Prof. Dr. Thomas Mussweiler

Since November 1st, 2016:
Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the London Business School, UK

Phone  +44 20 7000 8905
E-mail  tmussweiler(at)
Address London Business School, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4SA, UK
Office hours  by appointment

Research interests

Social cognition
Judgment and decision making
Comparison processes
The self
Social comparison
Behavioral economics and economic cognition

Awards and distinctions

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, German Research Foundation (DFG), 2006
European Young Investigator Award (EURYI), European Science Foundation (ESF), 2004
Charlotte and Karl Bühler Award, German Psychological Association (DGPs), 2004
Jos Jaspars Award, European Association of Experimental Social Psychology (EAESP), 2002
Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, German Research Foundation (DFG), 2001
Career Development Grant (Emmy Noether Programme), German Research Foundation (DFG), 2000-2005
Postdoctoral Fellowship, German Research Foundation (DFG), 1998-2000


  • Mussweiler, T., Michels, C., & Weiss, A. (in press). Reflections on comparison: The selective accessibility mechanism. In R. Deutsch, B. Gawronski, & W. Hofmann (Eds.), Reflective and impulsive determinants of human behavior. New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Ihssen, N., Mussweiler, T., & Linden, D. E. J. (2016). Observing others stay or switch – How social prediction errors are integrated into reward reversal learning. Cognition, 153, 19–32. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2016.04.012
  • Schmitt, V., Federspiel, I. G., Eckert, J., Keupp, S., Tschernek, L., Faraut, L., Schuster, R., Michels, C., Sennhenn-Reulen, H., Bugnyar, T., Mussweiler, T., & Fischer, J. (2016). Do monkeys compare themselves to others? Animal Cognition, 19, 417-428. doi:10.1007/s10071-015-0943-4
  • Strack, F., Bahník, Š., & Mussweiler, T. (2016). Anchoring: Accessibility as a cause of judgmental assimilation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 12, 67–70. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.06.005
  • Chen, F. S., Mayer, J., Mussweiler, T., & Heinrichs, M. (2015). Oxytocin increases the likeability of physically formidable men. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10, 797–800. doi:10.1093/scan/nsu116
  • Kedia, G., Mussweiler, T., & Linden, D. E. J. (2014). Brain mechanisms of social comparison and their influence on the reward system. NeuroReport, 25, 1255–1265. doi:10.1097/WNR.0000000000000255
  • Kedia, G., Mussweiler, T., Mullins, P., & Linden, D. E. J. (2014). The neural correlates of beauty comparison. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9, 681–688. doi:10.1093/scan/nst026
  • Mussweiler, T. (2014). Same or different? How similarity versus dissimilarity focus shapes social information processing. In J. W. Sherman, B. Gawronski, & Y. Trope (Eds.), Dual-process theories of the social mind (pp. 328–339). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
  • Posten, A.-C., Ockenfels, A., & Mussweiler, T. (2014). How activating cognitive content shapes trust: A subliminal priming study. Journal of Economic Psychology, 41, 12–19. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2013.04.002
  • van Horen, F., & Mussweiler, T. (2014). Soft assurance: Coping with uncertainty through haptic sensations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 54, 73–80. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2014.04.008
  • Crusius, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2013). Untangling envy. The feeling can help us even when it hurts. Scientific American Mind, 24, 35–37.  [pdf]
  • Kedia, G., Lindner, M., Mussweiler, T., Ihssen, N., & Linden, D. E. J. (2013). Brain networks of social comparison: NeuroReport, 24, 259–264. doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e32835f2069
  • Mussweiler, T., & Ockenfels, A. (2013). Similarity increases altruistic punishment in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 19318–19323. doi:10.1073/pnas.1215443110
  • Posten, A.-C., & Mussweiler, T. (2013). When distrust frees your mind: The stereotype-reducing effects of distrust. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 567–584. doi:10.1037/a0033170
  • Crusius, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2012). Des einen Freud, des anderen ... Gehirn&Geist, 10, 18–23.  [pdf]
  • Crusius, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2012). Social comparison in negotiation. In G. E. Bolton & R. T. A. Croson (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of economic conflict resolution (pp. 120–137). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  [pdf]
