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Tobias Ebert, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Tobias Ebert is Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science & Technology at the University of St. Gallen. He holds a PhD in Psychology and master’s degrees in Psychology and Human Geography. Before joining the University of St. Gallen, Tobias has worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Mannheim and spent visits at the University of Cambridge, the Queensland University of Technology, and Columbia University.

His work is at the intersection of psychology, geography, and social data science. Specifically, he studies spatial variation in psychological attributes and the relevance of such variation for individuals and society. At the individual level, Tobias seeks to understand how the places we live in shape our behavior and wellbeing (e.g., how do those around us impact our spending habits and health?). At the societal level, Tobias is interested in the interplay between geo-psychological differences and macroeconomic development (e.g., which psychological cultures foster entrepreneurship and innovation?). To study these questions, Tobias uses large-scale psychological data and applies new technologies to gather such data from various sources (e.g., online surveys, digital footprints, historical archival data).

Tobias has published papers in leading journals in psychology and adjacent fields (e.g., Perspectives on Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Economic Geography). He has attracted public research grants (e.g., DFG, Fritz-Thyssen Foundation) and received several awards for his work (e.g., the SPSP Outstanding Research Award and dissertation prizes from the Lorenz-von-Stein Gesellschaft and the European Association of Personality Psychology). Tobias was previously also engaged in policy advisory projects and his research was featured in international media outlets (e.g., TIME Magazine, the Atlantic, NZZ, Zeit Online).

Selected Publications:

  • Ebert, T., Gebauer, J. E., Brenner, T., Bleidorn, W., Gosling, S. D., Potter, J., & Rentfrow, P. J. (2022). Are regional differences in psychological characteristics and their correlates robust? Applying spatial-analysis techniques to examine regional variation in personality. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 17, 407–441
  • Mewes, L., Ebert, T., Obschonka, M., Rentfrow, P. J., Potter, J., & Gosling, S. D. (2022). Psychological openness and the emergence of breakthrough vs. incremental innovations: A regional perspective. Economic Geography, 98, 379-410.
  • Ebert, T., Götz, F. M., Gladstone, J., Müller, S. R., & Matz, S. C. (2021). Spending reflects not only who we are but also who we are around: The joint effects of individual and geographic personality on consumption. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 121, 378-393
  • Götz, F. M., Ebert, T., Gosling, S. D., Obschonka, M., Potter, J., & Rentfrow P. J. (2021). Local housing market dynamics predict rapid shifts in cultural openness: A 9-year study across 199 cities. American Psychologist, 76, 947-961
  • Ebert, T., Gebauer, J. E., Talman, J. R., & Rentfrow, P. J. (2020). Religious people only live longer in religious cultural contexts: A gravestone analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119, 1-6
  • Ebert, T., Götz, F. M., Obschonka, M., Zmigrod, L., & Rentfrow, P. J. (2019): Regional variation in courage and entrepreneurship: The contrasting role of courage for the emergence and survival of Start‐Ups in the US. Journal of Personality, 87, 1039-1055.