dhr. prof. dr. J.A. (Jens) Forster

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Social Psychology
  • Weesperplein  4
    1018 XA  Amsterdam
  • J.A.Forster@uva.nl
    T:  0205256869

Biographical Sketch

Jens Förster attended highschool at Lübbecke/Westfalia , majoring in German and French Literature , Biology , and Religious Sciences. Afterwards he did a civil service at a youth hostel for 2 years , followed by 6 months of factory work in the metal industry. In 1986 he attended Trier University where he obtained a Diploma in Psychology (1992) and his Dr. rer. nat. (1994). His advisor was Fritz Strack. He also studied German Literature , Linguistic Data Processing , and Philosophy in Trier , and Opera and Performing Arts in Saarbrücken and received his "Vordiploma" (≈ BA) in 1991 and 1994. 1996-1998 he spent two years at Columbia University , New York , as a post doc where his advisor was Tory E. Higgins. He also taught at the Newschool for Social Research , New York . In 2000 , he received his habilitation at Würzburg University . Before moving to Amsterdam , he held positions at the Universities of Trier , Würzburg ,and Duisburg and at Jacobs University,formerly known as International UniversityBremen . He is author or co author of more than one hundred book chapters or articles on topics including embodiment , metacognition , stereotypes , social judgments , mood , and self regulation. He serves or has served on a variety of boards of leading journals in social psychology , such as British Journal of Social Psychology , European Journal of Social Psychology , European Review of Social Psychology , Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Sections 1 and 2) , Social Cognition , Social Psychology , and Self and Identity. 2003-2005 he was elected speaker of the German Social Psychology Association. Since 2008 he is the scientific director of the Kurt Lewin Institute. He received severval awards , among others the Heisenberg-Stipend by the German Science Foundation (DFG) , the Thomas-M.-Ostrom-Scholars-in-Residence-Award from Ohio State University, the Charlotte-und-Karl-Bühler-Award from the German Society of Psychology (2010, DGPs), and the Kurt-Lewin-Award from the European Association of Social Psychology (2011, EAESP).   2012, he received together with Laura Dannenberg the Best Social Cogniti on Paper Award 2011 from the International Social Cognition Network for the article:

Förster , J. & Dannenberg , L. (2010).

GLOMO sys : A Systems Account of Global versus Local Processing. Psychological Inquiry , target article , 21 , 175-197 .


Research Interests

Jens Förster is interested in examining basic principles of motivation and information processing and its implications for: stereotypes and prejudice; accessibility of thoughts and goals; approach and avoidance motivation; risk perception and behavior; creative and analytic thinking; self regulation and self control; novelty; time construal; thinking styles; meta cognition; memory; decision making; aggression; consumer behavior; organizational psychology; speed/accuracy tradeoffs. Current research focuses on situational factors influencing creativity; the way novel information is processed; how global versus local processing styles relate to higher order mental processes such as creativity and comparisons; how goals are represented in memory and what makes them different from other mental concepts and processes; when distance to the goal improves motivation , and how bodily feedback influences informationprocessing.

Brief Summaries of Theories and Models

Novelty Categorization Theory

How do people mentally prepare for meeting a new doctor , listening to a new opera or learning about new economic facts? How do people perceive new situations , like moving to a different country or starting a new relationship? What happens if marketers advertise their products as "brand new"? Since cognitive consequences of novelty are under-examined in psychology , we introduced Novelty Categorization Theory (NCT; Förster , Marguc & Gillebaart , 2010). According to NCT , in order to understand novel information , one needs to integrate it into pre-existing knowledge structures. Based on a "motive to know" (Kagan , 1972) , people usually approach novel situations by engaging in global perception (looking at the forest rather than the trees) and broadening mental categories (e.g. , thinking of "people" instead of "students"). Over time , a "when-novel-then-process-globally" routine develops that can be automatically elicited when novelty is encountered (Förster , 2009; Förster , Liberman & Shapira , 2009). Global processing should support performance in tasks that profit from global perception such as creativity tasks , metaphor understanding , and face recognition. As a result , exposing people to novelty , for instance by framing a face recognition task as new , should facilitate performance in these domains. However , not all effects of global processing are desirable. To illustrate , introducing people as new may direct attention away from details , and consequently lead to stereotyping. NCT suggests interventions for these situations. Moreover , in some situations,novelty may be experienced as a threatwhich leads to opposite effects , enhancing local processing. Finally , NCT holds that contextual factorsdetermine whether people perceive events as novel in the first place. Specifically , the use of broad mental categories should reduce perception of an event being novel , whereas usingnarrow categories should increase it. To summarize , we examine across diverse contents and domains whenpeople perceive events as novel , how they process novel events , and how novelty influences peoples' performance and behavior.

Accessibility from Goals

What happens mentally when we pursue goals? What happens when we have attained them? What do we have on top of our minds when we pursue goals and when we realize: we are there? Accessibility is the activation potential of thoughts (what we have on top of our minds) and within the scope of this project , the motivational influences on information accessibility are investigated (see Förster , Liberman & Friedman , 2007; Förster & Liberman , 2007; Liberman & Förster 2005). It is assumed that motivational states - such as needs , goals and intentions - are associated with enhanced accessibility of motivation-related constructs. Such enhanced accessibility is thought to be conducive for effective goal pursuit. It prepares the individual to efficiently detect goal-relevant cues in the environment , which , in turn , supports ultimate goal attainment. Specifically , the following principles are proposed to characterize accessibility of motivation-related constructs: 1) The motivation to achieve a goal enhances the accessibility of goal-relevant constructs. 2) This enhanced accessibility persists until the goal is fulfilled or becomes irrelevant.3) Goal attainment inhibits the accessibility of goal-relevant constructs. 4) Both the accessibility of goal-relevant constructs as well as their inhibition following goal attainment are enhancedby the value of a certain goal and the expectancy of succeeding during goal pursuit.