  • Crusius, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2012). To achieve or not to achieve? Comparative mindsets elicit assimilation and contrast in goal priming. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 780–788. doi:10.1002/ejsp.873  [pdf]
  • Crusius, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2012). When people want what others have: The impulsive side of envious desire. Emotion, 12, 142–153. doi:10.1037/a0023523  [pdf]
  • Crusius, J., van Horen, F., & Mussweiler, T. (2012). Why process matters: A social cognition perspective on economic behavior. Journal of Economic Psychology, 33, 677–685. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2011.09.004  [pdf]
  • Forstmann, M., Burgmer, P., & Mussweiler, T. (2012). “The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak”: The effects of mind-body dualism on health behavior. Psychological Science, 23, 1239–1245. doi:10.1177/0956797612442392
  • Hundhammer, T., & Mussweiler, T. (2012). How sex puts you in gendered shoes: Sexuality-priming leads to gender-based self-perception and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 176–193. doi:10.1037/a0028121
  • Mussweiler, T., & Posten, A.-C. (2012). Relatively certain! Comparative thinking reduces uncertainty. Cognition, 122, 236–240. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2011.10.005
  • Mussweiler, T., Todd, A. R., & Crusius, J. (2012). The cognitive underpinnings of social behavior: Selectivity in social cognition. In P. Hammerstein & J. R. Stevens (Eds.), Strüngmann Forum Reports: Vol. 11. Evolution and the mechanisms of decision making (pp. 275–286). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.  [pdf]
  • Corcoran, K., Crusius, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2011). Social comparison: Motives, standards, and mechanisms. In D. Chadee (Ed.), Theories in social psychology (pp. 119–139). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.  [pdf]
  • Corcoran, K., Epstude, K., Damisch, L., & Mussweiler, T. (2011). Fast similarities: Efficiency advantages of similarity-focused comparison. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37, 1280–1286. doi:10.1037/a0023922
  • Corcoran, K., & Mussweiler, T. (2011). Der wichtige Andere: Soziale Vergleichsprozesse und relative Deprivation. In D. Frey & H.-W. Bierhoff (Eds.), Sozialpsychologie - Interaktion und Gruppe (pp. 19–39). Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.
  • Mayer, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2011). Suspicious spirits, flexible minds: When distrust enhances creativity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1262–1277. doi:10.1037/a0024407
  • Mussweiler, T., & Mayer, J. (2011). Comparing upward and speeding up: Motivational consequences of nonsocial comparison for speed-accuracy trade-offs. Psychological Science, 22, 718–723. doi:10.1177/0956797611407209
  • Steinmetz, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2011). Breaking the ice: How physical warmth shapes social comparison consequences. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 1025–1028. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2011.03.022
  • Todd, A. R., Hanko, K., Galinsky, A. D., & Mussweiler, T. (2011). When focusing on differences leads to similar perspectives. Psychological Science, 22, 134–141. doi:10.1177/0956797610392929
  • Corcoran, K., & Mussweiler, T. (2010). The cognitive miser’s perspective: Social comparison as a heuristic in self-judgements. European Review of Social Psychology, 21, 78–113. doi:10.1080/10463283.2010.508674
  • Damisch, L., Stoberock, B., & Mussweiler, T. (2010). Keep your fingers crossed! How superstition improves performance. Psychological Science, 21, 1014–1020. doi:10.1177/0956797610372631
  • Hanko, K., Crusius, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2010). When I and me are different: Assimilation and contrast in temporal self-comparisons. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 160–168. doi:10.1002/ejsp.625  [pdf]
  • Corcoran, K., Hundhammer, T., & Mussweiler, T. (2009). A tool for thought! When comparative thinking reduces stereotyping effects. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1008–1011. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2009.04.015
  • Corcoran, K., & Mussweiler, T. (2009). Comparative thinking styles in group and person perception: One mechanism—many effects. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3, 244–259. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2009.00173.x
  • Corcoran, K., & Mussweiler, T. (2009). The efficiency of social comparisons with routine standards. Social Cognition, 27, 939–948. doi:10.1521/soco.2009.27.6.939
  • Corneille, O., Yzerbyt, V. Y., Pleyers, G., & Mussweiler, T. (2009). Beyond awareness and resources: Evaluative conditioning may be sensitive to processing goals. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 279–282. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2008.08.020
