LBS logo London experience. World impact.

Search for faculty

Thomas Mussweiler

Professor of Organisational Behaviour


BSc PhD (University of Trier)

Thomas Mussweiler is a professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School. He is an expert on the psychological foundations of organizational behaviour. More specifically, his interests include trust and cooperation, judgment and decision making, negotiation and influence, the self, interpersonal processes and stereotyping. Much of Professor Mussweiler’s research focuses on social comparison processes – he examines how comparing with others changes people’s self-image, their motivation and performance.

Professor Mussweiler is the recipient of a series of prestigious national and international awards, including the European Young Investigator Award and the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Award, and is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences. He has published more than 70 scientific articles in a broad spectrum of the leading journals of his field, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Psychological Review, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Psychological Science, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Making.

Professor Mussweiler has extensive teaching experience at a variety of institutions. In his 20 years of teaching, he has taught decision making, negotiation, organisational behaviour and social psychology to a variety of different audiences.

2017

That certain something! Focusing on similarities reduces judgmental uncertainty

Posten A-C; Mussweiler T

Cognition 2017 Accepted

2016

Immediate relativity : EEG reveals early engagement of comparison in social information processing

Mussweiler T

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 2016 Vol 145:11 p 1512-1529

Anchoring: accessibility as a cause of judgmental assimilation

Strack F; Bahnik S; Mussweiler T

Current Opinion in Psychology 2016 Vol 12 p 67-70

Reflections on comparison : the selective accessibility mechanism

Mussweiler T; Michels C; Weiss A

in R. Deutsch, B. Gawronski, & W. Hoffmann (Eds.), Reflective and impulsive determinants of human behavior. New York: Psychology Press, 2016

Do monkeys compare themselves to others?

Schmitt V; Federspiel I; Eckert J; Keupp S; Tschernek L; Faraut L; Schuster R; Michels C; Sennhenn-Reulen H; Bugnyar T; Mussweiler T; Fischer J

Animal cognition 2016 Vol 19:2 p 417-428

2015

Experimental research examining how people can cope with uncertainty through soft haptic sensations

van Horen F; Mussweiler T

Journal of Visualized Experiments 2015 Vol 103:e53155

2014

How activating cognitive content shapes trust : a subliminal priming study

Posten A.-C; Ockenfels A.; Mussweiler T

Journal of Economic Psychology 2014 Vol 41 p 12-19

How similarity versus dissimilarity focus shapes social information processing

Mussweiler T

In J. W. Sherman, B. Gawronski, & Y. Trope (Eds.), Dual-process theories of the social mind New York: The Guilford Press

Oxytocin increases the likeability of physically formidable men

Chen F S; Mayer J; Mussweiler T; Heinrichs M

Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 2014 Vol 10:6 p 797-800

Brain mechanisms of social comparison and their influence on the reward system

Kedia G; Mussweiler T; Linden D E J

NeuroReport 2014 Vol 25:16 p 1255-1265

Same or different? : how similarity versus dissimilarity focus shapes social information processing

Mussweiler T

in Sherman, J W, Gawronski, B & Y. Trope (Eds.), Dual-process theories of the social mind (pp. 328–339). New York: Guilford Press, 2014

Soft assurance : coping with uncertainty through haptic sensations

van Horen F; Mussweiler T

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2014 Vol 54 p 73-80

The neural correlates of beauty comparison

Kedia G; Mussweiler T; Mullins P; Linden D E

Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 2014 Vol 9:5 p 681-688

2013

Brain networks of social comparison

Kedia G; Lindner M; Mussweiler T; Ihssen N; Linden D E J

NeuroReport 2013 Vol 24:5 p 259-264

Similarity increases altruistic punishment in humans

Mussweiler T; Ockenfels A

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2013 Vol 110:48 p 19318-19323

When distrust frees your mind : the stereotype-reducing effects of distrust

Posten A C; Mussweiler T

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2013 Vol 105:4 p 567-584

2012

The mind is willing but the flesh is weak”: The effects of mind-body dualism on health behavior

Forstmann M; Burgmer P; Mussweiler T

Psychological Science 2012 Vol 23 p 1239-1245

To achieve or not to achieve? Comparative mindsets elicit assimilation and contrast in goal priming

Kedia G; Lindner M; Mussweiler T; Ihssen N; Linden D E J

European Journal of Social Psychology 2012 Vol 42 p 780-788

When people want what others have: The impulsive side of envious desire

Crusius J ; Mussweiler T

Emotion 2012 Vol 12 p 142-153

How sex puts you in gendered shoes: Sexuality- priming leads to gender-based self-perception and behavior

