Thesis subject

How are healthy and sustainable decisions influenced by (digital) communication?

Social media and advertising have an important influence on our knowledge, attitudes, and behavior regarding topics such as climate change, sustainable consumption patterns, food consumption, body image, and healthy lifestyles. This thesis topic aims to gain insights into how people are influenced by (digital) communication, and how persuasive communication can empower people to make healthy and sustainable decisions.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • the potential of social media influencers and so-called greenfluencers to promote pro-environmental behavior, and the role of influencers in materialism and consumerism;
  • the persuasive potential of data-driven (i.e., personalized, targeted) advertising in stimulating more sustainable clothing consumption or other pro-environmental behavior;
  • the role of social media and influencers in young adults' acceptance and normalization of cosmetic procedures;
  • the impact of transparency concerning the environmental impact of products on consumption patterns;
    • the proportion of unhealthy vs. healthy food in social media content.

Research methods to studies these topics include (online) experiments, (longitudinal) surveys, (automated and manual) content analysis, interviews and focus groups.

More information about this topic: dr. Sophie Boerman.