Michaela Wänke

Michaela Wänke
Universität Mannheim · Department of Psychology

Professor

About

110
Publications
71,500
Reads
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5,094
Citations
Additional affiliations
February 2010 - present
Universität Mannheim
Position
  • Professor (Full)
April 2002 - February 2010
University of Basel
Position
  • Ordinaria (Full Professor)
September 1999 - March 2002
Universität Erfurt
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (110)
Article
The present research contributes to the literature on victim blaming in cases of sexualized violence. Our findings show that even subtle cues, such as positioning in a picture, can influence blame attribution, particularly for people who are motivated to do so. In our experimental study we could show that with increasing rape myth acceptance as wel...
Article
People prefer linguistic stimuli with an inward-wandering consonant sequence (e.g., PATIKO) over those with an outward-wandering consonant sequence (e.g., KATIPO), a preference referred to as articulatory in-out effect. Previous research has proposed that this effect is based on a higher fluency of inward versus outward articulation. Recently, howe...
Article
Individual, car-based mobility contributes significantly to worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Driving style accounts for up to 30% of fuel consumption and manufacturers have implemented technologies such as energy-efficient “eco” driving modes to reduce emissions. Here we report evidence from a field experiment with battery-electric vehicles. Two...
Article
Full-text available
In cultures with left-right-script, agentic behavior is mentally represented as following a left-to-right trajectory, an effect referred to as the Spatial Agency Bias (SAB, Suitner and Maass, 2016 ). In this research, we investigated whether spatial representations of activities are universal across activities by analyzing the opposite concepts of...
Article
The articulatory in-out effect describes the preference for words with articulation moving inward compared to words with articulation moving outward. A promising explanation is that inward words are more fluent than outward words, but experimental evidence for such reasoning was offered only recently: By training selectively inward or outward words...
Article
Full-text available
The mental imagination of (social) actions has been shown to follow a left‐to‐right trajectory, with the thematic agent associated with the left position (Spatial Agency Bias, Suitner & Maass, 2016). For example, individuals asked to choose a picture that visualizes the sentence “Tom kicks George.” tend to choose an image where the agent, Tom, is p...
Article
Full-text available
Combining the strengths of defaults and transparency information is a potentially powerful way to induce policy compliance. Despite negative theoretical predictions, a recent line of research revealed that default nudges may become more effective if people are informed why they should exhibit the targeted behavior. Yet, it is an open empirical ques...
Article
The eminent role of processing fluency in judgment and decision-making is undisputed. Not only is fluency affected by sources as diverse as stimulus repetition or visual clarity, but it also has an impact on outcomes as diverse as liking for a stimulus or the subjective validity of a statement. Although several studies indicate that sources and out...
Preprint
The self-sufficiency hypothesis suggests that priming individuals with money makes them focus more strongly on themselves than on others. However, recently, research supporting this claim has been heavily criticized and some attempts to replicate have failed. A reason for the inconsistent findings in the field may lay in the common use of explicit...
Article
The self-sufficiency hypothesis suggests that priming individuals with money makes them focus more strongly on themselves than on others. However, recently, research supporting this claim has been heavily criticized and some attempts to replicate have failed. A reason for the inconsistent findings in the field may lay in the common use of explicit...
Article
Full-text available
Default options have been successfully utilized in influencing behavior across multiple domains. Recent empirical evidence advocated the induction of transparency to default interventions as an effective tool for increasing policy compliance. However, the roles of the different transparency components in achieving the effect remain unexplored. In a...
Preprint
In past research on imitation, some findings suggest that imitation is goal based, whereas other findings suggest that imitation can also be based on a direct mapping of a model’s movements without necessarily adopting the model’s goal. We argue that the two forms of imitation are flexibly deployed in accordance with the psychological distance from...
Article
Full-text available
In past research on imitation, some findings suggest that imitation is goal based, whereas other findings suggest that imitation can also be based on a direct mapping of a model's movements without necessarily adopting the model's goal. We argue that the 2 forms of imitation are flexibly deployed in accordance with the psychological distance from t...