  • Damisch, L., & Mussweiler, T. (2009). On the relativity of athletic performance: A comparison perspective on performance judgments in sports. In M. Raab, J. G. Johnson, & H. R. Heekeren (Eds.), Progress in Brain Research: Vol. 174. Mind and motion: The bidirectional link between thought and action (pp. 13–24). New York, NY: Elsevier.
  • Epstude, K., & Mussweiler, T. (2009). What you feel is how you compare: How comparisons influence the social induction of affect. Emotion, 9, 1–14. doi:10.1037/a0014148
  • Galinsky, A. D., Ku, G., & Mussweiler, T. (2009). To start low or to start high? The case of auctions versus negotiations. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 357–361. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2009.01667.x
  • Mussweiler, T. (2009). Comparison. In F. Strack & J. Förster (Eds.), Social cognition: The basis of human interaction (pp. 139–156). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Mussweiler, T., & Epstude, K. (2009). Relatively fast! Efficiency advantages of comparative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 1–21. doi:10.1037/a0014374
  • Lindner, M., Hundhammer, T., Ciaramidaro, A., Linden, D. E. J., & Mussweiler, T. (2008). The neural substrates of person comparison - An fMRI study. NeuroImage, 40, 963–971. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.12.022
  • Mussweiler, T., & Damisch, L. (2008). Going back to Donald: How comparisons shape judgmental priming effects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1295–1315. doi:10.1037/a0013261
  • Mussweiler, T. (2007). Assimilation and contrast as comparison effects: A selective accessibility model. In D. A. Stapel & J. Suls (Eds.), Assimilation and contrast in social psychology (pp. 165–185). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Mussweiler, T., & Gentner, D. (2007). On apples and oranges: Structural alignment in the selection of social comparison standards. Journal of Cognitive Science, 8, 1–38.
  • Damisch, L., Mussweiler, T., & Plessner, H. (2006). Olympic medals as fruits of comparison? Assimilation and contrast in sequential performance judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 12, 166–178. doi:10.1037/1076-898X.12.3.166
  • Englich, B., Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (2006). Playing dice with criminal sentences: The influence of irrelevant anchors on experts’ judicial decision making. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 188–200. doi:10.1177/0146167205282152
  • Keil, A., Mussweiler, T., & Epstude, K. (2006). Alpha-band activity reflects reduction of mental effort in a comparison task: A source space analysis. Brain Research, 1121, 117–127. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2006.08.118
  • Mussweiler, T. (2006). Doing is for thinking! Stereotype activation by stereotypic movements. Psychological Science, 17, 17–21. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01659.x
  • Mussweiler, T. (2006). Sozialer Vergleich. In H.-W. Bierhoff & D. Frey (Eds.), Handbuch der Psychologie: Band III. Handbuch der Sozialpsychologie und Kommunikationspsychologie (pp. 103–112). Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.
  • Mussweiler, T., Rüter, K., & Epstude, K. (2006). The why, who, and how of social comparison: A social-cognition perspective. In S. Guimonde (Ed.), Social comparison and social psychology: Understanding cognition, intergroup relations, and culture (pp. 33–54). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Werth, L., Mayer, J., & Mussweiler, T. (2006). Der Einfluss des regulatorischen Fokus auf integrative Verhandlungen [How regulatory focus influences integrative negotiations]. Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie, 37, 19–25. doi:10.1024/0044-3514.37.1.19
  • Englich, B., Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (2005). The last word in court - A hidden disadvantage for the defense. Law and Human Behavior, 29, 705–722. doi:10.1007/s10979-005-8380-7
  • Galinsky, A. D., Leonardelli, G. J., Okhuysen, G. A., & Mussweiler, T. (2005). Regulatory focus at the bargaining table: Promoting distributive and integrative success. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1087–1098. doi:10.1177/0146167205276429
  • Mussweiler, T., & Englich, B. (2005). Subliminal anchoring: Judgmental consequences and underlying mechanisms. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 98, 133–143. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2004.12.002
  • Mussweiler, T., Epstude, K., & Rüter, K. (2005). The knife that cuts both ways: Comparison processes in social perception. In M. D. Alicke, D. A. Dunning, & J. I. Krueger (Eds.), The self in social judgment (pp. 109–130). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Rüter, K., & Mussweiler, T. (2005). Bonds of friendship: Comparative self-evaluations evoke the use of routine standards. Social Cognition, 23, 137–160. doi:10.1521/soco.
