Universität Erfurt


Prof. Dr. Cornelia Betsch

DFG Heisenberg-Professor of Health Communication

Universität Erfurt
Philosophische Fakultät
Seminar für Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt

Lehrgebäude 4/Raum 220
Telefon: 0361 / 737 16 31
Sprechstunde: montags, 11-12.00 Uhr

Termin online vereinbaren

E-Mail: cornelia.betsch@uni-erfurt.de

Full CV 



Research interests

  • Social and individual aspects in health and medical decision making
  • psychology and infection control (vaccination decisions, prudent use of antibiotics)
  • Risk perception and communication
  • Evidence-informed health communication

Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world (L. Pasteur)

Read more about my credo here.


Current projects:

  • Reducing negative effects of communicating vaccine safety events – Erkenntnistransfer-Projekt SAFECOMM (DFG)

  • Vaccination as strategic behavior: Vaccine hesitancy (DFG)
  • Vaccination60+: Influenza and pneumococcal vaccination and sepsis prevention (BMBF)
  • Increasing influenza vaccine uptake: Targeting health-care personnel (BMBF)

Please find an outline of all research projects here.

Selected publications

full list of publications

request publication

Publikationen in Hochschulbibliographie anzeigen

Wiysonge, C.S., Cooper, S., Sambala , E.Z. & Betsch, C. (2018). Vaccine hesitancy - a potential threat to the achievements of vaccination programmes in Africa. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics.

Böhm, R., Meier, N., Korn, L. & Betsch, C. (2017). Behavioural consequences of vaccination recommendations: an experimental analysis. Health Economics, 26, 66-75.

Betsch, C. (2017). Advocating for vaccination in a climate of science denial. Nature Microbiology, 2, 17106.

Betsch, C., Böhm, R., Korn, L., & Holtmann, C. (2017). On the benefits of explaining herd immunity in vaccine advocacy. Nature Human Behaviour, doi:10.1038/s41562-017-0056.

Korn, L., Betsch, C., Böhm, R., & Meier, N. (2017). Communicating high vaccine rates of refugees: How the best intentions can lead to harm. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 17, 364–365.

Böhm, R., Betsch, C. & Korn, L. (2016). Selfish-Rational Non-Vaccination: Experimental Evidence from an Interactive Vaccination Game. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 131, 183-195.

Betsch, C., Böhm, R., Airhihenbuwa, C.O., Butler, R., Chapman, G.B., Haase, N., Herrmann, B., Igarashi, T., Kitayama, S., Korn, L., Nurm, Ü.-K., Rohrmann, B., Rothman, A.J., Shavitt, S., Updegraff, J.A., & Uskul, A.K. (2016). Improving medical decision making and health promotion through culture-sensitive health communication – An agenda for science and practice. Medical Decision Making 36, 811-833.

Betsch, C. & Böhm, R. (2016). Detrimental Effects of Introducing Partial Compulsory Vaccination: Experimental Evidence. European Journal of Public Health, 26(3):378-81.

Betsch, C., Korn, L., Holtmann, C. (2015). Don’t try to convert the anti-vaccinators, instead target the fence-sitters. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, PNAS, 112(49): E6725–E6726.

Betsch, C., Haase, N., Renkewitz, F. & Schmid, P. (2015). The narrative bias revisited: What drives the biasing influence of narrative information on risk perceptions? Judgment and Decision Making, 10, 241-264.

Betsch C. (2014). Overcoming healthcare workers’ vaccine refusal – competition between egoism and altruism. Eurosurveillance, 19(48):pii=20979.

Betsch, C., Böhm, R., & Korn, L. (2013). Inviting free-riders or appealing to pro-social behavior? Game theoretical reflections on communicating herd immunity in vaccine advocacy. Health Psychology, 32, 978-85.

Betsch, C., Renkewitz, F. & Haase, N. (2013). Effect of narrative reports about vaccine adverse events and bias-awareness disclaimers on vaccine decisions: A simulation of an online patient social network. Medical Decision Making. doi: 10.1177/0272989X12452342. [Epub 2012 Aug 8].

Betsch, C. & Sachse, K. (2013). Debunking vaccination myths – Strong risk negations can increase perceived vaccination risks. Health Psychology, 32, 145-155.

Betsch, C., Brewer, N.T., Brocard, P., Davies, P., Gaissmaier, W., Haase, N., Leask, J., Renkewitz, F., Renner, B., Reyna, V.F., Rossmann, C., Sachse, K., Schachinger, A. & Siegrist, M. (2012). Opportunities and Challenges of Web 2.0 for Vaccination Decisions. Vaccine, 30, 3727-3733.

Betsch., C. (2011). Innovations in communication: the Internet and the psychology of vaccination decisions. Eurosurveillance, 16(17):pii=19849. Available online

Betsch, C., Ulshöfer, C., Renkewitz, F. & Betsch, T., &  (2011). The influence of narrative vs. statistic information on perceiving vaccination risks. Medical Decision Making, 2011;31(5): 742 – 753.



  • Member of ETAGE (European Technical Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization) 2012-2017. “ETAGE is a body of at least seven immunization experts appointed by the WHO Regional Director for Europe. This group is tasked with providing independent review and expert technical input to WHO/Europe’s Vaccine-preventable Diseases and Immunization programme, with the goal of facilitating and accelerating achievements in relation to the eradication, elimination and control of infectious diseases in the Region” (http://www.euro.who.int).
  • Member of the National Verification Committee for Measles and Rubella Elimination (hosted by the Robert Koch Institute; installed by the German Federal Ministry of Health) since 2012.
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Science Media Center, Köln since 2015.


  • 02/2006 Habilitation, University of Erfurt: “Die Rolle von Risikowahrnehmung und Risikokommunikation bei Präventionsentscheidungen am Beispiel der Impfentscheidung” (The role of risk perception and risk communication in prevention decisions – the example of vaccination decisions); venia legendi: psycholgy
  • 02/2006 PhD (Dr. phil.), University of Heidelberg: “Preference for intuition and deliberation– measurement and consequences of affect- and cognition based decision making” (summa cum laude). Advisor: Prof. Dr. Henning Plessner
  • 12/2002 Diplom in Psychology (Dipl.-Psych.), University of Heidelberg 
  • 10/2002 Diplom thesis: Decision support and post-choice satisfaction 
  • 1998 Abitur (German university entrance diploma), Carl-Benz-Gymnasium Ladenburg 


  • 11/2017-current University of Erfurt, DFG Heisenberg-Professur (W3)
  • 11/2013 - 11/2017 University of Erfurt: promotion to «Akademische Oberrätin auf Zeit» (A14) – senior research fellow until 2017, 100%
  • 12/2008- 2013 University of Erfurt: promotion to «Akademische Rätin auf Zeit» (A13) – research fellow, 100%
  • 2006 - current University of Erfurt: Researcher and Scientific Manager of the Center for Empirical Research in Economics and Behavioral Sciences (CEREB); 100% 
  • 06/2006-06/2007 Maternity and parental leave (Mutterschutz und Elternzeit)
  • 04/2004-07/2004 Maternity leave (Mutterschutz)
  • 01/2003 - 02/2006 University of Heidelberg/University of Mannheim: Researcher (50%) at the Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 504 on concepts of rationality, decision behaviour and economic modeling); Project A 10 (Intuitive and reflective use of behavioral knowledge in decision making) with Prof. Dr. Klaus Fiedler and PD Dr. Henning Plessner.




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