Lars Korn

PhD Candidate, Member of PIDI Lab

SOCIAL NORMS AND ASPECTS OF CONFORMITY – A WAY TO PROMOTE VACCINATIONS?

Social norms heavily influence behavior. My research addresses the development and implementation of norms as a health communication strategy in the context of vaccination decisions. Vaccination has become the victim of its own success. Due to high vaccination rates, preventable diseases are rarely in the spotlight of public interest and subjective perceptions of the threat of infectious diseases decrease, which in turn can lead to decisions against vaccinations, lower the vaccination rates and, ironically, fosters the comeback of the disease. This underlines the necessity of effective communication strategies in order to sustain vaccination rates at a high level or increase vaccination rates which are too low. Previous research has examined possible interventions, however, aspects of norms and conformity are rather underrepresented. Although the importance of norms in the context of vaccinations is emphasized, the development of effective communication strategies that include norms have been acknowledged only seldomly. My research intends to fill this gap by transferring principles from norm and conformity research to the field of the vaccination decision. Hence, the final goal is the development of communication strategies that make a significant contribution to the collective goal of controlling and eradicating vaccine-preventable diseases.

Other projects and interests:
Currently, I am involved in the APACI project – vaccine communication using a cultural sensitive approach. Furthermore, I am part of a team, that develops a crisis-communication reference document for the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization.

Moreover, I assisted writing a technical report on measles and rubella elimination for the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control and was a assistant in a project, which re-designed a vaccination information website hosted by the Thuringian government.
My scientific interests are health behavior and health communication. In my sparetime, I enjoy reading books (mostly nonfiction) and listening to a vast variety of music.