While the first twoprinciples are well documented and found ample support in the psychological literature , the third principle - the inhibition of goal-relevant constructs after goal-attainment - has received less attention thus far. In accordancewith theories in Cognitive and Social Psychology , as well as in Motivation and Volition Psychology , it issuggested that an enhanced accessibility of goal-relevant constructs is adaptive in terms of effective self-regulation. It helps to detect stimuli in the environment that are instrumental for efficient goal pursuit , and thus increases the likelihood of goal achievement. In contrast to traditional priming-models - which would predict a gradual decline of the accessibility of goal-relevant constructs over time- it is assumed that the goal-relevant constructs are immediately inhibited after goal attainment. In particular , it is assumed that once the respective goal is fulfilled , the accessibility of motivation-related constructs loses its functionality. For example , if you have a goal of finding your glasses , it is little adaptive to be enduringly occupied with glasses and their possible depositories , if thesearched glasses have already been found. The accessibility of former goal-relevant constructs could even potentially interfere with other tasks that the individual faces. In a series of studies , we found consistent confidence for post fulfillment inhibition effects in diverse fields such as for example person perception , behavior control (e.g. for undesirable effects of thought suppression , the post suppressional rebound; Liberman & Förster , 2000; Förster & Liberman , 2001; Denzler , Förster & Liberman , 2010). Recently , we also applied this notion to the    cartharsis-effect in aggression (Denzler , Förster & Liberman , 2009; Denzler,Förster & Liberman ,2010). We findthat under some specific circumstances , aggressive acts inhibit aggressive thoughts. Future research is needed here to get a clear picture when violence triggers more aggression and when it reduces it.    The fourth principle , too , is consistent with a functional view. More specifically , it is believed that a high motivation is associated with the readiness to invest a lot of energyingoal pursuit , and , probably , gives the respective goal a high priority over other goals. We just started to examine these effects in our labs.

Regulatory Focus Theory

Obviously , people have a huge variety of goals , needs , intentions , wishes and concerns. But what are the major systematic differences among them? Regulatory Focus Theory developed by Tory Higgins (1997; for a review see Förster & Werth , 1999) suggests a basic distinction: In a nutshell , goals and desired end states are connected to security or to growth. Whether a goal entails security or growth depends on structure , personality and the situation: if the need for self-realization and to maximize positive events takes control , then attention is focused on reaching ideals and wins. If , instead , the need for security and safety takes precedence , then minimizing of losses becomes of the essence. In the first case people find themselves in a promotion focus , while in the second case they are in a prevention focus.

As a consequence , for people in a promotion or prevention focus the very same event can be perceived in different ways. For example a person with a promotion focus may get married to be safe and protected , whereas a person with a promotion focusmay rather want to experience new things and to share her life with someone. Independent from a person's personality , social events and tasks can also be framed in terms of security (prevention) or growth(promotion). If , for example , friendsandfamily convey the message that a marriage provides shelter and security , one may eventually adopt this point of view , whereas if they encourage the perspectivethat marriage is the romantic start of a wonderful lifetime journey , people may embrace this idea instead.

Our contribution to RFT is the following. We found that people in a promotion focus can be motivated better by giving positive feedback whereas motivation for people in a prevention focus is increased by givingthem negative feedback (Förster , Grant , Idson , & Higgins , 2003). Wefound that an approach motivation is related to a promotion focus whereas an avoidance motivation is related to a prevention focus (Förster , Higgins , & Idson , 1998) , and if people perform a strategy (approach vs. avoidance) that "fits" the respective foci , performance is improved (Förster , et al. 1998). We further found that people in a promotion focus are more creative than people in a prevention focus (Friedman & Förster , 2000; 2001; 2002; 2005; 2008; 2010). This happens among others , because people in a promotion focus broaden their categories and their perception; they focus on the forest rather than the trees (Förster & Higgins , 2005; Förster , Friedman , Özelsel & Denzler , 2006) and a broader scope has been shown to improve creativity (Friedman , Fishbach , Förster , & Werth , 2003) and a search for similarities (Förster , 2009). Furthermore we showed that when in a promotion focus , people are fast but inaccurate , whereas those in a prevention focus are slow and accurate; however , a strong promotion focus can improve even both , fast and accurate behavior at the same time (Förster , Higgins & ,Taylor Bianco , 2003). Finally , we applied RFT to more social domains , such as when people suffer from negative self stereotypes. In research with Beate Seibt (Seibt & Förster , 2004) ,we could show that people exposed to their negative self stereotypes (e.g. ,a woman exposed to the stereotypeof "women cannot do math") are set in a prevention focus and as a result show vigilant , slow , uncreative behavior , whereas people exposed to their positive self stereotypes (e.g. , a womanexposed to the stereotype of "women are good communicators) show eager , fast , and creative behavior. Finally , we related RFT to the consumer's domain showing that promotion focused people prefer luxury objects (e.g. , lipsticks) whereas prevention focused people prefer those related to security (e.g. , condoms , insurances; see Werth &Förster , 2007).


