Prof. Helweg-Larsen is a Professor of Psychology at Dickinson College and holds the Glenn E. & Mary Line Todd Chair in the Social Sciences; she also directs the Social Identity and Risk Lab. She uses social psychological methods to examine why smart people do dumb things. She has examined the causes, consequences, and correlates of optimistic bias (thinking you are less at risk than others) as well as other health-related behaviors and cognitions. In two NIH-funded grants, she has examined cross-culturally how moralized beliefs about smoking affect risk perceptions and quitting intentions as well as the effects of stigmatization on smokers’ willingness to quit smoking. That is, does it help smokers quit if we stigmatize them?

As an expert on the optimistic bias, Prof. Helweg-Larsen has been particularly sought after during the COVID-19 pandemic to explain why the optimistic bias hampers our ability to assess risk. She has been interviewed about risk by the New York Times and NPR’s Marketplace and she is a frequent guest on NPR member stations across the US. In addition, she has discussed in print media,  radio, and television in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Denmark what makes for a happy country and people. And the role Danish concepts such as hygge, pyt, samfundssind, and overskud might play.

Just out: The King’s Tears and Danish Masculinity. Check it out in English: and in Danish

See media appearances here:

Articles for General Audiences | Newspapers & Magazines | Radio Interviews | Television | Videos | Podcasts | Dickinson College News