Universität Mannheim / Sowi / LSMWPSY / Mitarbeiter / Prof. Dr. Michaela Wänke


Prof. Dr. Michaela Wänke

Universität Mannheim: Fakultät für Sozialwissenschaften
Lehrstuhl für Konsumentenpsychologie und Ökonomische Psychologie

Parkring 47, Raum 313
68159 Mannheim

Tel.: +49 (0) 621 181 1620

E-Mail: michaela.waenke[ at ]uni-mannheim.de

Termin nach Vereinbarung 

Research Interests

I’m interested in various fields of Social Cognition and the processes that influence judgments and behavior, in particular consumer and political judgments. Selected fields of interest are listed below with some respective publications.


  • Associate Editor Jornal of Economic Psychology

Current Grants

  • German Science Foundation: "Pragmatic Persuasion" (2013 - 2017)

  • EU Horizon 2020: ELECTRIFIC (part of "GV.8-2015. Electric vehicles' enhanced perfomance and integration into transport system and the grid")co PI (PI Sonja Klingert, Universitaet Mannheim) ( 2016 - 2019)

  • FCT (Portugese Science Foundation) "Fighting over Indebtedness" co PI (PI Mario Ferreira, University of Lisbon) ( beginning 2016)

Other activities

  • Member of the scientific advisory board of Decision Context (Heidelberg; consulting firm using behavioral design to promote sustainability)

  • Consulting on market research, advertising & marketing

A selection of publications:

Vogel.T. & Wänke, M. (2016). Attitudes and Attitude Change. 2nd ed. Hove: (UK) Psychology Press.


Wänke, M. (2009). Frontiers in Social Psychology: The Social Psychology of Consumer Behavior. Psychology Press.

Bohner, G. & Wänke, M. (2002). Attitudes and Attitude Change. Hove: (UK) Psychology Press.

Conversational norms & framing

Supported by a grant from the German Science Foundation my current research applies conversational logic to persuasion. The pragmatic persuasion perspective holds that information may become persuasive merely because it is presented as such. When recipients are aware that the information is meant to persuade them they assume it must be potentially persuasive to fulfill conversational norms (e.g. meet the relevance criterion). As a consequence they will interpret the information and make inferences in line with the assumed persuasion goal. Previous research looked at pragmatic aspects in comparison judgments and other survey questions.

Krüger, T., Vogel, T. & Wänke, M. (2016). Framing in consumer Judgment and Decision Making. In C. Jansson-Boyd & M. Zawisza (Eds.) International Handbook of Consumer Psychology. Routledge, New York, S. 379-369, doi:

Reutner, L. & Wänke, M. (2013). For my own benefit or for the benefit of others: Reminders of money moderate the effects of self- vs. other-related persuasive arguments. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 220-223

Wänke, M. & Reutner, L. (2010). Pragmatic Persuasion or the Persuasion Paradox. In J. Forgas, W. Crano & J. Cooper (Eds.) The Psychology of Attittudes & Attitude Change. Psychology Press. S. 183-198

Wänke, M. & Reutner, L. (2010). Direction of Comparison Effects in Consumer Judgment. In G. Keren (Ed.) Perspectives on Framing. Psychology Press. S. 177-194

Wänke, M. (2007).What is said and what is meant: Conversational implicatures in natural conversations, research settings, media and advertising. In K. Fiedler (ed.) Frontiers in Social Psychology: Social Communication. Psychology Press. S. 223-256

Brunner, T. & Wänke, M. (2006). The impact of sharing features with a context stimulus at different stages in the evaluation process. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 16, 101-111.

