Universität Erfurt


Prof. Dr. Cornelia Betsch


Scientific Manager of the Center of Empirical Research in Economics and Behavioral Sciences (CEREB)

Member of the University of Erfurt network GENIA (Gesundheitsforschung | Erfurter Netzwerkfür interdisziplinären Austausch in Forschung, Lehre und Praxis)

Büro: LG4 / 220

Tel.: +49 361 737-1631



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

My group, the Psychology and Infectious Diseases Lab (PIDI Lab), works on understanding principles of health behavior by applying a judgment and decision making and strategic interaction perspective to infectious disease control - especially with regard to the vaccination decision and prudent use of antibiotics. At the same time, I believe in the necessity to make research findings usable. That’s why my team is also involved in creating online materials for health organizations (such as the ECDC) or in projects with authorities such as WHO/Euro or the Thuringian Ministry of Health. This combination of high understanding and high usability of research has been labelled “Pasteur’s Quadrant” (Stroke, 1997). We would like to follow this luminous tradition by striving for both high understanding and high usability to contribute to the attainment of public health goals.


This is the current PIDI Lab team: Marius, Malu, Nora, Philipp, Dorothee, Gianni, Cornelia, Lars, Sarah, Lisa, Cindy, Leonie, Jana, Sophia.

Lab manager


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

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) since 2012. “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 


  • 11/2013 - current 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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