Hundhammer T; Mussweiler T

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2012 Vol 103 p 176-193

Why process matters: A social cognition perspective on economic behavior

Crusius J; van Horen F; Mussweiler T

Journal of Economic Psychology 2012 Vol 33:3 p 677-685

Relatively certain! Comparative thinking reduces uncertainty

Mussweiler T; Posten A-C

Cognition 2012 Vol 122 p 236-240

2011

Breaking the ice: How physical warmth shapes social comparison consequences

Steinmetz J; Mussweiler T

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2011 Vol 47 p 1025-1028

Fast similarities: Efficiency advantages of similarity-focused comparison

Corcoran K; Epstude K; Damisch L; Mussweiler T

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition 2011 Vol 37 p 1280-1286

When focusing on differences leads to similar perspectives

Todd A R; Hanko K; Galinsky A D; Mussweiler T

Psychological Science 2011 Vol 22:1 p 134-141

Suspicious spirits flexible minds: When distrust enhances creativity

Mayer J; Mussweiler T

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2011 Vol 101 p 1262-1277

2010

The cognitive miser's perspective: Social comparison as a heuristic in self-judgements

Corcoran K; Mussweiler T

European Review of Social Psychology 2010 Vol 21 p 78 -113

When I and me are different: Assimilation and self comparison

Hanko K; Crusius J; Mussweiler T

European Journal of Social Psychology 2010 Vol 40 p 160-168

Keep your fingers crossed! How superstition improves performance

Damisch L; Stoberock B; Mussweiler T

Psychological Science 2010 Vol 21 p 1014-1020

2009

A tool for thought! When comparative thinking reduces stereotyping effects

Corcoran K; Hundhammer T; Mussweiler T

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2009 Vol 45 p 1008-1011

Relatively fast! Efficiency advantages of comparative thinking

Mussweiler T; Epstude K

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 2009 Vol 138 p 1-21

Relatively fast! Efficiency advantages of comparative thinking

Mussweiler T; Epstude K

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 2009 Vol 138 p 1-21

Beyond awareness and resources: Evaluative conditioning may be sensitive to processing goals

Corneille O; Yzerbyt V Y; Pleyers G; Mussweiler T

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2009 Vol 45 p 279-282

Comparative thinking styles in group and person perception: One mechanism—many effects

Corcoran K; Mussweiler T

Social and Personality Psychology Compass 2009 Vol 3 p 244-259

The efficiency of social comparisons with routine standards

Corcoran K; Mussweiler T

Social Cognition 2009 Vol 27 p 939-948

To Start Low or To Start High? The Case of Auctions Versus Negotiations

Galinsky A; Ku G; Mussweiler

Current Directions in Psychological Science 2009 Vol 18 p 357-361

2008

Going back to Donald: How comparisons shape judgmental priming effects

Mussweiler T; Damisch L

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2008 Vol 95 p 1295-1315

The neural substrates of person comparison—An fMRI study

Lindner M; Hundhammer T; Ciaramidaro A; Linden D; Mussweiler T

NeuroImage 2008 Vol 40 p 963-971

2007

On apples and oranges: Structure mapping in standard selection

Mussweiler T; Gentner D

Journal of Cognitive Science 2007 Vol 8 p 1-38

2006

Alpha-band activity reflects reduction of mental effort in a comparison task: A source space analysis

Keil A; Mussweiler T; Epstude K

Brain Research 2006 Vol 1121 p 117-127

Der Einfluss des regulatorischen Fokus auf integrative Verhandlungen [How regulatory focus influences integrative negotiations]

Werth L; Mayer J; Mussweiler T

Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie 2006 Vol 37 p 13-18

Olympic medals as fruits of comparison? Assimilation and contrast in sequential performance judgments

Damisch L; Mussweiler T; Plessner H

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 2006 Vol 12 p 166-178

Doing is for thinking! Stereotype activation by stereotypic movements

Mussweiler T

Psychological Science 2006 Vol 17 p 17-21

Playing dice with criminal sentences: The influence of irrelevant anchors on experts judicial decision making

Englich B Mussweiler T; Strack F

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2006 Vol 32 p 188-200

2005

Bonds of friendship—Comparative self-evaluations evoke the use of routine standards

Rüter K; Mussweiler T

Social Cognition 2005 Vol 23 p 137-160

The last word in court: A hidden disadvantage for the defense

Englich B; Mussweiler T; Strack F

Law and Human Behavior 2005 Vol 29 p 705-722

The role of regulatory focus in negotiations: Promoting distributive and integrative success

Galinsky A D; Leonardelli G J; Okhuysen G A; Mussweiler T

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2005 Vol 31 p 1087-1098

Subliminal anchoring: Judgmental consequences and underlying mechanisms

Mussweiler T; Englich B

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 2005 Vol 98 p 133-143

The Euro in the Common European Market: a single currency increases the comparability of prices