How does our body influence our mind? Does it matter whether we receive feedback while sitting in an upright or in a slumped bodily position? What happens if we suppress a smile , or aggressive tendencies? In my dissertation (see Förster & Strack , 1996) I found that participants who performed a positive behavior (nodding) automatically learned more positive words than negative words , whilefor participants who performed a negative behavior (head shaking) , the opposite was true. In a different experiment , we asked participants to shake their heads or to nod and to learn positive or negative words. In addition they were asked to simultaneously perform an unrelated task testing their finger dexterity. It was shown that participants in compatible conditions (those that nodded in front of positive and those that shook their heads in front of negative information) were better on this additional task than those that did incompatible conditions (those that nodded in front of negative and those that shook their heads in front of positive information). These findings could also be replicated with different body postures (upright and slumped down , see Förster & Stepper , 2000). We further found that participants with positivebodily expressions (arm flexion=is pulling things towards the body) spontaneously recalled more positive individualsthan negative ones , whereas for participants with negative bodily expressions (arm extension = pushing things away from thebody) the opposite was true (Förster & Strack , 1997; 1998). Finally , we found that arm flexion enhanced food intake and evaluations of positive foods , while arm extension reduced food intake and reduced evaluations of negative foods (Förster , 2003; 2004). All in all , these studies show close body-mind associations with positive bodily patterns to be psychologically related to positive information and with negative bodily patterns to be related to negative information.Applications for sports , motivation and health arebeing studied. Currently , we aim for a more theoretical framework to explain these results. Such findings were already discussed within prominent theories of embodiment such as Barsalou's theory (1999).

Contextual Creativity

How can we improve our creative performance? Are there situations in which we naturally aremore creative than in others? How does our mood influence our potential to think creatively? A large and growing number of studies support the notion that creativity is not something that some people have and others don't , but that it changes across situations. For example , research shows that arousing positive emotional states expand , and arousing negative states constrict , the scope of attention on both the perceptual (such as perceiving the forest or the trees) and conceptual levels (such as thinking broadly or creativelyversus thinking narrowly). However , these studies have predominantly involved the manipulation or measurement of conscious emotional experiences (e.g. , subjective feelings of happiness or anxiety).    Within a research project Ron Friedman and I (Friedman & Förster , 2000;2001;2005;2008; Förster , Friedman, Özelsel and Denzler , 2006) raised the question: Do cues that are merely associated with benign versus threatening situations , but that do not elicit conscious positive or negative feelings (i.e. , conscious emotional arousal) ,independently expand or constrict people's attentional scope?    We suggested that rudimentary intero- (such as feelings) and exteroceptive stimuli (such as external information) may indeed become associated with the onset of positive or negative emotional states and/or with appraisals that the environment is benign or threatening and thereby come to moderate the scope of attention in the absence of conscious emotional experience.    Specifically , we posit that implicit"benign situation" cues broaden , and implicit "threatening situation" cues narrow , the range of perceptual and conceptual attentional selection.    An extensive array of research findings involving a diverse set of such implicit affective cues (e.g.,enactment of approach and avoidance behaviors , incidental exposure to colors signaling safety versus danger) is marshaled in support of this proposition. We recently summarized recent findings and developed a   attentional tuning model of creativity (Friedman & Förster , 2008; 2010).


People can look at the forest or they can look at the trees. Whereasthe former involves a global processing style , the latter involves a local processing style. According to prominent views in cognitive psychology , perceptual processing is connected to and determines more high-level cognition. On the basis of such accounts , we developed GLOMO sys (the GLObal versus LOcal processing MOdel a systems account) which suggests that:

Global versus local perceptual processing carries over to other tasks and is related to conceptual processing: In a series of experiments , we asked participants in a first phase of the experiment to either look at "the forest" or "the trees" of a given stimulus set (i.e. , state maps) and then asked them to do a different , allegedly unrelated task that measures more cognitive performances. It could be shown that global perceptual processing enhanced performance in tasks that profit from broadened mental categories , such as when people generate creative solutions (Friedman , Fishbach , Förster & Werth , 2003) , search for similarities (Förster , 2009) , assimilate judgments to given standards (Förster , Liberman & Kuschel , 2008) , include objects and people into given categories (Förster , Denzler & Schimmel , under review) , try to understand metaphors (Förster , unpubl.) , or have to recognizefaces (Förster et al. , unpubl.; Macrae & Lewis , 2002). In contrast , local processing enhanced performance in tasks that profit fromnarrowed mental categories such as when people search for analytic solutions or dissimilarities (Förster , 2009) , contrast themselves to given standards (Förster , Liberman & Kuschel , 2009) , exclude objects or people from a given category (Förster , Denzler & Schimmel , under review) , or have to recognize verbal information (Förster , unpubl.). The experiments speak for a strong link between perception and higher level conceptual processes.

Perceptual and conceptual processing is elicited byrealworld variables: To illustrate , global processing can be triggered by good mood (Gasper , 2004) , right hemisphere activation (Derryberry & Tucker , 1994) , distance (Liberman & Förster , 2009) , love (Förster , 2010; .Förster , Özelsel , & Epstude , 2010; Förster , Epstude and Özelsel , 2009)a promotion focus (Förster & Higgins , 2005) , high power (Smith & Trope , 2004) , and interdependence (Kühnen&Oyserman,2002) , and localprocessing is related to bad mood , left hemisphere activation , proximity , sex, a prevention focus , low power , and independence.

Regulatory focus , psychological distance and novelty are driving effects and the global system (glo-sys) processes novelty , while the local system (lo-sys) processes familiarity: Whenever something is novel , unfamiliar , ambiguous , complex , uncertain , distant , unclear , blurry , vague , abstract or otherwise represents an information-gap , the global processing glo-sys tries to make sense of it by integrating it into superordinate , inclusive knowledge structures. Upon a global understanding , lo-sys , the local processing system takes over , reflecting a global to local sequence. Whenever something is experienced as familiar , clear , close , proximal , or concrete , lo-sys may simply accept this event as "understood" or may search further for informative details that differentiatethis eventfrom others.

