Lasse Suonperä Liebst

Lasse Suonperä Liebst

Associate Professor

Member of:

    Office hours: Thursdays 10 AM to 11 AM in office 16.2.22 

    Mobile: +45 20 72 37 60 

    I am a social behavioral scientist with a background in sociology. My research is transdisciplinary and spans the areas of micro-sociology, social psychology, criminology, and primate/human ethology. Methodologically, my expertise lies in quantitative research, particularly in combination with techniques for naturalistic video observation of interpersonal behavior.

    At present, I am engaged in two lines of research: First, I examine the role of bystanders in violent encounters, in particular with respect to how and why bystanders intervene and often successfully de-escalate aggressive situations. Second, I study the extent to which members of the public comply with COVID-19 measures, such as social distancing and face-mask use.  

    Besides my affiliation with the University of Copenhagen, I am a Senior Researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR). Here, my research activities are organized within the NSCR Video Group.


    Primary fields of research

    • Interpersonal violence
    • Bystander helping behavior
    • Naturalistic and video observational methods
    • Micro-sociology and social psychology
    • Applied statistics
    • Open science practices


    I teach broadly in micro-sociology, cultural sociology, and applied quantitative methods, including as responsible for the courses Kultur, livstil og hverdagsliv and Advanced Culture, Lifestyle and Everyday Life.

    My supervision of bachelor and master theses ranges broadly—from micro-sociology to macro-sociology and across quantitative and qualitative methods—and I am happy to facilitate that students can work on our new datasets.

    Current research

    Bystander behavior in violent emergencies: It is a long-standing assumption in the social sciences that bystanders to emergencies behave passively and apathetically—as suggested, for example, by the “bystander effect” hypothesis. My research challenges this assumption by showing that bystanders most often help victims of violence and that group dynamics play a crucial but underappreciated role in helping behavior.

    Work-related victimizations in residential institutions: Employees in residential institutions for children and young people have an increased risk of being exposed to violence and threats in their work. In this line of research, we conducted situational analyses of workplace victimizations to identify behavioral risk factors. This project is carried out in collaboration with postdoc Camilla Bank Friis.

    Disease transmission behaviors during the corona pandemic: The fight against the spread of coronavirus infection hinges on members of the public changing their behavioral routines concerning hygiene and social distancing. In this line of research, we use video recordings of place behavior to map peoples’ actual behavioral routines: Do people keep physical distance when passing strangers? Do people keep less distance if they are wearing masks? Do people face-touch more if wearing a mask?

    Methods for video observation: A common denominator in my work is the application of video-observational techniques. Video observation offers an unfiltered and fine-grained manner to record interpersonal and bodily behavior. Despite these advantages, video methods are strikingly underutilized within the socail sceinces, and as part of my research, I develop quantitative techniques and procedures to advance the use of video observation.

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