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Project Group 1: Risk Communication

Christina Leuker

The coronavirus pandemic has shown how difficult it is to communicate the facts, risks and uncertainties around health topics effectively and with transparence.

Logo Risk Communication Unit, Source: RKI

Yet, this task is enormously important to avoid uncertainty and to enable a better understanding among different target audiences - be it health professionals, politicians or the general public. In the Risk Communication project group we work with research results and information out of the Robert Koch Institute in order to present them in an appropriate manner to various target groups. To this end, we use methods from empirical cognitive and behavioural sciences, such as the development and testing of various communication formats and media.

Research Topics

The project group’s research can be placed at the interface between psychology and public health. In particular, we focus on risk and uncertainty communication, information needs from health professionals and the public (e.g. concerning long/post COVID), public health misinformation (and how to counteract it), and infodemic management.

Social Media

Twitter: @RKI_fuer_Euch
Instagram: @rki_fuer_euch

Group Members

Dr. Sonia Boender, research associate
John Gubernath, research associate
Dr. Ines Lein, scientific coordinator
Yvonne Daschowski, research associate
Oana Popa-Costea, student assistant
Paula Schneider, student assistant


» Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Potsdam:
Research and development of methods and instruments that enable informed, risk-literate and efficient decisions in an increasingly digitalised everyday life.

» Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development, emeritus group Gigerenzer and
» Center for Adaptive Rationality:
Development of instruments for different areas, e.g. medicine, consumer protection and natural hazards that explain probabilities and uncertainties in a transparent manner to a lay audience.

» Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom:
Research on communication of risks and uncertainty on medical topics.

» University of Erfurt, Health Communication, Prof. Cornelia Betsch and Dr. Mirjam Jenny:
Collaboration in the COSMO project (COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring), which monitors knowledge, risk perception, behavior, and trust of the population during the Corona pandemic and the project Science2Society.

» Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA)
Collaboration on long/post COVID, exploring information needs of physicians and the general population (Unit T2: Infection Prevention, Risk and Crisis Management) and development of communication formats for vaccination decision making (Dr. Freia De Bock).

» CeMAS (Center for Monitoring, Analysis, and Strategy)
Scientific exchange on the topic of misinformation in public health and health care.

We are involved in the WHO Infodemic Management Network.

Date: 11.04.2022


  • Betsch C, Sprengholz P, Siegers R, Eitze S, Korn L, Goldhahn L, Schmitz J, Giesler P, Knauer G, Jenny MA (2021): Unpacking the black box: Empirical evidence to understand the human factor for effective rapid testing against SARS-CoV-2.
    Psyarxiv: Epub Apr 13. doi: 10.31234/ more

  • Rebitschek FG, Ellermann C, Jenny MA et al. (2021): How skeptics could be convinced (not persuaded) to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
    PsyArXiv: Epub Mar 22. doi: 10.31234/ more

  • Jenny MA, Lein I, Jung-Sendzik T et al. (2021): Kommunikationsempfehlungen zur Verbesserung des Verhaltens bei der Verwendung von PoC Antigen-Schnelltests und Selbsttests.
    Epid Bull (20): 3–10. doi: 10.25646/8481 (online vorab 17. Mai 2021). more

  • Loss J, Boklage E, Jordan S, Jenny MA, Weishaar H, El Bcheraoui C (2021): Risikokommunikation bei der Eindämmung der COVID-19-Pandemie: Herausforderungen und Erfolg versprechende Ansätze.
    Bundesgesundheitsblatt – Gesundheitsforschung – Gesundheitsschutz 64 (3): 294-303. Epub Feb 9. doi: 10.1007/s00103-021-03283-3. more

  • Eitze S, Felgendreff L, Korn L, Sprengholz P, Allen J, Jenny MA, Wieler LH et al. (2021): Vertrauen der Bevölkerung in staatliche Institutionen im ersten Halbjahr der Coronapandemie: Erkenntnisse aus dem Projekt COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO).
    Bundesgesundheitsblatt – Gesundheitsforschung – Gesundheitsschutz 64 (3): 268-276. Epub Jan 29. doi: 10.1007/s00103-021-03279-z. more

  • Leuker C, Lein I, Antão EM, von Kleist M, Jenny MA (2020): Corona-Schnelltests – die Prävalenz macht’s!
    ÄrzteZeitung: 17.11.2020. more

  • Leuker C, Hertwig R et al. (2020): Wie informiert sich die Bevölkerung in Deutschland rund um das Coronavirus? Umfrage zu vorherrschenden Themen und Gründen, dem Umgang mit Fehlinformationen, sowie der Risikowahrnehmung und dem Wissen der Bevölkerung rund um das Coronavirus
    Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung, doi: 10.17617/2.3247925. more

  • Leuker C, Samartzidis L, Hertwig R, Pleskac TJ (2020): When money talks: Judging risk and coercion in high-paying clinical trials.
    PLoS ONE 15 (1): e0227898. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227898. more

  • Schirren C, Lein I, Diel F, Jenny MA (2019): Risikokommunikation: Zahlen können Verwirrung stiften.
    Dt. Arztebl. 116 (38): A1642-A1646, A5. more