Television Appearances (Selection)

Nachtcafé (SWR)

Buten & Binnen (RB)

Hermann & Tietjen (NDR)

Euroland (SWF)

Menschen der Woche (SWF)

Die große Show der Naturwunder (ARD)

Quarks & Co (WDR)

Plasberg persönlich (WDR)

Im Palais (RBB)

Westart (WDR

Publications Jens Förster

 *January 2012*

___2012; in press

Books and Book Chapters

Förster, J. (2012). Unser Autopilot. Wie wir Wünsche verwirklichen und Ziele erreichen können. Von der Motivationspsychologie lernen . München: DVA.

Liberman , N. , & Förster , J. (in press). Goal gradients , expectancy and value. In J. Forgas , & A. Kruglanski (Series Eds.), A. Elliot & H. Aarts (Vol. Eds.) , Frontiers of Social Psychology: Vol. XXX. Goal Directed Behavior (pp. XXX- XXX) . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bullens, L., Förster,  J. ,van Harreveld,  F., & Liberman, N. (in press). Decision conflict. In B. Gawronski & F. Strack (Eds.), C ognitive consistency: A unifying concept in social psychology . Guilford Press.     

Häfner, M., Denzler, M., & Förster, J (in press). Die Wirkung aggressiver (Online-) Computerspiele auf die Verfügbarkeit aggressiver Gedanken. In K. Marx und M. Schwarz-Friesel (Eds.), Sprache und Kommunikation im technischen Zeitalter. Wieviel Technik (v)erträgt unsere Gesellschaft? Berlin: De Gruyter.

Peer Reviewed (accepted papers)

Friedman, R., & Förster, J. (in press). Re-exploring the influence of sad mood on music preference. Media Psychology.

Gervais, S., Vescio, T., Förster, J., Maass, A., & Suitner, C. (in press). Are women's bodies reduced to their sexual body parts? A test of the sexual body part recognition bias hypothesis. European Journal of Social Psychology.

Förster, J. & Jostmann, N. (in press). What is automatic self-regulation? Journal of Psychology.  

Gillebaart , M. , Förster , J. , & Rotteveel , M. (in press). Mere exposure revisited: The influence of growth versus security cues on evaluations of novel and familiar stimuli. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Förster , J. & Becker , D. (in press). When curiosity kills no cat  but mediates the relation between distant future thoughts and global processing across sensory modalities. European Journal of Social Psychology.

Dannenberg , L. , Förster , J. , & Jostmann , N. B. (in press). "If only...": When counterfactual thoughts can reduce illusions of personal authorship. Consciousness and Cognition.

Förster , J. (in press). GLOMO sys : The how and why of global and local processing. Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Marguc , J. , Van Kleef , G.A. , & Förster , J. (in press). Stepping back while staying engaged: When facing an obstacle increases psychological distance. Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Förster , J. , & Denzler , M. (2012). Sense creative! The impact of global and local vision ,hearing , touching , tasting , and smelling on creative and analytic thought. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3 , 108-117.


(Quasi-) solicited papers (all working titles):

Förster , J. ,   & Friedman , R. (in prep .). Detour to arrive: When avoidance means serve approach goals (working title). In Emotion Review , Special Issue on Approach and Avoidance Motivation; guest editors: Andreas Eder , Andrew Elliot , & Eddie Harmon-Jones.

Förster , J. , & Epstude , KK. (under review). Faraway so close. A cognitive procedures model of love and lust. Social and Personality Psychology Compass.

Förster , J. , & Liberman , N. (in prep.). Dual process theories of the social mind , Eds. Jeff Sherman , Bertram Gawronski , & Yaacov Trope.

Denzler , M. , & Förster , J. (under review). A social-cognitive model on catharsis.

European Review of Social Psychology.


Books and Book Chapters

Liberman , N. & Förster , J. (2011). Estimates of spatial distance: A construal level theory perspective. In A. Maass , & T. W. Schubert (Eds) , Spatial dimensions of social cognition (pp. 109-128). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.


Peer Reviewed

Förster , J. , & Nussbaum , M. (2011). Vorsicht unbewusst! Die Wirkung von negativen und positiven Vorurteilen. AKB-Magazin , 33 , 11-12.

Förster , J. , & Denzler , M. (2011). When any Worx looks typical to you: Global relative to local processing increases prototypicality and liking. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 48 , 416-419.

Marguc , J. , Förster , J. , & Van Kleef , G. A. (2011). Stepping back to see the big picture: When obstacles elicit global processing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101 , 883-901.

Denzler , M. , Häfner , M. , & Förster , J. (2011). He just wants to play: How goals determine the influence of violent computer games on aggression.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37


Epstude , K. , & Förster , J. (2011). Seeing love , or seeing lust: How people interpret ambiguous romantic situations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47 , 1017-1020.

Woltin , K.-A. , Corneille , O. , Yzerbyt , V.Y. , & Förster , J. (2011). Narrowing down to open up for other people's concerns: Empathic concern can be enhanced by inducing detailed processing. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47 , 418-424.

Förster J. (2011). Local andglobal cross-modal influences between vision and hearing , tasting , smelling or touching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140 , 364-389.

Bullens , L. , van Harreveld , F. , & Förster , J. (2011). Keeping ones options open: The detrimental consequences of decision reversibility.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47

, 800-805.

Friedman , R. & Förster , J. (2011). Limitations of the motivational intensity model of attentional tuning. Psychological Bulletin, 137 , 513-516 .

Denzler , M. , Markel , P. , & Förster , J. (2011). On the dark and bright sides to vengeance. In-Mind magazine, 12 .


