The Mental Imagery and Vaccine Acceptance (MIVA) research project

2021tue14dec11:00 amtue12:00 pmThe Mental Imagery and Vaccine Acceptance (MIVA) research project

Event Details

VaxPolLab is a research group led by Dr Katie Attwell at The University of Western Australia.

About this event

Join Dr Julie Ji on the 14th of December, 9am AWST for an MS Teams webinar on The Mental Imagery and Vaccine Acceptance (MIVA) research project.

Vaccine delay and refusal behaviour is a growing threat to public health. Vaccine acceptance is influenced by confidence, complacency, and convenience. While convenience barriers are largely solved in wealthy nations like Australia, confidence and complacency barriers are not easily addressed through the provision of statistical and scientific information or fear-based health promotion campaigns. It is well established that subjective risk perception and anticipated regret are key psychological factors influencing vaccine decision-making. However, relatively little is known about modifiable cognitive drivers of subjective risk perception and anticipated regret in the context of vaccine decision-making. One plausible candidate cognitive driver is mental imagery-based episodic simulation, which refers to the human capacity to simulate and “pre-experience” future event using the brain’s memory and imagination networks. Mental imagery-based episodic simulation of emotional experience is known to evoke emotional and motivational responses, and therefore influences decision-making and behaviour. The MIVA research project aims to investigate the relationship between mental imagery-based future thinking in vaccine-related risk perception and anticipated regret, with the aim of identifying novel targets to increase vaccine acceptance. This talk will present preliminary findings from two studies examining the above factors in relation to COVID-19 vaccines in student samples, and briefly present plans for an upcoming maternal vaccine hesitancy study in pregnant women at King Edward Memorial Hospital, funded by the WA Child Research Fund.

Dr Julie Ji is a Forrest Fellow at the Centre for the Advancement of Research on Emotion, School of Psychological Science, University of Western Australia. An experimental psychologist conducting mechanism-focused research that aims to drive treatment innovation, Julie’s work integrates cognitive, affective, and decision science to identify modifiable cognitive targets that drive emotional and behavioural dysregulation in relation to depression, anxiety, non-suicidal self-injury, and more recently – in relation to vaccine hesitancy. Since completing her PhD at the University of Cambridge as an Australian Poynton Scholar in 2018, Dr Ji’s research has attracted more than $1.2 million in funding as chief principal investigator. Julie is also a Fellow of the UWA Public Policy Institute, and her research has received extensive media coverage, including in the Australian Financial Review and ABC News.


(Tuesday) 11:00 am - 12:00 pm AEST