability and Change of Individual Differences in Ideal Partner Preferences over 13 Years. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

  • Schleifenbaum, L., Stern, J., Driebe, J. C., Wieczorek, L. L., Gerlach, T. M., Arslan, R. C., & Penke, L. (2024). Ovulatory cycle shifts in human motivational prioritization of sex and food. Hormones and Behavior162, 105542.

  • Kandler, C. (2024). Capturing true life-event effects on personality change: A potential solution in a nutshell. Comment on Bühler et al.: Life events and personality change: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Personality, 38, 576-578.

  • Instinske, J., & Kandler, C. (2024). Structure and sources of core self-evaluations: Construct validation using multi-rater and genetically informative designs. European Journal of Personality38(3), 516–533.
  • Wiechers, Y., & Kandler, C. (2024). Psychometric Quality of the German HEXACO-60 Personality Inventory-Revised. European Journal of Psychological Assessment
  • Stern, J., Ostermann, S., & Penke, L. (2024). Investigating Cycle Shifts in Women’s Clothing Style and Grooming. British Journal of Social Psychology63, 378-402.
  • Kandler, C., Zapko-Willmes, A., & Rauthmann, J. F. (2024). Broad and narrow environmental and genetic sources of personality differences: An extended twin family study. Journal of Personality, 92, 55-72.
  • Instinske, J., & Kandler, C. (2024). Does emotional stability form the core of self-evaluations? A multi-rater cross-lagged panel study. Journal of Research in Personality108, 104451.


  • Deppe, M., & Zapko-Willmes, A., (2023). Youth depression symptoms during COVID-19. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 231, 126-136.

  • Stern, J., Hildebrand, T., & Casto, K. (2023). Women’s intrasexual competitiveness and jealousy across the ovulatory cycle – a hormone-based study. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 14, 647-661.

  • Wiechers, Y., Zapko-Willmes, A., Richter, J., & Kandler, C. (2023). The longitudinal and multi-rater age groups study of personality architecture and dynamics (SPeADy).Personality Science,4, e6421.

  • Rohm, T., Andreas, A., Deppe, M., Eichhorn, H., Instinske, J., Klatzka, C. H., Kottwitz, A., Krell, K., Mönkediek, B., Paulus, L., Piesch, S., Ruks, M., Starr, A., Weigel, L., Diewald, M., Kandler, C., Riemann, R., & Spinath, F. M. (2023). Data from the German TwinLife Study: Genetic and Social Origins of Educational Predictors, Processes, and Outcomes. Journal of Open Psychology Data, 11: 4, pp. 1–15.

  • Stern, J. & Penke, L. (2023). Ovulatory cycle effects and hormonal influences on women’s mating psychology. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Human Mating (1st ed.), pp. 739-755. Oxford University Press.

  • Arslan, R.C., Blake, K., Botzet, L.J., Bürkner, P.-C., DeBruine, L., Fiers, T., Grebe, N., Hahn, A., Jones, B.C., Marcinkowska, U.M., Mumford, S.L., Penke, L., Roney, J.R., Schisterman, E.F., & Stern, J. (2023). Not within spitting distance: salivary immunoassays of estradiol have subpar validity for predicting cycle phase.Psychoneuroendocrinology, 149, 105994.

  • Rafiee, Y., Stern, J., Ostner, J., Penke, L., & Schacht, A. (2023). Does emotion recognition change across phases of the ovulatory cycle? Psychoneuroendocrinology, 148, 105977.


  • Diewald, M., Kandler, C., Riemann, R., Spinath, F. M., Andreas, A., Baier, T., Bartling, A., Baum, M. A., Deppe, M., Eichhorn, H., Eifler, E. F., Gottschling, J., Hahn, E., Hildebrandt, J., Hufer-Thamm, A., Instinske, J., Kornadt, A. E., Kottwitz, A., Krell, K., . . . Weigel, L. (2022). TwinLife. GESIS Data Archive. ZA6701, Data file Version 6.1.0.

  • Schild, C., Braunsdorf, E., Steffens, K., Pott, F., & Stern, J. (2022). Gender and context-specific effects of vocal dominance and trustworthiness on leadership decisions. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 8, 538 – 556.

  • Rode, T., Kordsmeyer, T. L., & Stern, J. (2022). The relationship between body morphology and narcissism at zero acquaintance. Collabra: Psychology, 8, 37150.

  • Kandler, C., & Rauthmann, J. F. (2022). Conceptualizing and studying characteristics, units, and fits of persons and environments: A coherent synthesis. European Journal of Personality, 36, 293-318. à Important Supplement: Introduction to the Latent Adaptation-State-Trait (LAST) Approach.

