Carina Wiekens PhD

Carina Wiekens is full professor at Hanze University of Applied Sciences. She specializes in Behavior Change. Carina studied psychology (social, cognitive and clinical psychology) at the University of Groningen and obtained a PhD in social cognitive sciences at the Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research (Tilburg University). After completing her PhD she wrote books and articles on behavior change from a multi-disciplinary approach (psychology, sociology, communication, education, marketing and behavioral economics).

Her research group develops behavior change programs. Researchers apply both quantitative and qualitative research methods to develop en test these programs, e.g. RCTs, social network analyses, observational studies and interviews.

A central theme in her research is that people are social beings. This means that individual behavior cannot be separated from the social context. In fact, sustainable behavioral can only be accomplished by a change in (the perception of) the social context. This means that researchers focus on meaningful social group: neighbors, relatives, classmates or colleagues. Also, the social groups involved should experience ownership of the programs. When these conditions are met, behavior change can be quite contagious!

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