Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Psychology

Academics

Health Psychology Lab

 

Berg lab

 

The Health Psychology Lab is run by Professor Michael Berg and is currently located in Knapton 301.

Research

Social Perceptions and Health Beliefs

Our lab explores the interaction between social perceptions and health beliefs. In particular, we are interested in learning how stereotypes and prejudice affect people’s health-related attitudes. For example, we have studied how weight bias influences attitudes towards public health policies (such as raising the cost of sugary foods, or charging greater health insurance premiums to obese individuals). We are also interested in how a given social context (such as the age, gender, location, race, or weight of a target individual) influences how a stereotype is applied. These social perception and health belief studies regularly include collaboration with the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, examining how cognitive processes are influenced by social information.

Past Topics

Previous (and occasionally revisited) lab projects have focused on the application of Social Psychology to a variety of health-related behaviors and attitudes. One topic of particular interest has been the mental health correlates and behavioral factors associated with HIV infection. In this research we explored the mental health concerns of HIV-infected individuals and examined the critical role that HIV appointment adherence plays in maintaining health. We have also studied smoking attitudes and behaviors such as perceptions of smoking norms and views towards college smoking policies.

Volunteering in the Health Psychology Lab

Student volunteers are welcome, particularly at the beginning of the academic year. Past student activities have included the design of study materials and survey instruments, literature searches, data collections, and even collaborating on writing up articles for publication. Students with advanced experience in the lab will be encouraged to pursue their own independent research and honors theses.

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