I am a social psychologist at the University of Trier. My research operates at the intersection of social and environmental psychology and focuses on the (cognitive) conflicts that accompany difficult decisions. Specifically, I aim to understand why people regularly make decisions that are not necessarily financially sensible, healthy, sustainable, or morally sound. To achieve this, I employ a mixed-methods approach including various qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as Experience-Sampling and Process-Tracing. Through this array of methods, it is possible to gain insights into conflicting decisions, which ultimately contribute to understanding how behavioral changes can be achieved on an individual and societal level.

Furthermore, I conduct research at the intersection of biological and social psychology. The focus of this line of work lies on stress and threat, along with their physiological correlates. For this purpose, I conduct experiments in sensu and in virtual reality to investigate the conditions that influence the experience of stress and threat.

I try to communicate my research to the general public as often as possible, for example, in interviews (see below), science slams (here or here) or articles. If you are interested in my work, get access to (most of) my publications below, follow me on mastodon, or contact me directly via email.

Publications (peer-reviewed)

[19] Hahn*, L., Buttlar*, B., Künne, R., & Walther, E. (2024). Introducing the trier univalence neutrality ambivalence (TUNA) database: A picture database differentiating complex attitudes. PLOS ONE, 19(5), e0302904. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0302904

[18] Buttlar, B., Pauer, S., Ruby, M. B., & Scherrer, V. (2024). Two sides of the same fence: A model of the origins and consequences of meat-related conflict in omnivores and Veg*ans. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 102241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2024.102241

[17] Northrope, K., Howell, T., Kashima, E. S., Buttlar, B., Sproesser, G., & Ruby, M. B. (2024). An Investigation of Meat Eating in Samples from Australia and Germany: The Role of Justifications, Perceptions, and Empathy. Animals, 14(2), Article 2. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14020211

[16] Delaney, T., Castillo, L., Friehs, M. A., Buttlar, B., & Greene, C. M. (2023). Us versus them: The role of national identity in the formation of false memories for fake news. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. https://doi.org/10.1037/xap0000498

[15] Buttlar, B., Pauer, S., Ruby, M. B., Chambon, M., Jimenez-Klingberg, A.-K., Scherf, J., & Scherrer, V. (2023). The Meat Ambivalence Questionnaire: Assessing Domain-Specific Meat-Related Conflict in Omnivores and Veg*ans. Collabra: Psychology, 9(1), 73236. https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.73236

[14] Puteri, B., Buttlar, B., & Jahnke, B. (2022). Take it or leave it? Investigating the ambivalence and willingness to pay for suboptimal fruits and vegetables among organic consumers in Germany.Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2022.934954

[13] Buttlar, B., Dieterle, H., & Mandryk, R. (2022). Revisiting the SECPT-G: A template for the group-administered socially evaluated cold-pressor test to robustly induce stress. Comprehensive Psychoneuroendocrinology, 100115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpnec.2022.100115

[12] Buttlar, B., & Walther, E. (2022). Escaping from the meat paradox: How morality and disgust affect meat-related ambivalence. Appetite, 168, 105721. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2021.105721

[11] Buttlar, B., Löwenstein, L., Geske, M.-S., Ahlmer, H., & Walther, E. (2021). Love Food, Hate Waste? Ambivalence towards Food Fosters People’s Willingness to Waste Food.  Sustainability, 13(7), 3971. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073971

[10] Hahn, L., Buttlar, B., & Walther, E. (2021). Unpacking Plastic: Investigating Plastic Related Ambivalence.  Sustainability, 13(4), 2186. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042186

[9] Buttlar, B., Rothe, A., Kleinert, S., Hahn, L., & Walther, E. (2020). Food for Thought: Investigating Communication Strategies to Counteract Moral Disengagement Regarding Meat Consumption. Environmental Communication, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2020.1791207

[8] Buttlar, B., & Walther, E. (2020). Das Fleischparadox: Warum es so schwerfällt, auf Fleisch zu verzichten. Das In-Mind Magazin, 2. Abrufbar auf: https://de.in-mind.org/article/das-fleischparadox-warum-es-so-schwerfaellt-auf-fleisch-zu-verzichten

