On the trail of Albert Schweitzer: Research trip of the Health Communication Working Group to Gabon
Behavioral research must be reliable and locally and culturally embedded. For many years, psychological research focused primarily on studies from so-called WEIRD societies (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) and yet generalized to people in general. In order to change this biased research practice, international research initiatives are required which focus on people' s behavior, thoughts, and attitudes who have not or hardly been represented in psychological research.
In early October, Prof. Dr. Cornelia Betsch, Dr. Mattis Geiger and Dr. Lars Korn visited the Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL) in Gabon as part of a research trip. CERMEL, one of the leading medical-infectious research institutions in Central Africa, is a long-standing cooperation partner of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), where Cornelia Betsch has been head of the Health Communication working group for the past year. The goal of the trip was to discuss focal research areas and ideas with other research groups at BNITM and CERMEL and to get to know the medical and social and behavioral science research landscape. In addition, intensive working sessions with CERMEL's social science research group, led by Selidji Todagbe Agnandji, MD, were held to discuss the joint replication project as well as further directions.
"During the trip we established valuable partnerships and further internationalized our collaborative work on Planetary Health Behaviour", says Lars Korn, who is leading the project in Betsch's group.
The teams of BNITM and the University of Erfurt will now continue to work together with their African partners on the implementation of the project and will look for further collaborators in the future in order to replicate psychological research in the field of health communication in other contexts.