Books and Book Chapters

Förster, J. (2010). Die S ozialpsychologie des Schubladendenkens: Vorurteile, Stereotype und Diskriminierung. In S. Baer, S. Smykalla, K. Hildebrandt (Eds), Schubladen, Schablonen, Shema F. Stereotype als Herausforderung für Gleichstellungspolitik (pp. 23-35) . München, Germany: Kleine-Verlag.

Marguc, J., van Kleef, G., & Förster, J. (2010). Obstacles: Their impact on thinking and beyond thinking (pp. 97-120). New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Peer Reviewed

Kuschel, S., & Förster, J. & Denzler, M. (2010). Going beyond information given: How approach versus avoidance cues influence access to higher order information . Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1 , 4-11.

Förster, J. & Dannenberg, L. (2010). GLOMO sys : A Systems Account of Global versus Local Processing. Psychological Inquiry, target article, 21 , 175-197 .

Förster, J. & Dannenberg, L. (2010). GLOMO sys : Specifications of a global model on processing styles. Psychological Inquiry, reply to the commentaries, 21 , 257-269 .

Förster, J., Marguc, J., & Gillebaart, M. (2010). Novelty Categorization Theory. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4/9 , 736-755 .

Förster, J. (2010). How love and sex can influence recognition of faces and words: A processing model account .   European Journal of Social Psychology, 40 , 524-535.

Förster, J. Özelsel, A., & Epstude, K. (2010). How love and lust change people's perception of partners and relationships. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46 , 237-246.

Mihov, K., Denzler,M. & Förster, J. (2010). Hemispheric specialization and creative thinking: A meta-analytic review of lateralization of creativity. Brain and Cognition, 72, 442-445.

Denzler, M., Förster, J., & Liberman, N. (2010). Aggressive, funny and thirsty: A motivational inference model approach to behavioral rebound. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin .

Friedman, R. & Förster, J. (2010). Implicit affective cues and attentional tuning: An integrative review. Psychological Bulletin, 136 , 875-893 .

Marguc, J., van Kleef G. A., & Förster, J. (2010). Doel, boom, weg: Hoe past alles bij elkaar? De effecten van fysieke obstakels op conceptuele breedte. Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie 2009, pp. 245 - 252. Groningen: ASPO pers.

Dannenberg, L., A., Jostmann, N., B., Förster, J. (2010). Zelfregulatie en illusiore gevoelens van agency (Self-regulation and illusions of agency).  Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie 2009, pp. 65 - 72. Groningen: ASPO pers.

___ 2009

Books and Book Chapters

Förster, J., Liberman, N., & Friedman, R. (2009). What do we prime? On distinguishing between semantic priming, procedural and goal priming. In E. Morsella , J. Bargh, & P. Gollwitzer (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Human Action ( pp. 173- 193). New York: Oxford University Press.

Förster, J., & Denzler, M. (2009). Die Theorie des regulatorischen Fokus [Regulatory focus theory]. In V. Brandstätter, & J. Otto (Hrsg.), Handbuch der Psychologie: Motivation und Emotion (pp. 189-196) . Berlin: Hogrefe.

Förster, J., & Denzler, M., (2009). A social-cognitive perspective on automatic self-regulation: The relevance of goals in the information-processing sequence. In J. Forgas, & A. Kruglanski (Series Eds.), F. Strack & J. Förster (Vol. Eds.), Frontiers of social psychology: Vol. 7. Social cognition (pp. 245-268) . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Förster, J. (2009). The unconscious city: How expectancies about creative milieus influence creative performance.In J. Funke, P. Meusburger, & E. Wunder(Eds.), M ilieus of Creativity (pp. 219-234) . Dordrecht: Springer.

Förster, J., & Werth, L. (2009). Regulatory focus: Classic findings and new directions. In Moskowitz, G., & Grant, H. (Eds.), The Psychology of Goals . (pp. 392-420). New York: Guilford.

Förster, J., & Liberman, N. (2009). Goal gradients: Challenges to a basic principle of motivation. To appear in J. Forgas, R. Baumeister, & D. Tice, The Psychology of Self Regulation . The Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology.

Förster, J. (2009). Wie die Welt über eine schwarze Professorin spricht, die ein schlechtes Gedicht über Obama schrieb. In Beelmann, A., & Jonas, K. (Eds.). Diskriminierung und Toleranz (pp. 13-17) . Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Strack, F., & Förster, J. (2009). Social Cognition. In J. Forgas, & A. Kruglanski (Series Editors), Frontiers of Social Psychology, Vol. 7 . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J. (2009). Relations between perceptual and conceptual scope: How global versus local processing fits a focus on similarity versus dissimilarity. Journal ofExperimental Psychology: General, 138, 88-111.

Förster, J., Liberman, N., & Shapiro, O. (2009). Preparing for novel versus familiar events: Shifts in global and local processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 383-399 .

Förster, J. (2009). Cognitive consequences of novelty and familiarity: How mere exposure influences level of construal. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 444-447.

Denzler, M., Förster, J., & Liberman, N. (2009). How goal-fulfillment decreases aggression. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 45, 90-100.

Liberman, N., & Förster, J. (2009). Distancing from experienced self: How global versus local perception affects estimation of psychological distance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 203-216 .

Förster, J. (2009). Knowing your customer better: The strengths of a self regulatory value approach. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19, 124-128 .

Förster (2009). Opening doors for new research questions: On simulatability. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 1151-1155 .

Liberman, N., & Förster, J. (2009). The effect of psychological distance on perceptual level of construal. Cognitive Science, 33, 1330-1341.

Förster, J., Epstude, K., & Özelsel, A. (2009) . Why love has wings and sex does not: The influence of subconscious reminders of love and sex on creative and analytic thinking. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1479-1491.