  • Ausmees, L., Kandler, C., Realo, A., Allik, J., Borkenau, P., Hřebíčková, M., & Mõttus (2022). Age differences in personality traits and social desirability: A multi-rater multi-sample study. Journal of Research in Personality, 99, 104245.

  • Fajkowska, M., Zawadski, B., de Pascalis, V., & Kandler, C. (2022). Regulative Theory of Temperament: Recent advances and future developments. – Editorial: Temperament in the contemporary science of personality: Tribute to Jan Strelau. Personality and Individual Differences, 196, 111730.

  • Schleifenbaum, L., Stern, J. Driebe, J. C., Wieczorek, L. L., Gerlach, T. M., Arslan, R. C., & Penke, L. (2022). Men are not aware of and do not respond to their female partner’s fertility status: Evidence from a dyadic diary study of 384 couples. Hormones and Behavior, 143, 105202.

  • Riemann, R., & Kandler, C. (2022). XI. Biologische Grundlagen politischen Handelns und politischer Einstellungen. In: S. Zmerli & O. Feldman (Hrsg.),Politische Psychologie: Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium, 2. aktualisierte und erweiterte Auflage (S. 229-250),Nomos.

  • Kandler, C., Riemann, R., & Hufer-Thamm, A. (2022). IV. Persönlichkeit und Politik. In: S. Zmerli & O. Feldman (Hrsg.),Politische Psychologie: Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium, 2. aktualisierte und erweiterte Auflage (S. 61-82), Nomos.

  • Stern, J., Arslan, R. C., & Penke, L. (2022). Stability and validity of steroid hormones in hair and saliva across two ovulatory cycles. Comprehensive Psychoneuroendocrinology, 9, 100114.

  • Stern, J. & Shiramizu, V. (2022). Hormones, ovulatory cycle phase and pathogen disgust: A longitudinal investigation of the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis. Hormones and Behavior, 138, 105103.


  • Kandler, C., Bratko, D., Butković, A., Vukasovic-Hlupić, T., Tybur, J. M., Wesseldijk, L., de Vries, R. E., Jern, P., & Lewis, G. J. (2021). How genetic and environmental variance in personality traits shift across the lifespan: Evidence from a cross-national twin study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 121, 1079-1094.

  • Arumäe, K., Briley, D., Colodro-Conde, L., Mortensen, E., Jang, K., Ando, J., Kandler, C., Sørensen, T., Dagher, A., Mõttus, R., & Vainik, U. (2021). Two genetic analyses to elucidate causality between body mass index and personality. International Journal of Obesity, 45, 2244-2251.

  • Silventoinen, K., Bogl, L. H., Jelenkovic, A., Vuoksimaa, E., Latvala, A., …, Kandler, C., …, Kaprio, J. (2021). Educational attainment of same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins: an individual level pooled study of 19 twin cohorts. Hormones and Behavior, 136, 105054.

  • Bleidorn, W., Hopwood, C. J., Back, M. D., Denissen, J. J. A., Hennecke, M., Hill, P. L., Jokela, M., Kandler, C., Lucas, R. E., Luhmann, M., Orth, U., Roberts, B. W., Wagner, J., Wrzus, C., & Zimmermann, J. (2021). Personality trait stability and change. Personality Science, 2, 1-20.

  • Zapko-Willmes, A., Schwartz, S. H., Richter, J., & Kandler, C. (2021). Basic value orientations and moral foundations: Convergent or discriminant constructs? Journal of Research in Personality, 92, 104099.

  • Kandler, C., Zapko-Willmes, A., Richter, J., & Riemann, R. (2021). Synergistic and dynamic genotype-environment interplays in the development of personality differences. In: J. F. Rauthmann (ed.), The Handbook of Personality Dynamics and Processes (pp. 155-181). Elsevier Academic Press.

  • Richter, J., Zimmermann, J., Neyer, F. J., & Kandler, C. (2021). Do sojourn effects on personality trait changes last? A five-year longitudinal study. European Journal of Personality, 35, 358-382.

  • Kandler, C. (2021). A meta-analytic review of nature and nurture in religiousness across the lifespan. Current Opinion in Psychology, 40, 106-113.


  • Back, M. D., & Kandler, C. (2020). Special Issue: Objections to the HEXACO model of personality structure—and why those objections fail – Editorial: Some thoughts on the relevance, future prospects, and politics of structural personality research. European Journal of Personality, 34, 489-491.

  • Wagner, J., Orth, U., Bleidorn, W., Hopwood, C. J., & Kandler, C. (2020). Towards an integrative model of sources of personality stability and change. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29, 438-444.