[7] Halbeisen, G., Buttlar, B., Kamp, S.-M, & Walther, E. (2020). The time-dependent effects of stress-induced cortisol release on evaluative conditioning. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 152, 44-52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2020.04.007

[6] Buttlar, B., Walther, E., Pohl, C., & Gierens, A. (2020): Mind the gap between feeling bad and feeling dead: Stress but not death reminders elicit endocrine responses. Death Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2020.1740829

[5] Zimmer*, P., Buttlar*, B., Halbeisen, G., Walther, E., & Domes, G. (2019). Virtually Stressed? A refined virtual reality adaptation of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) induces robust endocrine responses. Psychoneuroendocrinology,101, 186-192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.11.010

[4] Buttlar, B., & Walther, E. (2019). Dealing with the meat paradox: Threat leads to moral disengagement from meat consumption. Appetite, 137, 73 -80https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2019.02.017

[3] Buttlar, B.,  & Walther, E. (2018). Measuring the meat paradox: How ambivalence towards meat influences moral disengagement. Appetite, 128, 152-158. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2018.06.011

[2] Buttlar*, B., Latz*, M., & Walther, E. (2017). Breaking Bad: Existential Threat Decreases Pro-Environmental Behavior. Basic and Applied Social Psychology39(3), 153-166. https://doi.org/10.1080/01973533.2017.1296360

[1] Birk, M. V., Buttlar, B., Bowey, J. T., Poeller, S., Thomson, S. C., Baumann, N. & Mandryk, R. L. (2016). The Effects of Social Exclusion on Play Experience and Hostile Cognitions in Digital Games. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2858036.2858061

*shared first-authorship

Publications (others)

Buttlar, B., & Walther, E. (2018). Studying Ambivalence in Environmental Psychology: Unsustainable Dietary Practices Are Maintained by Moral Disengagement. In Gerhard Reese, Anne-Kristin Römpke, Andreas W. Mues and Kathrin Bockmühl (Eds.), Green Ways – Perspectives of Environmental Psychology Research (pp. 83-88). BfN-Skripten 529.

Buttlar, B., & Walther, E. (2017). Liebe und Geld: Zwei ungleiche Akteure im Garten des Glücks. In M. Brohm-Badry, C. Peifer, & J.M. Greve (Eds.), Positiv-Psychologische Forschung im Deutschsprachigen Raum - state of the art (pp. 74-94). Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers.

Birk, M. V., Mandryk, R. L., Bowey, J. T. & Buttlar, B. (2015). The Effects of Adding Premise and Backstory to Psychological Tasks. In CHI'15 Workshop "Researching Gamification: Strategies, Opportunities, Challenges, Ethics"

Publications (preprints)

Buttlar, B., Pauer, S., Scherrer, V., & Hofmann, W. (2024). Attitude-Based Self-Regulation: An Experience Sampling Study on the Role of Attitudes in the Experience and Resolution of Self-Control Conflicts in the Context of Vegetarians. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/mvzrn

Buttlar, B., & Pauer, S. (2024). Disentangling the Meat Paradox: A Comparative Review of Meat-Related Ambivalence and Dissonance. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/6kse4

Buttlar, B., Pauer, S., & Harreveld, F. van. (2023). The Model of Ambivalent Choice and Dissonant Commitment: An Integration of Dissonance and Ambivalence Frameworks Based on a Prime Example of Cognitive Conflict. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/5k9as


10/2022 Project start-up grant „Safe and Sorry? Wie Menschen den Genauigkeitsbias bei Entscheidungen überwinden können” [Safe and Sorry? How people can overcome their accuracy bias in sample-based decisions]. 4752,58€ awarded by the Research Fund, University of Trier, Germany.

06/2022 Project start-up grant „Ambivalenz und Ernährungsverhalten im Alltag” [Ambivalence and dietary behavior in every day life]. 4996,79€ awarded by the Research Fund, University of Trier, Germany.

