Before coming to the U.S. (and becoming a social psychologist), Michael studied Political Science at Otto-Friedrich Universität Bamberg, and at Freie Universität Berlin's Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science, Germany. Michael's research focuses primarily on social networks , implicit theories (i.e., the "mindsets" people have about themselves, others, or organizations), and their social psychological interplay.
He is currently working with Professor Carol Dweck (Department of Psychology) on several projects, which seek to explore the link between implicit beliefs ("mindsets") on the micro level and large scale social phenomena. For example, "From Belief to Structure" explores how people's mindsets affect the emergence, structure and transformation of social networks. In another project ("Shifting Climates") they show that specific mindsets are linked to beliefs about climate change, as well as behavior toward the environment. Building on these insights, they are currently developing a novel mindset intervention to raise awareness about climate change and global warming.