(funded by the German Research Foundation, DFG)
The main aim of this project is to examine the effects of risk stereotypes and affect on risk perceptions in the domain of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. The project incorporates four new aspects: (1) devising a new method to assess self-related risk perceptions which enable to identify unrealistic optimistic risk perceptions at the individual rather than at the group level; (2) examining the role of stereotypical beliefs about persons high or low at risk (risk stereotypes) for self-related risk perceptions; (3) examining the role of affect for other-related risk perception from a multi-system perspective including established neuroimaging and psychophysiological measures; and (4) assessing the interplay of self-related and other-related risk perceptions. Exploring these issues is considered as relevant towards a better understanding of the knowledge-behavior gap, i.e. the comparable low prevalence of protective behavior despite high knowledge about health risks. In the long run, this research will contribute towards the overarching goal of devising more effective risk interventions called for by the World Health Organization and other health expert institutions.