Barrierefreiheit: Kurzbeschreibung des Bildes


Our research interests lie within the field of social cognition. On the one hand, we examine the effects of processing fluency on social judgments and decisions. On the other hand, we investigate the situational influences on construal level (i.e. the abstraction level of mental representations) as well as its effects on behavior, perception and social judgments. Accordingly, our research program merges aspects of processing fluency and construal level, both of which are important when judgments and decisions are made in a social context.


Processing Fluency


An important research focus is ease of processing in social judgments. Information processing is often accompanied by various subjective experiences that influence social judgments, such as the ease with which information is generated or encoded (fluency). For example, the ease with which one obtains information about oneself influences self-judgments (Schwarz et al., 1991). In our research, we test the main hypothesis that when the experience of cognitive processing deviates from the situational context, it is particularly relevant and informative for social judgments and decisions. This context can be a prior expectation of the ease of processing or the social situation in which the experience takes place. In several studies, we were able to show that the ease of processing can influence e.g. truth or opinion judgments, especially when the fluency deviates from the context. Our current research focuses on the situational conditions and the processes mediating these effects. Two overview publications summarize the state of our research on processing fluency (Hansen & Wänke, 2013, Wänke & Hansen, 2015).


Construal Level


A second area of research refers to the situational determinants and consequences of the construal level, i.e. of the degree of abstraction with which humans mentally represent their subjective reality. In the subjective construction of social reality, the focus can lie on different stimulus features which can vary between situations and individuals. An important dimension is the level of abstraction (construal level). The behavior "playing the piano" can be described as concrete, e.g. "pushing the keys", or as abstract, e.g. "making music". Psychological distance has been identified as an important factor that influences the construal level (Trope & Liberman, 2003, 2010).


Our research examines both determinants and consequences of construal level, as well as its influences on experiences, behavior and social judgments. Regarding determinants, we found that thoughts of money and/or luxury goods cause more abstract representations (Hansen, Kutzner & Wänke, 2013, Hansen & Wänke, 2011). Furthermore, certain musical sounds that appear psychologically remote (for example, reverb effects or novel harmonies) lead to more abstract representations and corresponding effects on product judgments and consumer choices (Hansen, & Melzner, 2014).


 Regarding the consequences of the construal level, we provided evidence that the construal level has an impact on experience, e.g. on the experience of time: time passes subjectively faster when situations are represented in a concrete rather than an abstract way (Hansen & Trope, 2013). Construal level also affects truth judgments: statements formulated on a concrete level are more likely to be perceived as true than those on an abstract level; this effect is moderated by psychological distance and an abstract mindset (Hansen & Wänke, 2010). We also showed that construal level (manipulated through psychological distance) affects the perception of causality: in events that are spatially, temporally, or socially distant, people are more likely to focus on their causes; while in events that are psychologically close, people focus more on their effects (Hansen, Rim & Fiedler, 2013; Rim, Hansen & Trope, 2013).

We have also found that construal level influences behavior: The largest current project (funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF) investigates the influences of psychological distance on the imitation of other persons’ behavior. Here, we were able to show on a broad scale that distance affects the imitation of goals and movements (e.g. gestures), behavioral and emotional mimicry, as well as imitation of consumer behavior. For example, movements are more likely imitated from concretely represented and spatially close models (Hansen, Alves & Trope, in press).


  • News
    On Tuesday, 22 October, 2019, the Salzburg Congress will host the Career Forum, the big job fair of the Salzburger Nachrichten, with a workshop program. For the 13th time, the University of Salzburg has partnered with Salzburg's largest career platform.
    On 22 October, 2019, 17:00 - 20:00, the conference "Erosion of the Rule of Law" takes place in the Europasaal on the Edmundsburg. Democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights are among the pillars of the European order. In recent years, however, these values have come under increasing pressure in some countries.
    At the 122nd Annual Meeting in Paderborn, the Salzburg educational scientist, Sabine Seichter, was elected to the board of the interdisciplinary and international Görres-Gesellschaft.
    "The Paris-Lodron-University Salzburg sincerely congratulates its honorary doctor, Peter Handke, on the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2019", emphasizes Rector Hendrik Lehnert. The University’s bond to the life and work of this important Austrian author is documented on several levels, in particular with the Salzburg Germanists and the Literary Archive, according to Lehnert.
    The battery researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Physics of the Materials of PLUS congratulate and rejoice with the three freshly curated Nobel Laureates John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino!
    On 18 September, 2019, the second round of Karriere_Mentoring III, the career development program for female scientists (PhD and post-doctoral students) of the Universities of Krems, Linz and Salzburg, began.
    History in regional museums, but how? A lecture series in cooperation with the Landesverband der Salzburger Museen und Sammlungen discusses concepts and practice.
    The moon as the brightest night star with its changing shape during the month, its disappearance on new moon or the exceptional event of an eclipse has inspired people of all ages, including Ancient Egypt, to reflect on the causes and effects of these phenomena.
    The Department of Slavonic Studies would like to cordially invite you, together with the cultural center DAS KINO, to the fourth part of our successful cinema series of East and Central European films. The film club "Slawistyka, Slavistika, Cлавистика" presents award-winning current Polish, Russian and Czech films with social and political themes.
    Become an expert in EU politics, law and economics
    Democracy and the rule of law seem to have experienced better times in Europe. The recent developments in many countries point to a dismantling of the rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy.
    On 24.10.2019, the Salzburg Social and Medical Law Days, which were launched in the previous year in cooperation between the Federation of Austrian Social Security Institutions and the Department of Labor and Economic Law of the University of Salzburg, will take place for the second time. The aim of this series of events is the discussion of current social security issues from the perspective of science and practice.
    Dr. Beate Apfelbeck will give a guest lecture on the topic of "Maternal investment strategies of a cooperative breeding forest specialist in degraded cloud forest fragments" at 14:00 on 25 October, 2019, in the Hörsaal 413 of the NW-Faculty. The Department of Life Sciences invites you to attend!
    On the 25th of October, the opening ceremony of the 20th anniversary of the China Centre takes place in the Großen Aula. There will be several performances, including Chinese dance, traditional Chinese acrobatics and Chinese music. All interested parties are invited to participate free of charge.
    The WissensNetzwerk Recht, Wirtschaft und Arbeitswelt der Universität Salzburg has organized a symposium, which will be held the 31st of October, 2019, on income taxation of partnerships (co-entrepreneurship).
    THURSDAY, 21 Nov.: LECTURES (08.30-19:00h) at Wissenschaft & Kunst, Bergstr. 12a, KunstQuartier, Studio 1.OG // FRIDAY, 22 Nov: EXCURSION (08:30-16:00h) Memorial Concentration Camp Ebensee, memorial Mauthausen. Departure: At 08:30, from Unipark Nonntal, Erzabt-Klotz-Straße 1.
  • Veranstaltungen
  • 21.10.19 Dr. Gilles R. Bourret Venia: „Materialwissenschaft“
    22.10.19 Dr. Roland Geisberger Venia: „Molekulare Biologie“
    23.10.19 Praxisdialog im Steuerrecht
    24.10.19 Salzburger Sozial- und Medizinrechtstage "Umsetzung der Neuorganisation der Sozialversicherung"
    24.10.19 Effects of short-wavelength light on non-visual re-sponses: The role of S cones and rods
    24.10.19 Salzburger Museen und Sammlungen - Geschichte vor Ort. Turmmuseum Zell am See. Die Neugestaltung eines Regionalmuseums mit internationalem Publikum
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