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Norbert Schwarz
  Nobert Schwarz

Professor Norbert Schwarz Honored by European and American Psychologists

7/13/2009 --

Behavioral research recognized for trans-Atlantic reach, impact.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Ross marketing professor Norbert Schwarz received the 2009 Wilhelm Wundt-William James Award at the European Congress of Psychology in Oslo, Norway, on July 7. In addition to his appointment at Ross, Schwarz is the Charles Horton Cooley Collegiate Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan and is a research professor in the Institute for Social Research.

The Wundt-James Award, established by the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations and the American Psychological Foundation, recognizes distinguished contributions to the science and profession of psychology and to the promotion of effective cooperation between Europe and North America, demonstrated through a significant record of trans-Atlantic research collaboration.

Much of Schwarz's research focuses on the interplay of feeling and thinking in judgment and decision making, the role of conversational processes in reasoning, and the construction of attitudes and preferences. He has published 18 books (some translated into several languages), as well as more than 150 peer-reviewed articles in top journals of psychology and a similar number of scholarly chapters. He also has contributed to all the major handbooks in social psychology.

"Professor Schwarz is a German psychologist working in the United States and his career is the embodiment of enhancing and consolidating scientific collaboration between European and North American colleagues," according to a statement issued by the Wundt-James selection committee. "His publications attest to his exceptional scholarly contributions. Not only has he been very prolific and influential, but his work spans diverse research areas."

Schwarz presented the Wundt-James Lecture as part of the July 7 awards ceremony. His presentation, titled "When Thinking Feels Difficult: Metacognition in Everyday Life," captured the essence of some of his most recent and intriguing research.

"Thinking can feel easy or difficult," Schwarz says. "The metacognitive experiences of ease and difficulty are informative in their own right and influence important judgments, decisions, and behaviors in everyday life. Most notably, easily processed information appears more familiar; is more likely to be accepted as true; elicits more positive evaluations; and facilitates choice. The interplay between thought content and accompanying metacognitive experience results in many counterintuitive phenomena."

For example, Schwarz’s findings show people infer an exercise routine requires more effort when the print font in which it is described is difficult to read; are more likely to accept misleading claims as true the more often they have been told they are false; infer that a product presents a higher health risk when its name is difficult to pronounce; and are less likely to do something the more reasons they generated for doing it.

"Such findings highlight that we cannot understand judgment and decision making without paying attention to the metacognitive experiences that accompany the thought process," Schwarz says.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847,