Article
Full-text available
From an ethical standpoint, transparency is an essential requirement in public policy-making. Ideally, policy-makers are transparent and actively disclose the presence, purpose and means of a decision aid. From a practical point of view, however, transparency has been discussed as reducing the effectiveness of decision aids. In the present paper, w...
Article
The political orientation of others can be perceived above chance level from looks alone. However, the effect is usually small and there is considerable interpersonal variance. We propose that the ability to accurately perceive others' political orientation is highest for those who hold more extreme political views themselves, as compared to people...
Article
Full-text available
Launching new products is associated with high costs and risks. One popular strategy for reducing associated costs is brand transfer. In a brand transfer, an existing brand is used to launch a new product. Yet, a large number of brand transfers fail, so that brand transfer often does not reduce, but increase associated risks. The present contributi...
Article
Full-text available
In two studies we disentangled and systematically investigated the impact of subtle facial cues to masculinity/femininity and gender category information on first impressions. Participants judged the same unambiguously male and female target persons–either with masculine or feminine facial features slightly enhanced–regarding stereotypically mascul...
Article
Full-text available
In a multistudy approach across seven studies we explored whether, as suggested by previous research, money primes affect people’s political orientation. Across the studies we used different dependent variables and samples, and we combined the results in a small-scale meta-analysis to test two competing hypotheses. Independent of the measures and e...
Article
Full-text available
New websites and smartphone applications provide easy-click checking opportunities that can help consumers in many domains. However, this technology is not always used effectively. For example, many consumers skip checking “Terms and Conditions” links even when a quick evaluation of the terms can save money, but check their smartphone while driving...
Article
Priming can increase the likelihood of retrieval from memory, facilitate the processing of encountered brands, determine product categorization, the encoding, and the weighting of the product attributes. Priming may also induce influence motivational, affective and cognitive states, which in turn affect product preferences. Primes can come in form...
Book
Attitudes have been a central topic in social psychology from its early beginnings. But what exactly are attitudes, where do they come from, and how can they be modified? The overall aim of Attitudes and Attitude Change is to provide students with a comprehensive and accessible introduction to these basic issues in the psychological study of attitu...
Article
Full-text available
Consumers are often less satisfied with a product chosen from a large assortment than a limited one. Experienced choice difficulty presumably causes this as consumers have to engage in a great number of individual comparisons. In two studies we tested whether partitioning the choice task so that consumers decided sequentially on each individual att...
Article
Previous studies suggest that the color red reduces food intake because it signals danger and hence acts as a consumption-stopping cue. We demonstrate that this effect cannot be generalized to just any kind of food. Consequently, we show that the color red—despite eliciting similar associations—affects behavior more strongly with regard to unhealth...
Article
The subjective ease, or fluency, that is experienced during the cognitive processing of information has a large impact on the outcome of the processing. Research on judgment in a variety of domains shows that such fluency effects depend less on the (absolute) level of experienced fluency than on the relative fluency—that is, the change in fluency o...
Article
In the present research we elaborate on an ecological account (Fiedler, Jung, Wänke & Alexopoulos, 2012) for the unitary distance dimension postulated in construal-level theory, highlighting linguistic influences on distance regulation. We first replicate that distinct action verbs solicit similarly distant or close episodes in many judges, produci...
Article
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Many prisons across Western countries recently began to paint detention cells in Baker-Miller pink to calm down aggressive inmates. This recent development is based on early findings of more than 30 years ago suggesting that Baker-Miller pink reduces physical strength and thus aggressive behavior. In the present study we question the applied method...
Article
The strength model of self-control has inspired large amounts of research and contributed to a deeper under-standing of the temporal dynamics underlying self-control. Several studies have identified factors that can counteract self-control depletion, but relatively little is known about factors that can prevent depletion effects. Here we tested the...
