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Professor Judith Covey


Professor in the Department of Psychology
Deputy Head of Department in the Department of Psychology
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


My main research interest is concerned with how the framing of risks and benefits affects the choices people make about their health and safety. And key to this is understanding how, when, why the mind plays tricks on us in assessing information when it is framed in different ways. For example, people (including health professionals) have been found to perceive a medical treatment as more effective if the benefits are presented in terms of relative risk changes (i.e., 50% reduction in risk) rather than absolute risk changes (i.e., reduce risk from 2 in 1000 to 1 in 1000). And the relative persuasiveness of health promotion messages can depend upon whether they are framed in terms of gains (which emphasize the benefits of engaging in a certain behaviour) or losses (which emphases the consequences of failing to participate in a certain behaviour). Framing effects are also a potential source of bias in stated preference research where the aim is to elicit people’s preferences for health care and safety priority setting. Of particular interest to me are questions about why, as well as how, the values elicited from people can be affected by the framing of the problem and particular valuation technique used.

Research interests

  • evaluating methods for eliciting people's preferences and involving them in the decision making process
  • how people perceive risks and value benefits in decisions affecting their health or safety


Chapter in book

Journal Article

Supervision students