As an active coronavirus researcher, Cornelia Betsch has authored numerous publications on this topic and is a leading voice on COVID-19 in the media. In recognition of her outstanding commitment, she has been awarded the German Psychology Prize 2021. In a ceremony at the University of Hildesheim on September 13, 2022, Cornelia Betsch was officially presented with the prize.
The ceremony took place at the 52nd Congress of the German Psychological Society (DGPs, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie). "For me, the award means great recognition of the tireless work of my entire team," said a delighted Prof. Dr. Cornelia Betsch at the award ceremony. "Moreover, I am pleased that psychology has the courage to accept responsibility for the challenges of our modern life together with representatives of other sciences. Humans are at the center of so many crises - understanding our behavior is the most important place to start in changing behavior and enabling a sustainable and healthy future through policy frameworks." Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said ”women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” Betsch believes the same is true of psychology. Indeed, it belongs in all places where the great issues facing our modern world are under discussion. "So we should always ask ourselves how we can make a contribution! In which areas can the psychological perspective be helpful? Our next focus will be on the climate crisis - determining how and when certain measures are accepted in order to understand how to involve people in widespread systemic change."
Prof. Dr. Claudia Dalbert, Director of the Leibniz Institute of Psychology (ZPID), which organized the award of the German Psychology Prize 2021 on behalf of the organizing institutions, presented the award. "The topics of vaccination and pandemics will continue to accompany us in the coming years. In this context, convincing, scientifically based health communication is the be-all and end-all. We are pleased to be able to support Cornelia Betsch and her team in the continuation and expansion of the COSMO study with our infrastructure services.
Due to the pandemic, the award ceremony could not take place in November 2021 as originally planned. And the ceremony planned for early April also had to be canceled due to the pandemic. The scientific presentations that were scheduled as part of the award ceremony on the issue of "Crisis Communication and the Human Factor" were instead held online for the distinguished guests. The contributions can be found on the website of the German Psychology Prize at deutscher-psychologie-preis.de.
The award winner
Cornelia Betsch is a professor at the University of Erfurt. Her research includes health communication and social aspects of health decisions, especially in the context of vaccination and opposition to vaccination. She works together with the Federal Centre for Health Education, the Robert Koch Institute, and the World Health Organization.
From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, Cornelia Betsch has repeatedly surveyed the general public about their knowledge of the virus as well as their perceptions of risk, protective behaviors, and trust in political decisions. The results of the "COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring" - COSMO for short - continue to generate widespread public interest up to the present moment. The study is currently ongoing and is being expanded to include climate protection (pace-studie.de).
The German Psychology Prize
The German Psychology Prize is awarded by the Association of Psychologists (BDP, Berufsverband Deutscher Psychologinnen und Psychologen), the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists (BPtK, Bundespsychotherapeutenkammer), the German Psychological Society (DGPs, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie), and the Leibniz Institute for Psychology (ZPID, Leibniz-Institut für Psychologie) in recognition of outstanding achievements in psychological research characterized by significant social and practical relevance. The prize, endowed with EUR 10,000, is awarded every two years.