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Gretchen Chapman


Title: Professor

Area: Cognitive Psychology / Intradisciplinary Health

Phone: 848-445-2640, 5-8917 / 848-932-5866

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Busch- Psychology 215, 142 /

CAC- Institute for Health, 112 Paterson St, 424



I received my PhD in 1990 from the University of Pennsylvania and have been on the faculty at Rutgers since 1996. I am active in the cognitive, social, and health psychology areas in the department. My research on judgment and decision making compares how people make decisions with normative models of the best or most rational method for making decisions. I focus primarily, but not exclusively, on decision processes that are important in the areas of health and medicine.

One of my long-standing interests concerns the role of risk and time delay in decision making, and how these play out in preventive health behavior. In a series of studies, I have explored factors associated with the decision to receive a flu shot. These factors include perceived risks and benefits, anticipated emotions such as worry, social factors such as perceived norms and job role, and interpersonal factors such as altruistic benefits of vaccinating.

Another research interest concerns decision processes in surrogate decision making. Some vaccination decisions are made on behalf of others, such as a parent deciding on vaccinations for a child. Surrogate medical decisions are also made at the end of life, such as a family member using a patient’s living will to determine what life sustaining treatment the patient would want. My research explores factors that influence how accurately one person can predict another’s preferences and the ways in which the surrogate role alters decision processes. I also explore how people communicate their preferences to others in living wills and factors that bias such communication, such as defaults.

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