___ 2008

Books and Book Chapters

Förster, J., & Friedman, R. (2008). Expression entails anticipation: Towards a self-regulatory model of bodily feedback effects. In G. Semin & E. Smith, Embodied Grounding (pp. 289-307). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press .  

Friedman, R., & Förster, J. (2008). Activation and measurement of motivational states. In A. Elliott (Ed.), Handbook of approach and avoidance motivation (pp. 235-246). Mawah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates .

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J., Liberman, N., & Kuschel, S. (2008). The effect of global versus local processing styles on assimilation versus contrast in social judgment . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94 , 579-599.

Schimmel, K., & Förster, J. (2008). How temporal distance changesnovices' attitudes towards unconventional arts . Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2 , 53-60.

Voelpel, S., Eckhoff, R., & Förster, J. (2008). Group size matters: Bystander effects in virtual knowledge sharing . Human Relations, 61 , 271-295.

Liberman, N., & Förster, J. (2008) . Expectancy, value and psychological distance: A new look at goal gradients. Social Cognition, 26, 515-533 .

___ 2007

Books and Book Chapters

Förster, J. (2007). Approach/avoidance conflict. In K. Vohs & R. Baumeister (Eds.), Encyclopedia of social psychology.

Förster, J. (2007). Kleine Einführung in das Schubladendenken: Über Nutzen und Nachteil des Vorurteils. München: DVA.

Förster, J., & Liberman, N. (2007). Inhibition processes in comparisons. In D.A. Stapel, & J. Suls (Eds.), Assimilation and contrast in social judgemnts (pp. 231-261) . New York: Guilford.

Förster, J., & Liberman, N. (2007). Knowledge activation. A. W. Kruglanski& E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Social Psychology: Handbook of basic principles (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.

Peer Reviewed

Förster,J., Liberman, N., & Friedman, R. (2007). Seven principles of goal activation: A systematic approach to distinguishing goal priming from priming of non-goal constructs . Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11, 211-233 .

Friedman, R., Förster, J., & Denzler, M. (2007). Interactive effects of mood and task framing on creative generation . Creativity Research Journal, 19 , 141-162.

Liberman, N., Förster, J., & Higgins, E.T. (2007). Completed vs. interruped priming: Reduced accessibility from post-fulfillment inhibition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43 , 258-264.

Werth, L., & Förster,J. (2007). How regulatory focus influences consumer behavior . European Journal of Social Psychology, 37, 33-51.

Werth, L., & Förster, J. (2007). Regulatorischer Fokus: Ein Überblick. Z eitschrift für Sozialpsychologie, 38, 33- 42.

Werth, L., & Förster, J. (2007). The effects of regulatory focus on braking speed . Journal of Applied Social Psychology .

___ 2006

Books and Book Chapters

Förster, J., & Denzler, M. (2006). Kreativität[Creativity]. In J. Funke & P. Frensch (Eds.), Handbuch der Psychologie: Allgemeine Psychologie (pp. 446-454). Berlin, Germany: Hogrefe.

Förster,J., & Denzler, M. (2006). Selbst-Regulation [Self-regulation]. In W. Bierhoff & D. Frey (Eds.), Handbuch der Psychologie: Sozialpsychologie (pp. 128-132) . Berlin, Germany: Hogrefe.

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J., Friedman, R., Özelsel, A., & Denzler, M. (2006). Enactment of approach and avoidance behavior influencesthe scope of perceptual and conceptual attention . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 133-146 .

Liberman, N., & Förster, J. (2006). Inferences from decision difficulty . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 290-302 .

Werth, L., Markel, P., & Förster, J. (2006). The role of subjective theories for leadership evaluation . European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 15, 102-127 .

___ 2005

Books and Book Chapters

Liberman, N., & Förster, J. (2005). Motivation and construct accessibility. In Forgas J. P., K. D. Kipling, S. M. Laham (Eds.), Social motivation: Conscious and unconscious processes (Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology) (pp. 228-248). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J., Friedman, R., Butterbach, E.M., & Sassenberg, K. (2005). Automatic effects of deviancy cues on creative cognition . European Journal of Social Psychology, 35, 345-360.

Förster, J., & Higgins, E.T. (2005). How global vs. local processing fits regulatory focus . Psychological Science, 16, 631-636.

Förster, J., Liberman, N., & Higgins, E.T. (2005). Accessibility from active and fulfilled goals . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 220-239.

Förster, J., & Liberman, N. (2004). A motivational model of post-suppressional rebound . European Review of SocialPsychology, 15, 1-32.

Friedman, R., & Förster, J. (2005). Effects of motivational cues on perceptual asymmetry: Implications for creativity and analytical problem solving . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 263-275.

Friedman, R., & Förster, J. (2005). The Influence of Approach and Avoidance Cues on Attentional Flexibility . Motivation and Emotion, 29, 69-81.

Friedman, R., McCarthy, D. M., Förster, J., & Denzler, M. (2005). Automatic effects of alcohol cues on sexual attraction . Addiction, 100, 672-681.

Strack, F., Förster, J., & Werth, L. (2005). "Know thyself!" Idiosyncratic self-knowledge may influence recognition . Journal of Memory and Language, 52, 628-638.

___ 2004

Books and Book Chapters

Förster, J., & Denzler, M. (2004). How to become happy, successful, and creative. A regulatory focus perspective on emotion, cognition and motivation. In F. Hardt (Ed.), Mapping the world. New Perspectives in the Humanities and Social Sciences . (p. 83-98). Tübingen, Germany: Franke-Verlag.

