Veni Grant for Christin Scholz: Neural processes of social media content on alcohol consumption

Published on July 24 2019 – Young adults are bombarded with contradictory information about alcohol like anti-drinking media campaigns and conversations among peers which are generally pro-alcohol. Christin Scholz received a prestigious NWO Veni grant to research how young adults make decisions about drinking after processing conflicting information about alcohol, using functional neuroimaging and field experiments.

In daily life, people are exposed to a multitude of health-related information, including information promoting health (e.g. public health campaigns that discourage binge drinking), but also information that may encourage unhealthy behavior (e.g. social media posts from peers that glorify drinking). Such conflicting information may hamper the effectiveness of public health campaigns, but so far, we know little about (1) the types of conflicting content that are present in information environments like social media, (2) the effects of being exposed to conflicting content on decision making and behavior, and (3) the mechanisms through which conflicting content affects behavior.

Christin will use recent insights from neuroimaging, digital analytics and communication science to map conflicting alcohol content present on the social media accounts of young adults, understand the neural mechanisms of decision-making after exposure to conflicting content, and study the effects of these processes on alcohol consumption in a field experiment.

The project is entitled ‘When Public Health Campaigns Warn You, but Your Friends Like to Drink – Connecting Psychology, Communication Science, and Neuroscience to Understand Complex Real-Life Health Decisions’

More information about the grant can be found here.