Social influence in health decision making

Current project leader: Caterina Suitner 

Description: When we make decisions pertaining to our health, our rational reasoning is challenged by several socio-cognitive processes that shape our choices about the goods and bads, above and beyond scientifically informed advice. The project aims to explore the various mechanisms through which social influence operates, including informational, normative, and emotional influences. By understanding how social influence affects health decisions, interventions can be developed to promote healthier choices and improve public health outcomes. The issue is studied from several angles, examining various sources of influence (e.g., stereotypic expectations, the source of a message, how it is presented in terms of word order or false balance effects), as well as several decision-making domains (vaccination, diet, physical activity). Identifying the mechanisms through which social influence operates in health-related choices is critical to developing evidence-based interventions to leverage positive social influence and mitigate negative influences in health decision-making.

Representative Publications:

  • Suitner, C., Salvador Casara, B. G., Maggi, S., & Baldo, V. (2022). An Independent Study to Compare Compliance, Attitudes, Knowledge, and Sources of Knowledge about Pneumococcal Vaccinations among an Italian Sample of Older Adults. Vaccines, 10(4), 490.
  • Salvador Casara, B. G., Suitner, C., & Bettinsoli, M. L. (2019). Viral suspicions: Vaccine hesitancy in the Web 2.0. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 25(3), 354–371. 
  • Timeo, S., & Suitner, C. (2018). Eating meat makes you sexy: Conformity to dietary gender norms and attractiveness. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 19(3), 418–429.