Förster, J., & Liberman, N. (2004). How motivational inferences influence post-suppressional rebound. In S. Shohov (Ed.), Advances in Psychology Research 34 (p. 63-88). New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J. (2004). How body feedback influences consumer's evaluation of products. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14, 415 - 425.

Förster, J., Friedman, R., & Liberman, N. (2004). Temporal construal effects on abstract and concrete thinking: Consequences for insight and creative cognition . Journal of Personality and SocialPsychology, 87, 177-189.

Förster, J., Higgins, E.T., & Werth, L. (2004). How threat from stereotype disconfirmation triggers self-defense . Social Cognition, 22, 54-74.

Seibt, B., & Förster, J. (2004). Stereotype threat and performance: How self-stereotypes influence processing by inducing regulatory foci . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 38 - 56.

___ 2003

Books and Book Chapters

Neumann, R., Förster, J. & Strack, F. (2003). Motor compatibility: The bidirectional link between behavior and evaluation. In J. Musch & K.C. Klauer (Eds.). The psychology of evaluation. Affective processes in cognition and emotion. (p. 371-391). Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J. (2003). The influence of approach and avoidance motor actions on food intake . European Journal of Social Psychology, 33, 339-350

Förster, J., & Friedman, R. (2003). Kontextabhängige Kreativität [Context dependent creativity]. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 211, 149-160.

Förster, J., Higgins, E.T., & Taylor Bianco, A. (2003). Speed/accuracy in task performance: Build-in trade-off or separate strategic concerns? Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 90 (1), 148-164.

Friedman, R., Fishbach, A., Förster, J., & Werth, L. (2003).Attentional priming effects on creativity . Creativity Research Journal, 15, 277-286.

___ 2002

Peer Reviewed

Friedman, R., & Förster, J. (2002). The influence of approach and avoidance motor actions on creative cognition . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 41-55 .

Werth, L., & Förster, J. (2002). Implicit person theories influence memory judgments: The circumstances under which metacognitive knowledge is used . EuropeanJournal of Social Psychology, 32, 353-362.

Werth, L., Strack, F., & Förster, J. (2002). Certainty and uncertainty: The two faces of the hindsight bias . Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 87, 323-341.

___ 2001

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J., Grant, H., Idson, L.C., & Higgins, E.T. (2001). Success/failure feedback, expectancies, and approach/avoidance motivation: How regulatory focus moderates classic relations . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37 (3), 253-260.

Förster, J., & Liberman, N. (2001). The role of attribution of motivation in producing postsuppressional rebound . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 377-390 .

Förster, J., & Werth, L. (2001). Zur Wechselwirkung von Medien und Motorik: Der Einfluss induzierten Annäherungs- und Vermeidungsverhaltens auf die Beurteilung der FDP. [On the interaction between the media and motor behavior: The influence of induced approach and avoidance behavior on the evaluation of the FDP]. Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie, 32, 223-233.

Friedman, R., & Förster, J. (2001). The effects of promotion and prevention cues on creativity . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 1001-1013.

___ 2000

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J., Higgins, E.T., & Strack, F. (2000). When stereotype disconfirmation is personal threat: How prejudice and prevention focus moderates incongruency effects. Social Cognition, 18, 178-197.

Förster, J., & Stepper, S. (2000). Compatibility between approach/ avoidance stimulation and valencedinformation determines residual attention during the process of encoding . European Journal of Social Psychology, 30, 853-871.

Friedman, R., & Förster, J. (2000). The effects of approach and avoidance motor actions on the elements of creative insight . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 477-492.

Liberman, N., & Förster, J. (2000). Expression after suppression: A motivational explanation of post-suppressional rebound . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 190-203.

Mußweiler, T., & Förster, J. (2000). The sex --> aggression link: A perception-behavior dissociation . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 507-520.

Werth, L., Förster, J., & Strack, F. (2000). Vorurteile beeinflussen die Enkodierung stereotypinkonsistenter Informationen [Prejudice influences encoding of stereotype inconsistent information]. Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie,31, 57-69.

___ 1999

Books and Book Chapters

Strack, F., Förster, J., & Werth, L. (1999). "Erkenne Dich selbst!". Einige Überlegungen und Befunde zur Selbsterkenntnis als Methode und Gegenstand psychologischer Forschung ["Know thyself!" Some thoughts and findings concerning self-knowledge as method and subject in psychological research]. In W. Schneider &W. Janke (Eds.), 100 Jahre Würzburger Schule (p. 399-410). Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.

Werth, L., Strack, F., & Förster, J. (1999). Social influence and suggestibility in recognition tasks. In V. DePascalis (Ed.), Social influence and metacognition .

___ 1998

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J. (1998). Der Einfluß motorischer Perzeptionen auf Sympathie-Urteile attraktiver und unattraktiver Portraits [The influence of motor perceptions on likeability judgments of attractive and unattractive portraits]. Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie, 45, 167-182.

Förster, J., Higgins, E.T., &Idson, L.C. (1998). Approach and avoidance strength during goal attainment: Regulatory focus and the "goal looms larger" effect . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1115-1131.

Förster, J., & Strack, F. (1998). Motor actions in retrieval of valenced information: II. Boundary conditions for motor congruency effects. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 86, 1423-1426.

Förster, J. & Strack, F. (1998). Subjective theories about encoding may influence recognition. Social Cognition, 16, 78-92

Strack, F., & Förster, J. (1998). Self-reflection and recognition: The role of metacognitive knowledge in the attribution of recollective experience . Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 111-123.

___ 1997

Peer Reviewed

Förster,J., & Strack, F. (1997). Motor actions in retrieval of valenced information: A motor congruence effect. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 85, 1419-1427.