Mussweiler T; Strack F

Journal of Economic Psychology 2004 Vol 25:5 p 557-563

The man who wasn't there: Subliminal social comparison standards influence self-evaluation

Mussweiler T; Rüter K; Epstude K

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 2004 Vol 40 p 689-696

The ups and downs of social comparison: Mechanisms of assimilation and contrast

Mussweiler T Rüter K; Epstude K

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2004 Vol 87 p 832-844

2003

"What Goes Up Must Come Down"-How Charts Influence Decisions to Buy and Sell Stocks

Mussweiler T; Schneller K

Journal of Behavioral Finance 2003 Vol 4 p 121-130

“Everything is relative” Comparison processes in social judgment

Mussweiler T

European Journal of Social Psychology 2003 Vol 33 p 719-733

Adapting to the Euro: Evidence from bias reduction

Mussweiler T; Englich B

Journal of Economic Psychology 2003 Vol 24:3 p 285-292

Comparison processes in social judgment : Mechanisms and consequences

Mussweiler T

Psychological Review 2003 Vol 110:3 p 472-489

Comparison processes in social judgment: Mechanisms and consequences

Mussweiler T

Psychological Review 2003 Vol 110 p 472-489

What friends are for! The use of routine standards in social comparison

Mussweiler T; Rüter K

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2003 Vol 85 p 467-481

When egocentrism breeds distinctness: Comparison processes in social prediction

Mussweiler T

Psychological Review 2003 Vol 110 p 581-584

2002

Disconnecting outcomes and evaluations: The role of negotiator focus

Galinsky A D; Mussweiler T; Medvec V H

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2002 Vol 83 p 1131-1140

I know you are but what am I? Self-evaluative consequences of judging ingroup and outgroup members

Mussweiler T; Bodenhausen G V

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2002 Vol 82 p 19-32

The malleability of anchoring effects

Mussweiler T

Experimental Psychology 2002 Vol 49 p 67-72

2001

Considering the impossible: Explaining the effects of implausible anchors

Mussweiler T; Strack F

Social Cognition 2001 Vol 19 p 145-160

“Seek and Ye shall find”: Antecedents of assimilation and contrast in social comparison

Mussweiler T

European Journal of Social Psychology 2001 Vol 31 p 499-509

First offers as anchors : the role of perspective-taking and negotiator focus

Galinsky A D; Mussweiler T

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2001 Vol 81:4 p 657-669

Focus of comparison as a determinant of assimilation versus contrast in social comparison

Mussweiler T

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2001 Vol 27 p 38-47

The durability of anchoring effects

Mussweiler T

European Journal of Social Psychology 2001 Vol 31 p 431-442

The semantics of anchoring

Mussweiler T; Strack F

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 2001 Vol 86 p 234-255

New directions in social comparison research

Buunk A P; Mussweiler T

Journal of Social Psychology 2001 Vol 31 p 1535-1551

2000

The “relative self“: Informational and judgmental consequences of comparative self-evaluation

Mussweiler T; Strack F

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2000 Vol 79 p 23-38

The sex-aggression link: A perception-behavior dissociation

Mussweiler T; Förster J

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2000 Vol 79 p 507-520

The use of category and exemplar knowledge in the solution of anchoring tasks

Mussweiler T; Strack F

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2000 Vol 78 p 1038-1052

Numeric Judgments under Uncertainty: The Role of Knowledge in Anchoring

Mussweiler T; Strack F

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 2000 Vol 36 p 495-518

Overcoming the inevitable anchoring effect: Considering the opposite compensates for selective accessibility

Mussweiler T; Strack F; Pfeiffer T

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2000 Vol 78 p 1038-1052

Shifting social identities as a strategy for deflecting threatening social comparisons

Mussweiler T; Gabriel S; Bodenhausen GV

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2000 Vol 79 p 398-409

Sources of mental contamination: Comparing the effects of self-generated versus externally-provided primes

Mussweiler T Neumann

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2000 Vol 36 p 495-518

1999

Hypothesis-consistent testing and semantic priming in the anchoring paradigm: A selective accessibility model

Mussweiler T Strack F

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1999 Vol 35 p 136-164

Explaining the enigmatic anchoring effect: Mechanisms of selective accessibility

Strack F; Mussweiler T

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1997 Vol 73 p 437-446

Research Awards


  • Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, 2015 - present

  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award, 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 Social Psychology (EASP), 2002

  • Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Award, German Research Foundation (DFG), 2001

  • Career development grant (Emmy Noether), German Research Foundation (DFG), 2000 - 2005

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, German Research Foundation (DFG), 1998 - 2000

  • Fulbright Scholar, 1991 - 1992

Research Interests

  • Trust and cooperation
  • Negotiation and bargaining
  • Judgement and decision making
  • Self and identity
  • Social influence