06/2021 Project start-up grant „Foodpic Datenbank” [Foodpic database]. 4895,25€ awarded by the Research Fund, University of Trier, Germany.

01/2021 EASP Seedcorn Grant: “The functionality of doing nothing: Decision-Delay as a Strategy to Resolve Ambivalence in Food Waste”. 2978€ awarded by the European Association of Social Psychology.

12/2020 Project start-up grant „ Entscheidungsverzögerung: Eine funktionale Strategie zur Auflösung von Ambivalenz”[Decision Delay a functional strategy to resolve ambivalence]. 4840€ awarded by the Research Fund, University of Trier, Germany.

09/2019 Project start-up grant „Ekel oder Ärger: Der Einfluss moralischer Emotionen auf Einstellungen”[Disgust or Anger: The Influence of Moral Emotions on Attitudes]. 4700€ awarded by the Research Fund, University of Trier, Germany.

02/2018 Project start-up grant Ambivalenz: zentraler Prädiktor für gesundheitsrelevantes Verhalten” [Ambivalence: a central predictor of health-relevant behavior]. 3630€ awarded by the Research Fund, University of Trier, Germany.

05/2017 Travel Grant Awarded by the Research Fund, University of Trier, Germany.

05/2014 Travel Grant Awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)


09/2019 Award for Outstanding Dissertations. Awarded by the Freundeskreis of the University of Trier, Germany.

06/2019 Publication award of the University of Trier (second place; shared-first authorship with P. Zimmer)

09/2018 Finalist ESCON Best Paper Award (Top 4)

Ad-hoc Reviewing Services


Basic and Applied Social Psychology


Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Social Psychological and Personality Science

Journal of Social Psychology

Food Quality and Preference

Environmental Communication

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Journal of Environmental Psychology

Teaching Experiences


Applied social psychology (as a minor subject; 40-80students; M.Sc.)

  • 04/2022 – 07/2022
  • 04/2021 – 07/2021

Basics of social psychology (as a minor subject; 200 students; B.Sc.)

  • 10/2023 – 02/2024
  • 10/2022 – 02/2023
  • 10/2021 – 02/2022
  • 10/2020 – 02/2021

Basics of social psychology (as a major subject; 250 students; B.Sc.)

  • 10/2022 – 02/2023


Project seminar on environmental psychology (21 students; M.Sc.)

  • 10/2022 – 02/2023
  • 10/2018 – 02/2019

Seminar to reflect on internships (40 students; B.Sc.)

  • 10/2019 – 02/2020
  • 04/2019 – 07/2019
  • 10/2017 – 02/2018
  • 10/2016 – 02/2017

Project seminar on experimental science (12 students; B.Sc.)

  • 04/2022 – 07/2022 Topic: Sexism / Covid and Ambivalence / Norms in the WEPT
  • 10/2021 – 02/2022 Topic: (Mouse-)Tracking Ambivalence Online
  • 04/2021 – 07/2021 Topic: Conspiracy Beliefs / Vegetarian Stereotypes
  • 10/2020 – 02/2021 Topic: Homogeneity perception regarding animals
  • 10/2019 – 02/2020 Topic: Interventions against food waste
  • 04/2018 – 07/2018 Topic: The role of empathy in lying
  • 10/2017 – 02/2018 Topic: Ambivalence in food choice
  • 10/2016 – 07/2017 Topic: Meat consumption and existential threat
  • 10/2015 – 07/2016 Topic: Habitual behavior and existential threat

Seminar on social psychological theories (30 students; B.Sc.)

  • 04/2017 – 07/2017 Topic: Theorizing on existential threat
  • 04/2016 – 07/2016 Topic: Theorizing on existential threat

Project seminar on behavioral observation (16 students; B.Sc.)