Mußweiler, T., Förster, J., & Strack, F. (1997). Der Ankereffekt in Abhängigkeit von der Anwendbarkeit ankerkonsistenter Information: Ein Modell selektiver Zugänglichkeit [Anchoring effects and accessibility of anchor-consistent information: A model of selective accessibility]. Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie, 64, 589-615.

Strack, F., Förster, J., & Werth, L. (1997). Selbstreflexion und Wiedererkennung [Self-reflection and recognition]. Sprache und Kognition, 16, 151-158.

___ 1996

Peer Reviewed

Förster, J., & Strack, F. (1996). Influenceof overt head movements on memory for valenced words: A case of conceptual-motor compatibility . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 421-430.

___ 1995

Books and Book Chapters

Förster, J. (1995). Der Einfluß von Ausdrucksverhalten auf das menschliche Gedächtnis: Theoretische Überlegungen und Experimente zu Motor-Kongruenzeffekten . [The influence of expression behavior on human memory: Theoretical accounts and experiments on motor-congruence effects]. Bonn, Germany: Holos.

Peer Reviewed

Strack, F., & Förster, J. (1995). Reporting recollective experiences: Direct access to memory systems? Psychological Science, 6, 352-358.

___ 1994

Books and Book Chapters

Förster, J. (1994). Kann man Zeugen vor Gedächtnisverfälschungen warnen? [Can warnings reduce the misinformation effect?] In S. Sporer und D. Meurer (Eds.), Die Beeinflußbarkeit von Zeugenaussagen . Marburg, Germany: Elwert.










  • L. Bullens, F. van Harreveld & J. Förster (2010). Van ruilen komt huilen: de belastende effecten van omkeerbare beslissingen. Jaarboek sociale psychologie, 2010, 71-78.
  • J. Marguc, G.A. van Kleef & J. Förster (2010). Obstacles: their impact on thinking and beyond thinking. In D.A. Contreras (Ed.), Psychology of thinking (pp. 97-120). New York: Nova Publishers.
  • M. Gillebaart, M. Rotteveel & J. Förster (2010). Maakt bekend altijd bemind? Regulatiefocus en het effect van louter blootstelling. Jaarboek sociale psychologie, 2010, 165-176.


  • J. Förster (2009). Geleitwort: Wie die Welt über eine schwarze Professorin spricht, die ein schlechtes Gedicht für Obama schrieb, oder: Diskriminierung ist mehr als nur ein Forschungsthema. In A. Beelmann & K.J. Jonas (Eds.), Diskriminierung und Toleranz: psychologische Grundlagen und Anwendungsperpektiven (pp. 13-17). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
  • J. Förster & L. Werth (2009). Regulatory focus: classic findings and new directions. In G.B. Moskowitz & H. Grant (Eds.), The psychology of goals (pp. 392-420). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • J. Förster (2009). The unconscious city: how expectancies about creative milieus influence creative performance. In P. Meusburger, J. Funke & E. Wunder (Eds.), Milieus of creativity: an interdisciplinary approach to spatiality of creativity (Knowledge and space, 2) (pp. 219-234). Dordrecht: Springer.
  • J. Förster & M. Denzler (2009). Theorie des regulatorischen Fokus. In V. Brandstätter & J.H. Otto (Eds.), Handbuch der allgemeine Psychologie: Motivation und Emotion (Handbuch der Psychologie, 11) (pp. 189-196). Göttingen: Hogrefe.
  • J. Förster, N. Liberman & R.S. Friedman (2009). What do we prime? On distinguishing between semantic priming, procedural priming, and goal priming. In E. Morsella, J.A Bargh & P.M. Gollwitzer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of human action (Oxford series in social cognition and social neuroscience) (pp. 173-193). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • J. Förster & M. Denzler (2009). A social-cognitive perspective on automatic self-regulation: the releveance of goals in the information-processing sequence. In F. Strack & J. Forster (Eds.), Social cognition: the basis of human interaction (Frontiers of social psychology, 7) (pp. 245-268). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • J. Förster & N. Liberman (2009). Goal gradients: challenges to a basic principle of motivaton. In J.P. Forgas, R.F. Baumeister & D.M. Tice (Eds.), Psychology of self-regulation: cognitive, affective, and motivational processes (Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, 11) (pp. 147-162). New York, NY: Psychology Press.


  • J. Förster & R.S. Friedman (2008). Expression entails anticipation: towardsa self-regulatory model of bodily feedback effects. In G.R. Semin & E.R. Smith (Eds.), Embodied grounding: social, cognitive, affective, and neuroscientific approaches (pp. 289-307). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • R. Friedman & J. Förster (2008). Activation and measurement of motivational states. In A.J. Elliott (Ed.), Handbook of approach and avoidance motivation (pp. 235-248). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


  • J. Förster (2010). De psychologie van de nieuwheid. geen: geen.
  • J. Förster (2010). Die Sozialpsychologie des Schubladendenkens: Vorurteile, Stereotype und Diskriminierung. In S. Baer, S. Smykalla & K. Hildebrandt (Eds.), Schubladen, Schablonen, Schema F: Stereotype als Herausforderung für Gleichstellungspolitik (Gender kompetent, 5) (pp. 23-35). München: Kleine Verlag.


  • J.A. Forster (2010). Charlotte-und-Karl-Bühler-Preis, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie in Bremen, 2010. Charlotte-und-Karl-Bühler-Preis, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie in Bremen, 2010.: Bremen. Recognition.


  • J.A. Förster (Ed.). (2009). Social Cognition.


  • F. Strack & J. Förster (Eds.). (2009). Social cognition: the basis of human interaction (Frontiers of Social Psychology, 7). New York: Psychology Press.
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