Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg - whilst being committed to freedom in research and teaching - grapples with a diverse range of both national and global social challenges. These include technical, health-related and ecological matters, but ethical, cultural, social and economic problems are also the subject of systematic scientific observation, contextualisation, concept development and reflection. Scientists and academics from the University of Magdeburg aim, with their expertise and awareness of their responsibilities, to contribute to expert understanding, purposeful solutions and solution optimisation as well as to responsible assessments and decisions that are relevant to society as a whole. Alongside the key areas in fundamental and applied research and research transfer, the University defines additional areas in which it seeks to achieve excellence across disciplines.
Rich countries vary a lot when it comes to health and social problems. A comparison of social ills ranging from intentional homicides to obesity rates in 40 rich societies shows that Asian and European countries fare much better than Anglophone and Latin American countries. The most problem-ridden countries are Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and the United States. The positive end of the list is headed by Japan, South Korea and Singapore, followed by Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Germany ranks 15th just behind Austria. While economic inequality is associated with more social ills, economic prosperity dampens them.
Economists working with Professor Marko Sarstedt from University of Magdeburg are demanding that the same scientific standards be applied to economics and the behavioral sciences in general as are used in the natural sciences. They argue that the inherent uncertainties in measurement must be identified and quantified in order to improve the reproducibility of research. Only in this way can the sources of errors be identified and eliminated.
Overall, 93 per cent of the German populace feels valued in their everyday lives, whereas far fewer – but still one out two (52 per cent) – feel disrespected. Most Germans experience high levels of appreciation overall, especially in private contexts such as among family or friends. Disrespect, however, is most commonly experienced in the workplace. East and West Germans feel equally appreciated in their everyday lives – yet also equally disrespected. Rather, how much appreciation and disrespect a person experiences strongly depends on levels of income, education, and the employment status.
Economists at the OvGU have shown in a study that consumers tend to buy expensive luxury products when exposed to warm scents such as cinnamon, vanilla, and caramel. The researchers explain the behavior by the fact that people feel hemmed in by warm scents, as if they were in a large crowd. “We buy status products to compensate for this oppressive feeling and to stand out from others - so the SUV rather than the compact car,” explains Junior Professor Dr. Marcel Lichters of the Faculty of Economics and Management at the OvGU. This gives the consumer a "perceived" sense of regaining control over the situation, he continues.
In a joint research project between universities and industry, computer scientists from Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg are working on further developing the Internet of Things. The aim of the project is to develop a more intelligent infrastructure for the Internet of Things (IoT), which combines device, data, and process management. Furthermore, new tools are being created that will revolutionize the design and development of applications considerably more simple, secure, and efficient.