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Professorship of Public Health Nutrition – Junior Professor Laura M. König

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Eating is an ordinary but highly complex behaviour that may seriously impact health and well-being. The aims of our research are to understand the determinants of human eating behaviour, its physical and psychological consequences, and ultimately to develop effective interventions that can be applied at a population level.

To achieve these aims we employ a range of methods and study designs. We are currently establishing a Behaviour Research Facility at Campus Kulmbach. We also collaborate with researchers from various fields. If you would like to join the team or collaborate please get in touch.

Research areas

Influences of the physical environment (choice architecture/ “nudging”)Hide

Interventions targeting the environment in which food choices are made can be implemented in many public areas, e.g., supermarkets, canteens, to change human eating behaviour at a population level. However, research is still scarce on the effectivity of these interventions and their underlying psychological mechanisms. We investigate these questions using a combination of laboratory and field studies.

Example publications:

  • Kosīte, D., König, L. M., De-Loyde, K., Lee, I., Pechey, E., Clarke, N., Maynard, O., Morris, R., Munafò, M., Marteau, T. M., & Hollands, G. J. (2019). Plate size and food consumption: a pre-registered experimental study in a general population sample. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 16, 75. doi: doi.org/10.1186/s12966-019-0826-1
  • König, L. M., Giese, H., Schupp, H., & Renner, B. (2016). The environment makes a difference: The impact of explicit and implicit attitudes as precursors in different food choice tasks. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(1301). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01301
Digital health promotionHide

Digital interventions such as health apps or wearables have the potential to reach a large number of people because smartphone ownership is common. However, use rates of digital interventions are currently low. We explore which factors hinder or promote the uptake of these interventions, and develop new interventions to reach a larger number of people.

Example publications:

  • König, L. M., & Renner, B. (2019). Boosting healthy food choices by meal colour variety: Results from two experiments and a just-in-time Ecological Momentary Intervention. BMC Public Health, 19, 975. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-7306-z
  • König, L. M., Sproesser, G., Schupp, H. T., & Renner, B. (2018). Describing the Process of Adopting Nutrition and Fitness Apps: Behavior Stage Model Approach. JMIR mHealth & uHealth, 6(3), e55. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.8261

Current projects:

  • To use or not to use? Motivations and barriers to using digital technologies for health promotion (with Christiane Attig, M.Sc., Chemnitz University of Technology). Project page on the Open Science Framework. Funded by the German Psychological Association.
  • Is there a digital divide? A systematic review of mobile interventions for diet, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour (with Dorothy Szinay, M.Sc., UAE; Dr. Heide Busse, Leibniz-Institute of Prevention Research and Epidemiology; Dr. Ann DeSmet, Université Libre de Bruxelles; Dr. Dynthia C Forbes, University of Hull; Dr. Eline S. Smit, University of Amsterdam). Pre-registration on PROSPERO.
  • Synthesizing evidence on a digital divide in mobile interventions targeting weight-related behaviours: A systematic review of observational studies (with Dorothy Szinay, M.Sc., UAE; Dr. Heide Busse, Leibniz-Institute of Prevention Research and Epidemiology; Dr. Ann DeSmet, Université Libre de Bruxelles; Dr. Dynthia C Forbes, University of Hull; Dr. Eline S. Smit, University of Amsterdam). Funded by the European Health Psychology Society.
Digital measurement of behaviourHide

Digital technologies (e.g., apps, activity trackers) have become popular in research to collect behavioural data in real life and in real-time. However, little is currently known about data quality especially regarding digital dietary assessments. We study selective reporting and research participation effects (e.g., measurement reactivity) in digital measurement of behaviour to improve data quality and ultimately increase the validity of Ecological Momentary Assessment data.

Example publications:

  • Ziesemer, K., König, L. M., Boushey, C. J., Villinger, K., Wahl, D., Butscher, S., Müller, J., Reiterer, H., Schupp, H. T., & Renner, B.(2020). Occurrence of and reasons for “missing events” in mobile dietary assessments:  Results from three event-based EMA studies. JMIR mHealth & uHealth, 8(10), e15430.
  • König, L. M., Van Emmenis, M., Nurmi, J., Kassavou, K., & Sutton, S. (2021, May 14). Characteristics of smartphone-based dietary assessment tools: A systematic review [Preprint]. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/xr3st

Current projects:

  • Characteristics of mobile dietary assessment tools: A systematic review (with Prof. Dr. Stephen Sutton, Dr. Katerina Kassavou, Miranda Van Emmenis, B.Sc., University of Cambridge; Johanna Nurmi, M.Sc., University of Helsinki/ University of Cambridge). Pre-registration on the Open Science Framework.
  • A systematic review of studies of reactivity to objective digital measurement of health behaviour (with Anila Allmeta, M.Sc., University of Bayreuth; Prof. Dr. Stephen Sutton, Miranda Van Emmenis, B.Sc., University of Cambridge). Pre-registration on PROSPERO.

Recent talks:

  • König, L. M. (2020). Ecological Momentary Assessment of eating behaviour. Workshop "Challenges and opportunities of Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) for health behaviour research", EHPS Scientific Online Meeting. https://osf.io/8kq67/

Webmaster: Prof. Dr. Laura M. König

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