Wänke, M. (2002). Conversational Norms and the Interpretation of Vague Quantifiers. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 16, 301-307

Wänke, M., Schwarz, N. & Noelle-Neumann, E. (1995). Question wording in comparative judgments: Understanding and manipulating the dynamics of the direction of comparison. Public Opinion Quarterly, 59, 347-372

Wänke, M. (1996). Comparative Judgments as a Function of the Direction of Comparison versus Word Order. Public Opinion Quarterly, 60, 400-409

Strack, F., Schwarz, N. & Wänke, M. (1991). Semantic and pragmatic aspects of context effects in social and psychological research. Social Cognition, 9, 111-125

Fluency & ease of retrieval

My interest in fluency phenomena stems from the beginnings of my academic career. My early work demonstrated that the meta-cognitive feeling of fluency that accompanies the retrieval of information has an impact on how the retrieved information is used. More recent work focused on the role of fluency as a signal. In several papers we show that the effects of fluency are moderated whether the experience deviates from expectation. Beyond ease of retrieval we also looked at perceptual fluency such as the truth effect and the mere exposure effect.

Wänke, M. & Hansen, J. (2015). Relative Processing Fluency. Current directions in Psychological Science, 24, 195-199

Hansen, J. & Wänke, M. (2013) Fluency in context. In. C. Unkelbach & R. Greifeneder (eds) The experience of thinking: How feelings from mental processes influence cognition and behavior. Psychology Press, 70-84

Wänke, M. (2012). Almost everything you always wanted to know about ease of retrieval effects. In C. Unkelbach & R. Greifeneder (eds.) The experience of thinking: How feelings from mental processes influence cognition and behavior. Psychology Press. S.151-169

Dechene, A., Stahl, C., Hansen, J. & Wänke, M. (2010). The Truth About the Truth: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Truth Effect. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14, 238-257

Dechene, A., Stahl, C., Hansen, J. & Wänke, M. (2009). Mix me a list: Context moderates the truth effect and the mere exposure effect. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1117-1112

Hansen, J. & Wänke, M. (2009). Liking what is familiar: The importance of unconscious processes. Social Cognition, 27, 161-182

Hansen, J., Dechene, A. & Wänke, M. (2008). Discrepant fluency increases subjective truth. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 687-691

Hansen, J. & Wänke, M. (2008). It’s the difference that counts: Discrepancy moderates the use of ease of retrieval in attitude judgments. Social Cognition, 26, 447-468

Herzog, S., Hansen, J. & Wänke, M. (2007). Temporal distance and ease of tretrieval. Journal of Experimental Social Psychoogy, 43, 483-488.

Wänke, M., Bohner, G. & Jurkowitsch, A. (1997). There are many reasons to drive a BMW - Surely you know one: Ease of Argument Generation influences Brand Attitudes. Journal of Consumer Research, 24, 70-77

Wänke, M., Bless, H. & Biller, B. (1996). Subjective experience versus content of information in the construction of attitude judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 1105-1115

Wänke, M., Schwarz, N. & Bless, H. (1995). The availability heuristic revisited: Experienced ease of retrieval in mundane frequency estimates. Acta Psychologica, 89, 83-90


Level of Construal

Construal Level Theory (Trope & Lieberman, 2003) provides a broad umbrella for my interests in how people construct judgments. A large part of this research focuses on language use and language reception depending on psychological distance, and also how other factors besides distance affect construal level and thereby the effects of language.

Fiedler, K., Jung, J. Wänke, M., Alexolopoulos, T. & de Molière, L. (2015). Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Ecological Origins of Distance Construal. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 57, 78-86

Hansen, J., Kutzner, F. & Wänke, M (2013). Money and Thinking: Reminders of Money Trigger Abstract Construals and Shape Consumer Judgments. Journal of Consumer Research, 39,1154-1166

Fiedler, K., Jung, J., Wänke, M., Alexopoulos, T. (2012). On the Relations Between Distinct Aspects of Psychological Distance: An Ecological Basis of Construal-Level Theory. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 1014 – 1021

Hansen J. & Wänke M. (2011). The abstractness of luxury. Journal of Economic Psychology, 32, 789-796

Hansen J. & Wänke M. (2010). Truth from language and truth from fit: The impact of linguistic concreteness and level of construal on subjective truth. Personality and Social Psychological Bulletin, 36, 1576-1588

Herzog, S., Hansen, J. & Wänke, M. (2007). Temporal distance and ease of retrieval. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 483–488


Policical Psychology

In a previous paper (2010) we found that perceivers can accurately judge political ideology from faces. The current research focuses (a) on perceiver-variables that determine whether they can read political faces accurately (with Ph.D. candidate Igor Ivanov), and (b) applying preference for faces as an implicit measure of political attitudes.

