•  Brain City Ambassador Prof. Dr. Bettina Hannover, Freie Universität Berlin

    Prof. Dr. Bettina Hannover, Freie Universität Berlin

The Brain City Ambassador is a psychologist and professor of school and teaching research at the Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin). Bettina Hannover was awarded the Martin Irle Prize by the German Psychological Society for her consistent commitment to promoting young researchers. She also considers the development of the self in her research.

The jury of the Martin Irle Prize described Prof. Dr. Bettina Hannover as a “strong pioneer of scientific careers” at the award ceremony in September 2022. She promotes individuality and autonomy, while at the same time ensuring networking within the scientific discipline in her team and establishing contacts with leading research personalities. The reasoning of the panel is also a pleasant compliment to the Brain City Ambassador. One that can be backed up with numbers. From among her more than 70 mentees, 23 now have professorships themselves.

Bettina Hannover has also achieved a lot scientifically. As a professor for school and teaching research at the FU Berlin, she conducts research at the interface between social psychology, educational psychology and developmental psychology – with a strong application focus. “I am interested in the question of how the image people have of themselves – the so-called self – influences them in their thinking, feeling and acting. To that end, first I examine the cognitive mechanisms that underlie the processing of self-related information, and second the social or cultural factors such as gender role stereotypes or independence versus interdependence cultures on the self. And third, I deal with the effects of the self on learning and interest development in the context of school.”

The psychologist came to her field of research in the mid-1980s. “As part of my doctoral thesis, I investigated what determines how people assess their personal performance. I then got a big project from the Ministry of Education at the time, in which we studied the development of the interest of girls in mathematics and science. We developed interventions through which we aimed to strengthen their interest in these subject domains. This gave me the connection between my basic science work on the self and a field of application, in this case the development of school interests.”

The attractiveness of the city also helps science, since we can interest many good people in our job offers.

Bettina Hannover found her own professional self in Berlin. “I came here in 1982 after completing my psychology studies in Marburg, Bremen and Philadelphia to take my first job in science – as a research assistant at the Technische Universität Berlin.” The young scientist also did her doctorate in psychology at the TU Berlin and habilitated. In 1997 she was appointed professor with a focus on social psychology at the University of Dortmund. In 2002 she returned to the capital to take over the professorship for school and teaching research at the FU Berlin. Above all, she likes the informal living environment in the city: “In Berlin, everyone can pursue their interests and find people they feel similar to or close to, no matter what their financial resources are. There is not only advanced culture here, but a differentiated scene with tailor-made offers.”

Brain City Berlin also offers Bettina Hannover “inexhaustible networking opportunities” – both regionally and internationally. “The attractiveness of the city also helps science, since we can interest many good people in our job offers.”

Bettina Hannover generally advises young scientists who would like to come to Berlin not to choose a position based on the city, but rather on whether it suits them. “If this suitable position is in Berlin, it is important to make targeted use of the special opportunities that this city offers science.” As the Brain City Ambassador knows from her own experience, scientific work requires three essential things: Passion for ideas, desire to explore and to write. “Do you have these qualities? Then a career in science is right for you!

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