  • 04/2015 – 07/2015
  • 04/2015 – 07/2015

Thesis Supervision (since 04/2015)

Supervision of 96 bachelor- and master theses (92 completed). Selection:

  • Twelve at one Blow: Introduction of a Group-Administered Socially Evaluated Cold-Pressor Test (G-SECPT). BA, Helena Dieterle, 2019, University of Trier.
  • The Perception and Ambivalence of Organic Consumers in Germany towards Suboptimal Food. MA, Berlianti Puteri, 2021, University of Kassel

  • Meat Ambivalence Questionnaire: Evidence of Convergent and Divergent Validity. BA, Johannes Drobny, 2022, University of Trier.

Supervision includes scientific integrity and academic writing workshops in each semester.


Communication with the General Public


03/2024 "Umwelt-Aktionstage: So helfen sie, nachhaltiger zu handeln" ["Environmental action days: how they help us to act more sustainably"] Interviewer: Bettina Lüke, DPA

11/2023 Hintergrundinterview zur Puls-Reportage "Ein Tag als Schlachter: Esse ich danach noch Fleisch?" ["A Day as a Butcher: Will I Continue to Eat Meat?"] Interviewer: Phillip Syvarth, Bayerischer Rundfunk.

04/2023 "Wird das Haltbarkeitsdatum abgeschafft?" ["Will the best-before date be abolished?"] Interviewer: Sandra Markert, Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

01/2023 "Endstation Mülltonne" ["Final Stop Trashcan"] Interviewer: Dominik Guggemos, Neue Berliner Redaktionsgemeinschaft.

08/2022 "Die Psychologie des Foodwasting" ["The Psychology of Wasting Food"] Interviewer: Josephine Walther, Campusradio Bochum.

08/2022 "Atomkraft, ja bitte – trotz GAU-Gefahr? Woher der aktuelle Meinungsumschwung kommt" ["Nuclear power, yes please - despite dangers of a meltdown? Where the current change of opinion comes from"] Interviewer: Miriam Meyer, Watson.

08/2022 "Mit Kindern will ich erst mal nicht am Essen sparen“ ["With children I don't want to not save on food"] Interviewer: Katja Gerland, Leipziger Volkszeitung.

05/2022 "Why do humans eat so much meat?" Interviewer: Anne-Sophie Brändlin, Deutsche Welle.

08/2021 "Warum wir Fleisch essen, aber bei der Herstellung die Augen zu machen" ["Why we eat meat and don't look at the production of meat"] Interviewer: Radio Gong.

06/2021 "Früher war Rauchen auch sozial anerkannt" ["In the past, smoking was also socially accepted"]. Interviewer: Clemens Sarholz, Luxemburger Wort.

05/2021 Vorsicht Falle! [It's a trap!]. Interviewer: Michael TreppeschResto Pesto.

05/2021 Der innere Konflikt bei Lebensmittelverschwendung. [The inner conflict in food waste]. Interviewer: Dorothee Spira, City Radio Trier.

02/2021 Das Fleisch-Paradox: Warum wir Tiere töten, obwohl wir es nicht wollen. [The meat paradox: Why we eat animals even though we don't want to]. Interviewer: Julia Vergin, Deutsch Welle.

12/2020 Coronavirus und der Nerz: Tod im Pelzmantel. [Coronavirus and the mink: Death in a fur coat]. Interviewer: Julia Vergin, Deutsch Welle.

05/2020 Psychologischer Konflikt durch Fleischkonsum. In-Mind fragt Dr. Benjamin Buttlar. [Psychological conflict through meat consumption]. In-Mind asks Dr. Benjamin Buttlar]. Interviewer: Jan Rudloff, In-Mind.

01/2020 Das Fleischparadox: Das Leid der Tiere wird verharmlost [The Meat Paradox: “The Harm to Animals is Denied”]. Interviewer: Paul Lassay,Allgemeine Zeitung.

11/2017 Warum wir manche Tiere essen und andere nicht [Why we eat some animals but do not eat others]. Interviewer: WDR Cosmo.

Science Slams

09/2022 Et Rosi und seine Gäste: Warum uns Vegan nicht Wurst ist. [Rosi’s Guests: Why Vegan is Controversial] Organizer: DGPS, Hildesheim.

07/2020 Et Rosi seine Gäste: Das Fleischparadox [Rosi’s Guests: The Meat Paradox]. Organizer: LUUPS, Mainz.

