Christina Mühlberger

Mag. Dr. Christina Mühlberger (formerly Steindl)
Senior Scientist

Department of Psychology, Division of Social Psychology
Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

Tel.: +43 (0) 662 / 8044 – 5108
Fax.: +43 (0) 662 / 8044 – 5126

Consultation hour: by agreement


  • 2010-2016 PhD at the Department of Psychology at the University of Salzburg (PhD programme DK+ „Imaging the Mind“)
  • 2004-2009 Psychology studies at the University of Salzburg

Academc positions:

  • Since 2017 Postdoc, Department of Social Psychology, University of Salzburg
  • 10/2016-02/2017 Postdoc, FWF-Project „From anxiety to approach“, Department of Social Psychology, University of Salzburg
  • 10/2014-01/2015 Research stay at University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • 10/2012-09/2016 Research assistant, Department of Social Psychology, University of Salzburg


Using different experimental methods (laboratory experiments, surveys, neuroscientific measurements), I study how people cope with different types of discrepancies. I focus on discrepancies that are present when people face threats to their psychological needs (e.g., being threatened in one’s own freedom). Currently, my main focus is on examining consultations such as coaching, training, or mentoring that are used when people face discrepancies between a current and a future goal state and that help them meet important psychological needs. Considering self-regulatory and motivational processes (regulatory focus, approach and avoidance motivation), I aim to gain insights into how counseling sessions should be designed to be effective for different clients in different situations.

Key publications:

  • Mühlberger C., Böhm, A. M., Hansen, J., Behrendt, P., Wastian, M., & Jonas, E. (in press). Coaching as a growth- or security-oriented process – How regulatory fit increases coaching success. Plos One.
  • Behrendt, P.*, Mühlberger, C.*, Göritz, A. S., & Jonas, E. (2021). Relationship, purpose, and change – An integrative model of coach behavior. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 73(2), 103-121. (*shared first-authorship)
  • Mühlberger, C., Böhm, A., & Jonas, E. (2021). Motivationale Passung im Coaching. In C. Rauen (Hrsg.), Handbuch Coaching (4. Aufl., S.327-346). Göttingen: Hogrefe.
  • Mühlberger, C., Klackl, J., Sittenthaler, S., & Jonas, E. (2020). The approach-motivational nature of reactance – Evidence from asymmetrical frontal cortical activation. Motivation Science, 6(3), 203-220.
  • Mühlberger, C., Angus, D., Jonas, E., Harmon-Jones, C., & Harmon-Jones, E. (2017). Perceived control increases the reward positivity and stimulus preceding negativity. Psychophysiology, 54, 310-322.
  • Steindl, C., Jonas, E., Sittenthaler, S., Traut-Mattausch, E., & Greenberg, J. (2015). Understanding psychological reactance: New developments and findings. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 223, 205-214. doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000222