My research

aims at analyzing the impact of messages of science denialism on individuals’ 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 lifesaving 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 debunking, inoculation and rebuttal to design and test promising interventions. I aim at generating basic research results, which are applicable for recommendations and guidelines for health authorities.

Translating research into guidance

Featured press coverage

TV Interview – Deutsche Welle [German]

TV Interview – Tagesthemen [German]
Podcast – European Skeptics [English]

Podcast – Ärzte Zeitung [German]


You can contact me via social media, email or telephone. My social media links are provided above (next to the profile picture). Links to my Researchgate and Orcid profiles are provided below.

Phone: +49 361 737-1635
Email: Please click here to Email me directly
Researchgate: My ResearchGate Profile
Orcid ID: My Orcid Profile

Featured publication

Schmid, P., Schwarzer, M., & Betsch, C. (2020). Weight-of-Evidence Strategies to Mitigate the Influence of Messages of Science Denialism in Public Discussions. Journal of Cognition, 3(1), 36.

Upcoming next talk

Schmid, P. (upcoming). How to respond to vocal vaccine deniers in public. WHO Regional Office for Europe webinar series – Communication considerations for COVID-19 vaccine introduction, Copenhagen (Denmark and online).

Research interests

Psychology and health decision-making
Misinformation, Disinformation
Debunking, Inoculation, Rebuttal
Science denialism
Risk perception
Vaccine hesitancy

Ad hoc reviewer

Nature Human Behaviour
Medical Decision Making (MDM)
Social Science & Medicine
Environmental Psychology
American Journal of Public Health
Journal of Cognitive Psychology

Curriculum vitae

A full CV can be downloaded here. The most updated lists of publications and talks are presented on this homepage.


University of Erfurt Profile
Center of Empirical Research in Economics and Behavioral Sciences CEREB
Media and Communication Science – Psychology and Infectious Diseases Lab PIDI
Member of the University of Erfurt network GENIA

Current position

Interim lecturer for statistics and methods at the Department of Psychology University of Erfurt