01/2020 Et Rosi seine Gäste: Das Fleischparadox [Rosi’s Guests: The Meat Paradox]. Organizer: Students for Future, Mainz.

07/2017 Et Rosi seine Kalkulation: Psychologie für die Gastronomie [Rosi’s calculation: Psychology for Gastronomy]. Organizer: Haus der Wissenschaft, Mainz.

04/2017 Das weckt den Tiger in Dir: Das Ende allen Fleisches [It wakes the Tiger: The End of All Flesh]. Organizer: Kulturraum, Trier.


01/2021 Warum essen wir noch Fleisch? Die Psychologie des Tiere-Essens. Offener Workshop, Abteilung Sozialpsychologie Universität Trier. Online

11/2020 Warum essen wir noch Fleisch? Die Psychologie des Tiere-Essens.Nachhaltigkeitswoche an Hochschulen in Rheinland-Pfalz und Saarland. Online


03/2024 Warum essen wir noch Fleisch? Die Psychologie des Tiere-Essens. VHS Böblingen-Sindelfingen, Online.

01/2020 Ambivalence As a Barrier for Pro-Environmental Behavior. 16. Veganer Brunch des Referats für Nachhaltigkeit, Trier.

11/2019 Food for Thought: How to Counteract Moral Disengagement Regarding Meat. Public Climate School, Students for Future Trier, Trier.

Academic Services

Since 02/2022 Member of the sub-commission of for open science in the Psychology Department of the University of Trier

11/2020 – 02/2023 Representative of the psychological non-professorial academic staff of the University of Trier

05/2017 – 05/2020 Member of the ethics committee of the University of Trier

11/2016 – 10/2017 Member of the sub-commission of the department of psychology "electronic allocation of course credits for study participation”

Conference Contributions


09/2022 How to Stay Away from the Fence: Investigating Conflict Resolution in Vegetarians. PostDoc Workshop, Cologne

09/2022 Organized Symposium: A Feasible Pathway to Sustainable Eating? Illuminating Barriers and Opportunities for the Adoption and Maintenance of Meat-Free Diets. DGPS  Congress, Hildesheim

- Contribution: Two sides of the same fence: A Model of the Origins and Consequences of Meat-Related Conflict in Omnivores and Veg*ans.

03/2022 Two sides of the same fence: A Model of the Origins and Consequences of Meat-Related Conflict in Omnivores and Veg*ans. Invited Talk: Brick Lab, Online.

07/2021 Food for Thought: Investigating Communication Strategies to Counteract Moral Disengagement in Animal Advocacy. Animal Advocacy Conference, Online.

02/2020 Understanding the Role of Ambivalence in Domestic Food Waste. PostDoc Workshop der Fachgruppe Sozialpsychologie, Saarbrücken.

09/2019 Dealing with the meat paradox: Threat leads to moral disengagement from meat consumption 17. Tagung der Fachgruppe Sozialpsychologie, Köln.

09/2018 Measuring the Meat Paradox: How Ambivalence Towards Meat Influences Moral Disengagement. 51. Tagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychologie, Frankfurt.

09/2018 Measuring the Meat Paradox: How Ambivalence Towards Meat Influences Moral Disengagement. ESCON 2018, Köln.

06/2018 Why We Are What We Eat: Ambivalent (Un-)Sustainable Dietary Practices Are Maintained by Moral (Dis-)engagement. 2nd Summerschool on Environmental Psychology, Vilm.

09/2017 Stressing the Difference: The Differential Impact of Stress and Mortality Salience on the Endocrine System. 16. Tagung der Fachgruppe Sozialpsychologie, Ulm.

09/2016 Breaking Bad: Existential Threat Decreases Pro-Environmental Behavior. SoDoc Workshop, Hamburg.


07/2023 Two Sides of the Same Fence: Why ambivalence accompanies behavior change in an inverted u-shaped function. 19th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Krakow.

07/2017 Stressing the Difference: The Differential Impact of Stress and Mortality Salience on the Endocrine System. 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada.