Stefan Reiß

Dr. Stefan Reiß, M.Sc.
Senior Scientist

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

Tel.: Tel.: +43 (0) 662 / 8044 – 5117
Fax.: Fax: +43 (0) 662 / 8044 – 5126


  • 2015-2019 PhD (Dr. rer. nat) in Psychology, University of Salzburg
  • 2013-2015 Master of Science in Psychology, University of Salzburg
  • 2010- Bachelor of Science in Psychology, University of Salzburg

Academic Positions:

  • Since 2019 Senior Scientist (FB Psychologie, Universität Salzburg)
  • 2015-2019 PhD in Psychology (FB Psychologie, Universität Salzburg)
  • 2014-2015 Project Assistant and Research Assistant (FB Psychologie, Universität Salzburg)


In my research, I am interested in instantaneous reactions to psychological threat.

When people are confronted with expectancy violation or frustrated needs, an unpleasant state of mind emerges – a state of anxiety in the broadest sense. This state can manifest itself as a sinking feeling in the stomach, as insecurity, but also as nervousness. To better understand these experiences, I investigate emotional, motivational, but also (electro-)physiological and qualitative measures of threat responses.

I am also interested in the question of what unites psychological threats and which aspects of threats are responsible for differences in emotional and motivational states.

In the corona pandemic, these processes play an important role in understanding the emotional and motivational states of people. They can also help us understand why some people support pandemic policies while others take to the streets to demonstrate against governments and decision makers.

In our current research project “On Track – Active Studying by Linking Digital and Social Worlds”, I am responsible for the Community Networking Platform (CoNeP) and the scientific evaluation of our work packages. Among other things, I am concerned with the question of how students can learn to “fail better” and deal with failures constructively. We are also investigating ways to support students online and “in real life” during their studies and thus promote social belonging.

Key publications:

Reiss, S., Leen-Thomele, E., Klackl, J., & Jonas, E. (2021). Exploring the landscape of psychological threat: A cartography of threats and threat responses. Social and Personality Psychology Compass.

Reiss, S., Franchina, V., Jutzi, C., Willardt, R., & Jonas, E. (2020). From Anxiety to Action – Experience of Threat, Emotional States, Reactance and Action Preferences in the Early Days of COVID-19 Self-Isolation in Germany and Austria. PLoS ONE, 15, 1–15.

Reiss, S., Klackl, J., Proulx, T., & Jonas, E. (2019). Strength of socio-political attitudes moderates electrophysiological responses to perceptual anomalies. PLoS ONE, 14(8), e0220732.

Reiss, S., & Jonas. E. (2019). The cycle of intergroup conflict: Terror management in the face of terrorism and war. In C. Routledge & M. Vess (Eds.), Handbook of Terror Management. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.

Reiss, S., Prentice, L., Schulte-Cloos, C., & Jonas, E. (2019). Organisationaler Wandel als Bedrohung – von impliziter Angst zur Annäherung durch prozedurale Gerechtigkeit [Organizational change as threat – from implicit anxiety to approach through procedural justice]. Gruppe. Interaktion. Organisation. Zeitschrift Für Angewandte Organisationspsychologie (GIO).