Ivanov, I., Delmas, F. Muller, D. Wänke, M. (2018). Interpersonal accuracy in a political context is moderated by the extremity of one’s political attitudes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 79, 95-106

Wänke, M. (2015). It's all in the face: facial appearance, political ideology and voters' perceptions. In: J. Forgas, K. Fiedler, W.Crano (eds.) Social Psychology ans Politics. Psychology Press.

Wänke, M., Samochowiec, J. & Landwehr, J. (2012). Facial Politics: Political judgment based on looks. In: J. Forgas, K. Fiedler & C. Sedikides (Eds.) Social thinking and interpersonal behavior. Psychology Press

Samochowiec, J. & Wänke, M. & Fiedler, K. (2010). Political ideology at face value. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 1, 206-213

Wänke, M- & Wyers, R.S. (1996). Individual differences in person memory. The role of socio-political ideology and ingroup vs. outgroup membership on responses to socially relevant behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 742-754


Other recent publications

Roth, Y., Wänke, M., Erev, I. (2016). Click or skip: The Role Of Experience In Easy-Click Checking Decisions. Journal of Consumer Research, 43, 583-597

Schuler, J. & Wänke, M. (2016). A fresh look on money priming: Feeling privileged or not makes a difference. Social Psychological  and Personality Science. 1-8


Reutner, L., Genschow, O. & Wänke, M. (2015). The adaptive eater: Perceived healthiness moderates the effect of the color red on consumption. Food quality and preferences.

Friese, M., Schweizer, Lea., Arnoux, Anaïs, Sutter, F. & Wänke, M. (2014). Personal Prayer counteracts self-control depletion. Consciousness and Cognition, 29, 90-95

Friese, M. & Wänke, M. (2014) Personal prayer buffers self-control depletion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 51, 56-59

Genschow, O., Florack, A., Chib, V. S., Shimojo, S., Scarabis, M., & Wänke, M. (2013). Reaching for the (product) stars: Measuring recognition and approach speed to get insights into consumer choice. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 35, 298-315

Genschow O., Florack, A., & Wänke M. (2013). The power of the movement: Evidence for context-independent movement imitation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142, 763-773

Genschow, O., Reutner, L. & Wänke, M. (2012) The colour red reduces snack food and soft drink intake. Appetite, 58, 699-702


Previous Lines of Research

Categorisation, assimilation & contrast

Walker, M. & Wänke, M. (2017) Caring or daring? Gendered facial appearance matters more than gender category. PLOS One, 12(10). DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2601(10)42006-7

Brunner, T. & Wänke, M. (2006). The impact of sharing features with a context stimulus at different stages in the evaluation process. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 16, 101-111

Wänke, M., Bless, H. & Igou, E. (2001). Next to a star: Paling or shining? Turning inter-exemplar contrast into inter-exemplar assimilation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 14-29

Bless, H., Igou, E., Schwarz, N. & Wänke, M. (2000). Reducing context effects by adding context information: Set-size effects in assimilation and contrast. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1036-1045

Bless, H. & Wänke, M. (2000). Can the same information be typical and atypical? How perceived typicality moderates assimilation and contrast in evaluative judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 306-314

Wänke, M., Bless, H. & Schwarz, N. (1998).Context effects in product line extensions: Context is not destiny. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 299-322

Bodenhausen, G., Schwarz, N., Bless, H. & Wänke, M. (1995). Effects of atypical exemplars on racial beliefs: Enlightened racism or general appraisal. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 31, 48-63.