  • Mussweiler, T., & Englich, B. (2004). Sicherheit im Umgang mit dem Euro - Evidenz für eine schnelle Gewöhnung an die neue Währung. [Certainty in dealing with the Euro: Evidence for a rapid adaption to the new currency]. Wirtschaftspsychologie, 4, 66–70.
  • Mussweiler, T., Englich, B., & Strack, F. (2004). Anchoring effect. In R. Pohl (Ed.), Cognitive illusions: A handbook of fallacies and biases in thinking, judgement, and memory (pp. 183–200). London, UK: Psychology Press.
  • Mussweiler, T., Rüter, K., & Epstude, K. (2004). The man who wasn't there: Subliminal social comparison standards influence self-evaluation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 689–696. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2004.01.004
  • Mussweiler, T., Rüter, K., & Epstude, K. (2004). The ups and downs of social comparison: Mechanisms of assimilation and contrast. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 832–844. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.87.6.832
  • Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (2004). The Euro in the common European market: A single currency increases the comparability of prices. Journal of Economic Psychology, 255, 557–563. doi:10.1016/S0167-4870(03)00074-6
  • Mussweiler, T. (2003). Comparison processes in social judgment: Mechanisms and consequences. Psychological Review, 110, 472–489. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.110.3.472
  • Mussweiler, T. (2003). “Everything is relative”: Comparison processes in social judgment. European Journal of Social Psychology, 33, 719–733. doi:10.1002/ejsp.169
  • Mussweiler, T. (2003). When egocentrism breeds distinctness - Comparison processes in social prediction: Comment on Karniol (2003). Psychological Review, 110, 581–584. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.110.3.581
  • Mussweiler, T., & Englich, B. (2003). Adapting to the Euro: Evidence from bias reduction. Journal of Economic Psychology, 24, 285–292. doi:10.1016/S0167-4870(03)00015-1
  • Mussweiler, T., & Rüter, K. (2003). What friends are for! The use of routine standards in social comparison. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 467–481. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.467
  • Mussweiler, T., & Schneller, K. (2003). “What goes up must come down” - How charts influence decisions to buy and sell stocks. Journal of Behavioral Finance, 4, 121–130. doi:10.1207/S15427579JPFM0403_2
  • Schneller, K., & Mussweiler, T. (2003). Preise haben kein Gedächtnis! Und Investoren? Zum Einfluss von Höchst- und Tiefstständen im Kursverlauf auf Investitionsentscheidungen von Aktienanlegern. [Prices have no memory! And investors? On the influence of highs and lows in charts on investing decisions]. Wirtschaftspsychologie, 5, 24–30.
  • Strack, F., & Mussweiler, T. (2003). Heuristic strategies for estimation under uncertainty: The enigmatic case of anchoring. In G. V. Bodenhausen & A. J. Lambert (Eds.), Foundations of Social Cognition: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert S. Wyer, Jr. (pp. 79–95). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Galinsky, A. D., Mussweiler, T., & Medvec, V. H. (2002). Disconnecting outcomes and evaluations: The role of negotiator focus. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1131–1140. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.83.5.1131
  • Mussweiler, T. (2002). The malleability of anchoring effects. Experimental Psychology, 49, 67–72. doi:10.1027//1618-3169.49.1.67
  • Mussweiler, T., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2002). I know you are, but what am I? Self-evaluative consequences of judging in-group and out-group members. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 19–32. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.82.1.19
  • Mussweiler, T., & Galinsky, A. D. (2002). Strategien der Verhandlungsführung: Der Einfluss des ersten Gebotes. [Strategies of negotiation: The impact of the first offer]. Wirtschaftspsychologie, 4, 21–27.
  • Bodenhausen, G. V., Mussweiler, T., Gabriel, S., & Moreno, K. N. (2001). Affective influences on stereotyping and intergroup relations. In J. P. Forgas (Ed.), Handbook of affect and social cognition (pp. 319–343). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
  • Buunk, B. P., & Mussweiler, T. (2001). New directions in social comparison research. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31, 467–475. doi:10.1002/ejsp.77
  • Englich, B., & Mussweiler, T. (2001). Sentencing under uncertainty: Anchoring effects in the courtroom. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31, 1535–1551. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2001.tb02687.x