Article
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Previous research suggests that positive stimuli are often approached as well as recognized faster than negative stimuli. We argue that this effect does not hold if negative stimuli are associated with threat. Based on fear module theory (Öhman & Mineka, 2001, 2003), we argue that individuals recognize threatening stimuli faster than positive stimu...
Article
Full-text available
Was haben ausweichende Antworten von Politikern, Werbung für Kaffee mit Arabica-Bohnen und alltägliche Unterhaltungen am Frühstückstisch gemeinsam? Alle sind Kommunikationsakte und alle folgen den gleichen Regeln. Anders als bei gewöhnlichen Regeln müssen die Spieler im „Kommunikations-Spiel“ diese Spielregeln nicht explizit kennen, um ihnen dennoc...
Article
Full-text available
In three studies, an easy-to-apply response time task that differentiates between recognition and approach speed was applied. The results indicate that individuals recognized and approached positive stimuli faster than negative stimuli (Pilot Study). But, when the choice options differed less in valence, approach movement time was a better predicto...
Article
Full-text available
The idea of money reminds consumers of personal strength and resources. Such cues have been found to increase the level of mental construal. Consequently, it was hypothesized and found in five experiments that reminders of money trigger abstract (vs. concrete) mental construals. Participants were primed with money or money-unrelated concepts. Money...
Article
Full-text available
Persuading people to follow a behavioral recommendation can be attempted by outlining the negative consequences for those performing this behavior or by outlining the negative consequences for others. Prior research has shown that reminding people of money (e.g., touching money) leads to higher self-sufficiency resulting in more self-focused and le...
Article
The purpose of the present chapter is to consider social rationality from the perspective of social psychology. According to the dual-process approaches that dominate contemporary social psychology, rationality is only possible in the systematic processing mode, whereas the heuristic processing mode is considered intrinsically flawed, in contrast t...
Article
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Recent studies have shown that individuals often imitate the behavior of others. In these studies, the observed and imitated behaviors were always identical. The present research goes one step further and disentangles the imitation of movements from their behavioral contexts. On the basis of theories that the perception of behavior refers to the sa...
Article
Construal-level theory's basic assumption of a positive relationship between psychological distance and abstractness of mental representations presupposes a unitary distance construct. Although prior research testifies to convergent influences of temporal, spatial, social and reality (probability) distance, there is no direct evidence for the integ...
Article
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The purchase of luxury goods is relatively exclusive, limited, and often merely hypothetical. Thus, luxury goods may be perceived as more psychologically distant than ordinary goods. Based on the link between psychological distance and abstract mental representation, we hypothesized and found in three studies that both consumers and advertisers des...
Article
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This article is a tribute to the "mood as information" paradigm in general and the seminal weather study (Schwarz & Clore, 1983) in particular. Schwarz and Clore used a natural variation in weather to induce different mood states and to further show that participants reported higher life satisfaction on sunny days than on rainy days, presumably bec...
Article
Consumers are less satisfied with a product chosen from an extended assortment than from a limited one. Presumably, information overload causes decreased satisfaction and reducing information overload would increase satisfaction. Building on Unconscious Thought Theory, results suggest that this classic effect reverses when consumers do not delibera...
Article
Full-text available
In four experiments, the impact of concreteness of language on judgments of truth was examined. In Experiments 1 and 2, it was found that statements of the very same content were judged as more probably true when they were written in concrete language than when they were written in abstract language. Findings of Experiment 2 also showed that this l...
Article
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Four studies demonstrated that perceivers were able to identify the political attitudes of unknown politicians on a left–right dimension when the targets were merely shown in photographs. In Study 1, party membership provided an objective criterion for political attitudes, whereas actual voting behavior served as a validity criterion in Studies 2,...
Article
Full-text available
Repetition has been shown to increase subjective truth ratings of trivia statements. This truth effect can be measured in two ways: (a) as the increase in subjective truth from the first to the second encounter (within-items criterion) and (b) as the difference in truth ratings between repeated and other new statements (between-items criterion). Qu...
