Dr. Benjamin Buttlar

I am an experimental social psychologist at the University of Trier. I am interested in why people do not act in accordance with their convictions, e.g., why do people eat meat or waste food although they know that their behavior causes harm?

Based on this, I investigate which psychological processes promote pro-environmental behaviors and how environmental and ethical issues can be communicated. This is one of the reasons why I try to communicate my research to the general public as often as possible, for example, in science slams or articles.

If you are interested in my work, get access to (most of) my publications below, follow me on twitter, or contact me directly via email.

Publications (peer-reviewed)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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"

Grants and Awards

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 Award for Outstanding Dissertations. Awarded by the Freundeskreis of the 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.

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)

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)

Conference Contributions


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.


07/2017 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.

Communication with the General Public


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

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


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 11/2020 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”

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

Teaching Experiences


Applied social psychology (as a minor subject; 41 students; M.Sc.)

  • 04/2021– 07/2021

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

  • 10/2020 – 02/2021


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

  • 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.)

  • 10/2020 – 02/2021 Topic: Homogeneity perception regarding animals
  • 10/2020 – 02/2021 Topic: Homogeneity perception of animals as an outgroup
  • 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)

  • 47 Bachelor theses
  • 15 Master theses