Philipp Schmid

phd candidate, member of PIDI Lab


My work aims at analyzing the impact of messages of science denialism on individual’s health decision-making as well as designing interventions to reduce its influence. Science denialism is an approach that has the ultimate goal of rejecting a proposition on which a scientific consensus exists. In the age of mass media science denialism has multiplied its reach and availability, which threatens the acceptance and life saving use of health-treatments and prevention behavior – e.g. HIV-treatments or vaccines. Deniers use different techniques, such as conspiracy theories or false logic, to promote their messages of science denial. In order to understand the influence of these messages on individuals’ health decision-making I apply an empirical judgment and decision-making perspective. Furthermore, I use literature from the areas of psychology of persuasion and debunking to design and test promising interventions. I aim at generating basic research results, which are applicable for recommendations and guidelines for health authorities. My research in this area mainly focuses on vaccine decision-making and will contribute to the question of how to respond to vaccine deniers.

Other projects and interests:
From 2010 until 2015 I was working as a research assistant in the narrative bias and vaccination project. During that time, I was part of several other projects such as developing a technical report for the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) or designing contents for a new Internet website on vaccination which the PIDI Lab developed for the local government in Thuringia in 2014. Due to my interest in public health and vaccination I completed internships at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, DCE VPI (Vaccine-preventable Diseases & Immunization) and at the Robert Koch Institute, Section 33 (Vaccination & Prevention). In both internships I worked on the question of how to communicate with and respond to vaccine deniers.

Currently I am working in the project “Nudging health-care personnel to increase the uptake of influenza vaccination” in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Ansgar Lohse and Prof. Dr. Marylyn Addo from the Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE; Germany). I also support the work on the development of a crisis-communication reference book for the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization.

Health is not only the general topic of my research interests but an essential aspect of my life. As a karate instructor and president of the debating club at the university of Erfurt I aim at achieving a balance between body and mind in order to preserve my personal health.