Article
The entire discipline of social cognition has been greatly influenced by the heuristics-and-biases research program, which was traditionally based on an internal attribution of bounded rationality to the individual's motives and resource limitations. The cognitive-ecological approach challenges this fundamental attribution bias in the researchers'...
Article
When participants are repeatedly presented with an unfamiliar stimulus, this stimulus is rated as more likable (mere-exposure effect) or more valid (truth effect) as compared with a similar non-repeated stimulus. Both effects have been discussed as effects of fluency. Typical research designs on these effects involve a test phase in which ratings o...
Article
The influence that grandparents have on the life history traits of their descendants has been studied extensively. However, no attention has been paid to the potential influence a grandparent's own reproductive history has on the investment they make in their grandchildren. We use data from 658 Swiss grandchildren and 591 of their grandparents to i...
Article
Full-text available
Although previous research on the mere-exposure effect has shown that unconscious familiarity may play an important role in attitude formation, it is still unclear whether unconscious familiarity is associated with attitudes even when conscious recognition is present. The present research fills this gap. In two experiments, conscious and unconsciou...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has shown that activating a stereotype can influence subsequent behavior in a stereotype-consistent way. The present research investigates the role of self-efficacy beliefs in this effect. Specifically, we demonstrate that being primed with the stereotype of professors increases knowledge confidence compared to being primed with a...
Article
Full-text available
Although previous research on the mere-exposure effect has shown that unconscious familiarity may play an important role in attitude formation, it is still unclear whether unconscious familiarity is associated with attitudes even when conscious recognition is present. The present research lls this gap. In two experiments, conscious and unconscious...
Article
When people are asked to bring forward arguments in favor of or against a position, ease or difficulty of retrieving these arguments can influence subsequent attitude judgments. The present paper argues that the discrepancy between the actual retrieval experience and a previous implicit standard (or expectancy) prompts this effect rather than the a...
Article
The present experiment tested the hypothesis that perceptual fluency affects truth judgments especially when the fluency has changed. Participants were asked to judge the truth of statements that were printed in different colors. Perceptual fluency was manipulated by color contrast. Change versus no change of fluency was manipulated by using preced...
Article
When people are asked to bring forward arguments in favor of or against a position, ease or difculty of retrieving these arguments can inuence subsequent attitude judgments. The present paper argues that the discrepancy between the actual retrieval experience and a previous implicit standard (or expectancy) prompts this effect rather than the absol...
Chapter
The Consumer Domain: An IntroductionHow Consumers Make Product JudgmentsHighlighted Topics in Consumer Information ProcessingWhat Distinguishes the Consumer Domain from Other Social Domains?Distinction 1: Marketing Messages Have Important Implicit EffectsDistinction 2: Marketing Messages Communicate via Non-verbal ChannelsDistinction 3: Product Eva...
Article
Recent theories in social psychology suggest that explicitly measured attitudes are particularly valuable for the prediction of deliberate, controlled behaviour. In contrast, implicitly measured attitudes are assumed to be more important for the prediction of less controlled, more impulsive behaviour. Yet, conclusive evidence for the differential p...
Article
Construal Level Theory (CLT; Trope & Liberman, 2003) proposes that pro-arguments (pros) constitute high-level construals and counter-arguments (cons) low-level construals. Therefore, pros are more salient for distant-future actions than are cons and the reverse holds for near-future actions (Eyal, Liberman, Trope, & Walther, 2004). We further predi...
Article
Full-text available
Implicit measures of attitudes are commonly seen to be primarily capable of predicting spontaneous behavior. However, evidence exists that these measures can also improve the prediction of more deliberate behavior. In a prospective study we tested the hypothesis that Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures of the five major political parties in Ge...
Chapter
Ähnlich wie beim englischen Begriff »brand«, in dem noch der Brauch, Vieh durch Brandzeichen zu kennzeichnen, anklingt, liegt auch die Herkunft des deutschen Begriffs »Marke« in der Kennzeichnung oder Markierung. Schon früh markierten Händler ihre Waren, indem sie Säcke und Kisten stempelten, und Handwerker signierten ihre Werkstücke (vgl. Esch, 20...
