Welcome to the Psychology and Infectious Diseases Lab (PIDI Lab)!

Psychology and Infectious Diseases Lab


Prof. Dr. Cornelia Betsch and her team work 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, they believe in the necessity to make research findings usable. That’s why this team is also involved in creating online materials for health organizations (such as the Europen Centre for Disease Prevention and Control or the Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung) or in projects with authorities such as the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, 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.

Open Science

PIDI-Lab members are committed to Open Science. We are members of the Erfurt Open Science Initiative.
We embrace the values of openness and transparency in science by applying Open Science practices in our research, teaching, support of young researchers and interactions with our institution.

PIDI-Lab members are members of the Center for Empirical Research in Economics and Behavioral Sciences (CEREB)

Handbook Title Page Picture

Fake News - A look behind the scenes

The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook


Current research projects

COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO)

The aim of this project is to gain insight into the perceptions of the population - the "psychological situation in the pandemic". This should help to align communication measures and reporting in order to offer correct, helpful knowledge to the population and to prevent misinformation and actionism. For example, in the beginning, we tried to classify behavior that was heavily discussed in the media, such as discrimination against people who apparently come from heavily affected countries like China or Italy, or so-called hoarding purchases. We want to find out how often such behavior actually occurs and which factors can possibly explain this behavior.

The results should help authorities, media representatives, but also the population to assess the psychological challenges of the COVID-19 epidemic and, in the best case, to cope with them.

A joint project of University of Erfurt (UE, lead), Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), Leibniz Center for Psychological Information and Documentation (ZPID), Science Media Center (SMC), Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), Yale Institute for Global Health (YIGH).

Access to results: . An update occurs every second Friday at noon.  

Based on this study, a Behavioral Insights Survey Tool for the WHO/Euro Region has been developed.

Keeping the Balance - COSMO Thuringia

The subproject "COSMO Thuringia" collects data in a longitudinal study at three points in time (October 2020, January 2021, March 2021) in order to identify long-term relationships between pandemic and psychology. Other project partners are the Clinic for Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine (KAI) of the University Hospital Jena, the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies e.V. (Leibniz-IPHT) and Blink AG


JITSUVAX is an EU Horizon 2020 funded project coordinated by the University of Bristol working with five other EU institutions as well as one in Canada. The project will run from May 2021 until April 2025. We will develop training procedures, apps and guidance documents that can be used to help healthcare workers fight misinformation around vaccines. These will be shared widely and freely across Europe and beyond using existing healthcare networks.

Finished Projects

SAFECOMM: Reducing negative effects of communicating vaccine safety events

This knowledge transfer project builds on the results of two DFG-projects, which have shown that narrative reports of vaccine-adverse events have a strong distorting effect on the perception of vaccination risks and the vaccination intention. The application partner is the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI). With Frank Renkewitz, University of Erfurt. This project is funded by the DFG. Doctoral student: Lisa Steinmeyer.

Vaccination as strategic behavior: Vaccine hesitancy

In this project with Robert Böhm (RWTH Aachen University) we developed an interactive vaccination game to test the idea that vaccination decisions are also strategic interactions: when it is individually rational not to vaccinate, but collectively necessary to reach elimination goals – which factors make people vaccinate? Which factors invite free-riding? This project was funded by the DFG. Doctoral students: Lars Korn (Erfurt) and Nicolas Meier (Aachen).

vaccination60+: Influenza and pneumococcal vaccination and sepsis prevention

Nudging health-care personnel to increase the uptake of influenza vaccination

In this project with Prof. Ansgar Lohse, Universitätsklinikum Eppendorf, we aimed at analyzing the reasons for vaccine hesitancy in healthcare workers. Furthermore, we designed nudges to increase healthcare workers’ seasonal influenza vaccine-uptake. The project used a combination of laboratory experiments and field experiments to optimize the validity of results and derived practical conclusions for the implementation of nudges in a clinical setting. This project was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) via the DZIF (Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung).

Infektionsschutz und 5C

In collaboration with the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), the results of two representative surveys (2016, 2018) were analyzed on the basis of the 5C model. The results are used in campaign planning.

Professorship for Health Communication (DFG Heisenberg-Professur Gesundheitskommunikation)
(Faculty of Philosophy)
Lehrgebäude 4 / room 220
Office hours
Wednesday 11-12 am only online at
Profile page
Annett Psurek
Sekretariat der Professur für Gesundheitskommunikation
(Seminar für Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft)
Lehrgebäude 4 / Raum 208