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Lauren Howe

Lauren Howe

Lauren Howe

About

My research focuses on enhancing outcomes in sensitive situations involving political communication and healthcare. Bringing together perspectives from psychology, political science, communication, and public health, I explore the influence that threats to the self have on political and health-related decision-making. In one line of work, I examine why people reject information that clashes with their personal beliefs in the political domain. We find that people distrust polls indicating that most Americans disagree with their views and are currently exploring what causes and limits this distrust. In a second line of work, I examine how physician health can induce the fear of being rejected in healthcare contexts. We find that physicians who appear to be the “picture of health” threaten judgment to overweight and obese individuals, and exposing physicians’ bad habits diminishes fear of judgment. We hope to develop strategies for effective communication in these situations that translate into real-world impacts.