Article
The impact of hotel names on the evaluation of the hotels by customers prior to their stay was investigated. In general, hotels were rated higher on attributes consistent with the semantic associations of the name than on inconsistent attributes. This name effect was somewhat reduced - but still strong - when actual feature information was given, w...
Article
In 3 studies, consumers received information about products that had either positive or negative features in common. When they evaluated the products shortly afterward, the common features had little influence on their evaluations, and this was true regardless of whether they had made a preference rating, a similarity rating, or no rating at all be...
Article
Recent theories in social psychology assume that people may have two different attitudes toward an object at the same time—one that is explicit and corresponds with deliberative behavior, and one that is implicit and corresponds with spontaneous behavior. The research presented in this article tested this assumption in the consumer domain with an e...
Article
The article presents the results of a study conducted in order to determine the role of corporate brands in relation to product failure. The authors hypothesize that there is a correlation between the corporate entity's endorsement of a product brand and a consumer's response to it. In order to test this theory, the endorsement of a product brand w...
Article
Full-text available
The authors argue that, based on a biosocial model proposed by Wood and Eagly (2002, Psychological Bulletin), sex differences in reactions to sexual versus emotional infidelity should be mediated via gender-role related traits, whereas based on the assumption of jealousy as a specific innate module (JSIM; Buss, Larsen, Westen and Semmelroth, 1992,...
Article
Context effects on men's and women's reactions to infidelity were studied in a laboratory experiment. University students (71 male, 54 female) were randomly assigned to either a neutral-priming control condition or a condition where AIDS was primed unobtrusively. Then they reported whether emotional or sexual infidelity of their partner would distr...
Article
The basic tenet of the present article is that even though the scientific value of macro-biological (evolutionary or inter-cultural) approaches to social cognition may be questioned, evolutionary analyses may serve the creative function of a theory heuristic that can be used instrumentally to further theoretical explanations and to derive new testa...
Article
Zusammenfassung: Basierend auf dem Inklusions-Exklusionsmodell (Schwarz & Bless, 1992) wurde in einem Experiment der Einfluss einer beruflich erfolgreichen - und damit stereotyp-inkonsistenten Frau - auf die stereotype Beurteilung von Frauen im Allgemeinen untersucht. Das Beispiel einer stereotyp-inkonsistenten Frau reduzierte nur dann die stereoty...
Article
This chapter reviews determinants of the size of assimilation and contrast effects in social judgment.
Book
Attitudes - cognitive representations of our evaluation of ourselves, other people, things, actions, events, ideas - and attitude change have been a central concern in social psychology since the discipline began. People can and do have attitudes on an infinite range of things. But what are attitudes, how do we form them, and how can they be modifi...
Article
Frequency of behaviour is often assessed by scales using relative frequencies such as ‘often’ or ‘rarely’, so-called vague quantifiers. Previous research showed that respondents calibrate such scales according to subjective standards. Here, it is argued that respondents follow conversational norms and if possible try to figure out which calibration...
Article
Four studies, set in the political and marketing domain, investigated how an extreme exemplar influences the evaluation of more moderate exemplars. In Studies 1 to 3, an extremely positive exemplar (star) elicited contrast in the evaluation of more moderate exemplars. However, the contrast effect was eliminated when the shared category membership o...
Article
This article investigates how the activation of a specific exemplar influences the direction and the size of context effects on evaluative judgments about other specific exemplars or about a superordinate category. The activation of an untrustworthy politician decreased judgments of trustworthiness of politicians in general but increased judgments...
Article
This experiment examined the effects of pattern of disconfirming information (concentrated vs. dispersed) and processing instructions (focus on similarities vs. differences vs. control) on stereotype change. If subtyping and perceived typicality are central to the stereotype change process, then processing instructions designed to affect these proc...