  • Galinsky, A. D., & Mussweiler, T. (2001). First offers as anchors: The role of perspective-taking and negotiator focus. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 657–669. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.81.4.657
  • Mussweiler, T. (2001). Focus of comparison as a determinant of assimilation versus contrast in social comparison. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 38–47. doi:10.1177/0146167201271004
  • Mussweiler, T. (2001). “Seek and ye shall find”: Antecedents of assimilation and contrast in social comparison. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31, 499–509. doi:10.1002/ejsp.75
  • Mussweiler, T. (2001). The durability of anchoring effects. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31, 431–442. doi:10.1002/ejsp.52
  • Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (2001). Considering the impossible: Explaining the effects of implausible anchors. Social Cognition, 19, 145–160. doi:10.1521/soco.
  • Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (2001). The semantics of anchoring. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 86, 234–255. doi:10.1006/obhd.2001.2954
  • Strack, F., & Mussweiler, T. (2001). Resisting influence: Judgmental correction and its goals. In J. P. Forgas & K. D. Williams (Eds.), Social influence: Direct and indirect processes (pp. 199–212). Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
  • Mussweiler, T., & Förster, J. (2000). The sex ? aggression link: A perception-behavior dissociation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 507–520. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.79.4.507
  • Mussweiler, T., Gabriel, S., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2000). Shifting social identities as a strategy for deflecting threatening social comparisons. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 398–409. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.79.3.398
  • Mussweiler, T., & Neumann, R. (2000). Sources of mental contamination: Comparing the effects of self-generated versus externally provided primes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 36, 194–206. doi:10.1006/jesp.1999.1415
  • Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (2000). Consequences of social comparison: Selective accessibility, assimilation, and contrast. In J. Suls & L. Wheeler (Eds.), Handbook of social comparison: Theory and research (pp. 253–270). New York, NY: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (2000). Numeric judgments under uncertainty: The role of knowledge in anchoring. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 36, 495–518. doi:10.1006/jesp.1999.1414
  • Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (2000). The “relative self”: Informational and judgmental consequences of comparative self-evaluation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 23–38. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.79.1.23
  • Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (2000). The use of category and exemplar knowledge in the solution of anchoring tasks. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 1038–1052. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.78.6.1038
  • Mussweiler, T., Strack, F., & Pfeiffer, T. (2000). Overcoming the inevitable anchoring effect: Considering the opposite compensates for selective accessibility. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1142–1150. doi:10.1177/01461672002611010
  • Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (1999). Comparing is believing: A selective accessibility model of judgmental anchoring. In W. Stroebe & M. Hewstone (Eds.), European Review of Social Psychology (Vol. 10, pp. 135–167). Chichester, UK: Wiley.
  • Mussweiler, T., & Strack, F. (1999). Hypothesis-consistent testing and semantic priming in the anchoring paradigm: A selective accessibility model. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 136–164. doi:10.1006/jesp.1998.1364
  • Mussweiler, T., Förster, J., & Strack, F. (1997). Der Ankereffekt in Abhängigkeit von der Anwendbarkeit ankerkonsistenter Information: Ein Modell selektiver Zugänglichkeit. [The anchoring effect and the applicability of anchor-consistent information: A selective accessibility modell]. Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie, 44, 589–615.
  • Strack, F., & Mussweiler, T. (1997). Explaining the enigmatic anchoring effect: Mechanisms of selective accessibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 437–446. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.73.3.437

Sample media coverage

Radio interview with Thomas Mussweiler in DRadio Wissen (in German): Vergleiche - Wir können es nicht lassen [Comparisons - We just can't help it]

April 22, 2015