Special Issue "The Role of Human Concepts in Environmental and Public Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tyler Davis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-2051, USA
Interests: risk perception; cognitive neuroscience; categories and concepts; zoonosis; food technologies; food policy; attitudes; neuroimaging; neuroscience
Dr. Jessecae Marsh
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA
Interests: categorization; causal reasoning; clinical reasoning; decision making; essentialism; expertise
Dr. Micah Goldwater
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW 2050, Australia
Interests: analogy; STEM education; categories and concepts; complex systems; dynamic systems; cognitive development; zoonosis; risk perception; decision-making; behaviour change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on the role of human concepts in environmental and public health. The venue is a peer-reviewed, scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information about the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

Humans are at the center of many current topics in environmental and public health. How we conceptualize and reason about the world around us has effects on how we interact with our environment, respond to public health messaging, and take steps to mitigate environmental and public health risks. For example, our understanding of how diseases can be transmitted from animals to people or from person to person plays a strong role in how people respond to media and public health communications about both communicable and non-communicable diseases, including novel diseases like COVID-19. Likewise, our understanding of climate change and its impact on public health depends on our ability to accurately reason about accumulation and complex dynamical systems. Interestingly, research on human concepts of environmental and public health risks has only recently begun to emerge as potential strategy for influencing health and welfare. This Special Issue will bring together expert research on human concepts, reasoning, and communication to address current topics in environmental and public health. We especially encourage topics related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This Special Issue is open to submissions related to all aspects of how people conceptualize and communicate about topics surrounding the environment and public health. We anticipate the Special Issue to include submissions from research groups of diverse backgrounds and to include a range of topics from preventative health concepts surrounding communicable and non-communicable diseases to more global perspectives on human concepts of climate change.

Dr. Tyler Davis
Dr. Jessecae Marsh
Dr. Micah Goldwater
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • disease beliefs
  • contagion
  • zoonotic disease transmission
  • chemical reasoning
  • climate change
  • risk perception
  • vaccination
  • public health communication
  • reasoning
  • decision making

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Pseudoscientific Health Beliefs and the Perceived Frequency of Causal Relationships
by , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11196; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111196 - 25 Oct 2021
Viewed by 152
Abstract
Beliefs about cause and effect, including health beliefs, are thought to be related to the frequency of the target outcome (e.g., health recovery) occurring when the putative cause is present and when it is absent (treatment administered vs. no treatment); this is known [...] Read more.
Beliefs about cause and effect, including health beliefs, are thought to be related to the frequency of the target outcome (e.g., health recovery) occurring when the putative cause is present and when it is absent (treatment administered vs. no treatment); this is known as contingency learning. However, it is unclear whether unvalidated health beliefs, where there is no evidence of cause–effect contingency, are also influenced by the subjective perception of a meaningful contingency between events. In a survey, respondents were asked to judge a range of health beliefs and estimate the probability of the target outcome occurring with and without the putative cause present. Overall, we found evidence that causal beliefs are related to perceived cause–effect contingency. Interestingly, beliefs that were not predicted by perceived contingency were meaningfully related to scores on the paranormal belief scale. These findings suggest heterogeneity in pseudoscientific health beliefs and the need to tailor intervention strategies according to underlying causes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Human Concepts in Environmental and Public Health)
Article
Of Pandemics and Zombies: The Influence of Prior Concepts on COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Behaviors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5207; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105207 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 1002
Abstract
We use a concepts and categories research perspective to explore how prior conceptual knowledge influences thinking about a novel disease, namely COVID-19. We collected measures of how similar people thought COVID-19 was to several existing concepts that may have served as other possible [...] Read more.
We use a concepts and categories research perspective to explore how prior conceptual knowledge influences thinking about a novel disease, namely COVID-19. We collected measures of how similar people thought COVID-19 was to several existing concepts that may have served as other possible comparison points for the pandemic. We also collected participants’ self-reported engagement in pandemic-related behaviors. We found that thinking the COVID-19 pandemic was similar to other serious disease outbreaks predicted greater social distancing and mask-wearing, whereas likening COVID-19 to the seasonal flu predicted engaging in significantly fewer of these behaviors. Thinking of COVID-19 as similar to zombie apocalypse scenarios or moments of major societal upheaval predicted stocking-up behaviors, but not disease mitigation behaviors. These early category comparisons influenced behaviors over a six-month span of longitudinal data collection. Our findings suggest that early conceptual comparisons track with emergent disease categories over time and influence the behaviors people engage in related to the disease. Our research illustrates how early concept formation influences behaviors over time, and suggests ways for public health experts to communicate with the public about emergent diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Human Concepts in Environmental and Public Health)
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