  • Bleidorn, W., Hill, P. L., Back, M. D., Denissen, J. J. A., Hennecke, M., Hopwood, C. J., Jokela, M., Kandler, C., Lucas, R. E., Luhmann, M., Orth, U., Wagner, J., Wrzus, C., Zimmermann, J., & Roberts, B. W. (2020). Why stop at two opinions? – A reply to McCrae. American Psychologist, 75, 731–732.

  • Silventoinen, K., Jelenkovic, A., Sund, R., Latvala, A., Honda, C., …, Kandler, C., …, Kaprio, J. (2020). Genetic and environmental variation in educational attainment: An individual-based analysis of 28 twin cohorts. Scientific Reports, 10, 12681.

  • Bleidorn, W., Hopwood, C. J., Back, M. D., Denissen, J. J. A., Hennecke, M., Jokela, M., Kandler, C., Lucas, R. E., Luhmann, M., Orth, U., Roberts, B. W., Wagner, J., Wrzus, C., & Zimmermann, J. (2020). Longitudinal Experience-Wide Association Studies (LEWAS) – A framework for studying personality change. European Journal of Personality, 34, 285-300.

  • Bell, E., Dawes, C., Weinschenk, A., Riemann, R., & Kandler, C. (2020). Patterns and sources of the association between intelligence, party identification, and political orientations. Intelligence, 81, 101457.
  • Kandler, C., & Piepenburg, A. (2020). Leisure interests and engagement: Distinct dispositions or only expressions of personality traits? Journal of Individual Differences, 41, 101-109.
  • Hufer, A., Kornadt, A. E., Kandler, C., & Riemann, R. (2020). Genetic and environmental variation in political orientation in adolescence and early adulthood: a nuclear twin family analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 118, 762-776.
  • Nikstat, A., Weitkämper, A. & Kandler, C. (2020). Kurzversion des Fragebogeninventars für Freizeitinteressen (FIFI-K). Zusammenstellung sozialwissenschaftlicher Items und Skalen (ZIS).
  • Bleidorn, W., Hopwood, C. J., Ackerman, R. A., Witt, E. A., Kandler, C., Riemann, R., Samuel, D. B., Donnellan, B. M. (2020). The healthy personality from a basic trait perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 118, 1207-1225.


  • Kandler, C., Penner, A., Richter, J., & Zapko-Willmes, A. (2019). The Study of Personality Architecture and Dynamics (SPeADy): A longitudinal and extended twin family study. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 22, 548-553.
  • Silventoinen, K., Jelenkovic, A., Yokohama, Y., Sund, R., Sugawara, M., …, Kandler, C., …, Kaprio, J. (2019). The CODATwins Project: the current status and recent findings of COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 22, 800-808.
  • Bleidorn, W., Hill, P. L., Back, M. D., Denissen, J. J. A., Hennecke, M., Hopwood, C. J., Jokela, M., Kandler, C., Lucas, R. E., Luhmann, M., Orth, U., Wagner, J., Wrzus, C., Zimmermann, J., & Roberts, B. (2019). The policy relevance of personality traits. American Psychologist, 74, 1056-1067.
  • Mõttus, R., Sinick, J., Terracciano, A., Hřebíčková, M., Kandler, C., Ando, J., Mortensen, E. L., Colodro-Conde, L., & Jang, K. L. (2019). Personality characteristics below facets: A replication and meta-analysis of cross-rater agreement, rank-order stability, heritability and utility of personality nuances. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117, e35-e50.
  • Kandler, C., Richter, J., & Zapko-Willmes, A. (2019). The nature and nurture of HEXACO personality trait differences: An extended twin family study. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 227, 195-206.
  • Vainik, U., Dagher, A., Realo, A., Colodro-Conde, L., Mortensen, E. L., Jang, K. L., Ando, J., Kandler, C., Sørensen, T. I. A., & Mõttus, R. (2019). Personality-obesity associations are driven by narrow traits: A meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 20, 1121-1131.
  • Kandler, C., Waaktaar, T., Mõttus, R., Riemann, R., & Torgersen, S. (2019). Unravelling the interplay between genetic and environmental contributions in the unfolding of personality differences from early adolescence to young adulthood. European Journal of Personality, 33, 221-244.
  • Weinschenk, A., Dawes, C., Kandler, C., Bell, E., & Riemann, R. (2019). New evidence on the link between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement. Politics and the Life Sciences, 38, 1-13.


  • Bell, E., Kandler, C., & Riemann, R. (2018). Genetic and environmental influences on socio-political attitudes: Addressing some gaps in the new paradigm. Politics and the Life Sciences, 37, 236-249.
  • Zapko-Willmes, A., Riemann, R., & Kandler, C. (2018). Unravelling quasi-causal environmental effects via phenotypic and genetically informed multi-rater models: The case of differential parenting and authoritarianism. European Journal of Personality, 32, 233-253.