[Translate to English:] Kunst auf der La Biennale di Venezia 2021

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

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.

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Featured news

05/2022: Annual Report for JitsuVAX

JitsuVAX publishes its first annual report


02/2022: Conversation cards on vaccinations

JitsuVAX team develops conversation cards for the dialogue on COVID-19 vaccinations together with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)


02/2020: New tool for WHO/Europe

WHO/Europe and COSMO team develop new tool for behavioural insights for the COVID-19 response


Current projects

COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO)


Health Games

Replications of interventions

Behavioral insights have been recognized as being key for successful and cost-effective interventions. Recent movements in disciplines that produce behavioral insights – such as psychology and economics – have unmasked that oftentimes findings fail to replicate in other labs. Little is known about the effects in the field. This project aims to conduct replications of interventions on health-related topics (e.g. vaccine hesitancy, hand hygiene) across different settings to elucidate potential moderating sociocultural effects. Additionally, it aims to incentivise and support researchers in non-WEIRD settings to replicate the findings in their settings. This will be pursued through collaborations between existing working groups at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and their established networks. With these potential insights and data, better targeted health research and interventions could be designed.

Matching experts' and the public's assessments of climate change

Protecting our planet’s and our own health is the single most important challenge of the next decades. The responsibility to act lies on societal, political and individual levels. Measures to address and adapt to the climate crisis need to be centered around the cause and only potential fighters of climate change – people. To this end, we need to better understand what people think about climate change, which facts they know and which measures they approve of. Through semi-structured interviews, elicit expert assessments from climate science, physics, medicine, meteorology, sociology, psychology, behavioral economics, communications, journalism, NGOs, and government organizations. We ask experts about effective climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, the public’s climate change knowledge, as well as support of mitigation and adaptation measures. In subsequent representative surveys, we match the experts’ assessments with what people know about climate change, which mitigation and adaptation measures they approve of and what kind of support they expect from the government.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is among the biggest threats to global health. Despite growing efforts to tackle this problem, global antibiotic overuse fosters the development of AMR. Behavioral insights from psychological studies help to understand and possibly change problematic use and prescription behavior, but measurement instruments to capture related constructs that adhere to psychometric quality standards are missing. With this project, we aim at filling this information gap by developing psychological measures to assess AMR-related knowledge, attitudes, and decision making that overcome psychometric limitations of earlier instruments. The new measures will allow the assessment of individual factors related to AMR, will be published as open source material, and can be used in a wide range of contexts both in research and practice across countries. Furthermore, when the new measurement instruments are available, we will employ them to investigate causes and effects of antibiotics overuse and test interventions to counter this problem, in both the global north and the global south.

Completed 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.

Duration: 02/2017 - 01/2020
Doctoral student: Lisa Felgendreff (née Steinmeyer).

Vaccination as strategic behavior: Vaccine hesitancy

vaccination60+: Influenza and pneumococcal vaccination and sepsis prevention

In this joint project with the Robert Koch Institute, the Universitätsklinikum Jena and Lindgrün GmbH we created and evaluated an evidence informed intervention to address vaccine hesitancy regarding influenza and pneumococcal vaccination in the elderly. We draw upon the 4C model of vaccine hesitance (Betsch, Böhm & Chapman, 2015) and evaluated the intervention in terms of (a) knowledge and intentions, vaccine uptake and in a cost effectiveness study for the model region of Thuringia. Funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). More info here: impfen60plus

Doctoral students: Dorothee Heinemeier, Sarah Eitze, Philipp Schmid (psychology), Winja Weber, Anne Reinhardt (communications), Nora Küpke (lab manager).

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.


Open Science Badges Stacked

Staff members of the Chair of Health Communication are committed to Open Science. We are members of the Erfurt Open Science Initiative (EFOSI)
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.

Some staff members of the Chair of Health Communication are members of the Center for Empirical Research in Economics and Behavioral Sciences (CEREB)