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, 11.00-12.00 Uhr

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.

Open Science

I am committed to Open Science and a member of the Erfurt Open Science Initiative. I embrace the values of openness and transparency in science by applying Open Science practices in my research, teaching, support of young researchers and interactions with my institution.

Selected publications

full list of publications

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Publikationen in Hochschulbibliographie anzeigen

Omer, S. B., Betsch, C., & Leask, J. (2019). Mandate vaccination with care. Nature, 571(7766), 469–472. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-02232-0

Schmid, P., & Betsch, C. (2019). Effective strategies for rebutting science denialism in public discussions. Nature Human Behaviour. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0632-4

Betsch, C., Böhm, R., Schmid, P., Korn, L., Steinmeyer, L., Heinemeier, D., Eitze, S. & Küpke, N.K. (2019). Impfverhalten psychologisch erklären, messen und verändern. Bundesgesundheitsblatt, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00103-019-02900-6

Betsch, C., Schmid, P., Heinemeier, D., Korn, L., Holtmann, C., & Böhm, R. (2018). Beyond confidence: Development of a measure assessing the 5C psychological antecedents of vaccination. PLOS ONE, 13(12), e0208601. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208601 Open Data Open Materials

Betsch, C. & Böhm, R. (2018). Explaining herd immunity makes moral values regarding harm and fairness relevant for vaccination decisions. Nature Human Behaviour.

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, 14(10):2355-2357.

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. (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.



  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Science Media Center, Köln, since 2015.
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the GErn Study (Health and nutrition monitoring in Germany), Robert Koch-Institute and Max Rubner-Institute, Berlin, since 2018.
  • Member of the time-limited WHO working group „Data for vaccination acceptance and demand“, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.


  • 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.

Full CV 



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