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Dr Judith Covey

Associate Professor

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Associate Professor in the Department of PsychologyRH002 
Fellow of 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

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

Awarded Grants

  • 2015: HIVE: A new evidence base for respiratory Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruption crises(£585963.00 from ELRHA)
  • 2009: The crime costs of a QALY(£2892.47 from Home Office)
  • 2001: VALUATION OF HEALTH & SAFETY BENEFITS:DREAD RISKS(£20400.00 from Health and Safety Executive)
  • 2001: VALUATION OF HEALTH BENEFITS(£10800.00 from DEFRA)
  • 1999: HEALTH BENEFITS REDUCTIONS IN AIR POLLUTION(£12000.00 from Department of Environment, Transport & the Regions)


Chapter in book

  • Branley, D, Covey, J & Hardey, M (2014). Online surveys: Investigating social media use and online risk. In SAGE Research Methods Cases. Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Chilton, S., Covey, J. & Hopkins, L. et al. (2004). Valuing the 'value' of life: A case of constructed preferences? In Mixing Methods in Psychology. The Integration of Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Theory and Practice. Eds.Z. Todd, B. Nerlich, S. McKeown & D. Clark Psychology Press.

Journal Article

Supervision students