Laura Scherer

Laura Scherer
Assistant Professor
204a McAlester Hall
Research Interests: 

People have long debated the merits of thinking with one’s head over one’s heart. My research seeks to understand the implications of this distinction, broadly examining how implicit evaluations, gut feelings and emotions, versus more analytical and deliberative mental processes, influence attitudes, judgments and decisions. One important aspect of my research concerns how people make medical decisions. This research has addressed the emotional influences that cause people to disbelieve medical information, desire optional medical treatments, reject effective medical treatments, and even misunderstand the purpose of treatment. My research also examines how individual differences in the desire for medical treatment influences healthcare utilization. Another line of research has examined the implications of intuitive versus deliberative thinking for both medical and non-medical decisions, finding that deliberative thinking is often not a surefire route to making better decisions, and can even lead us to be more confident in bad decisions. Currently, this line of research seeks to determine the role that intuitive vs. deliberative thinking plays in generating judgment errors, unconventional beliefs (e.g. conspiracy theories), and distrust in scientific facts. 


I received my PhD in social psychology in 2010 from Washington University in St. Louis. From 2010 to 2012, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan’s Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine. 

Selected Publications: 

Scherer, L.D., Burke, J.F., Zikmund-Fisher, B.J., Caverly, T., Kullgren, J., Steinly, D., McCarthy, D., Roney, M., & Fagerlin, A. (in press). Development of the Medical Maximizer-Minimizer Scale. Health Psychology.

Hoerger, M., Scherer, L. D., & Fagerlin, A. (2016). Affective forecasting and medication decision making in breast cancer prevention. Health Psychology, 35, 594-603.

Scherer, L.D., Shaffer, V., Patel, N., Zikmund-Fisher, B. (2016). Can the Vaccine Event Reporting System Be Used to Increase Vaccine Acceptance and Trust? Vaccine, 34, 2424-2429.

McCaffery, K., Jansen, J., Scherer, L., Thornton, H. Hersch, J., Carter, S., Barratt, A.,Moynihan, R., Waller, J., Sheridan, S., Brodersen, J., Pickles, K., Edwards, A. (2016). Walking the tightrope: Communicating overdiagnosis in modern healthcare.  The BMJ, 352, Article i348.

Scherer, L.D., de Vries, M., Zikmund-Fisher, B.K., Witteman, H.O. & Fagerlin, A.  (2015). Trust in deliberation: Examining the consequences of deliberative versus intuitive decision strategies in medical treatment decision contexts. Health Psychology, 34, 1090-1099.

Rothberg, M.B., Scherer, L.D., Kashef, M.A., Coylewright, M., Ting, H.H., Hu, B., Zikmund-Fisher, B.J.  (2014).  The effect of information presentation on beliefs about the benefits of elective percutaneous coronary intervention.  Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine, 174, 1623-1629.

Scherer, L. D., Zikmund-Fisher, B. K., Fagerlin, A. & Tarini, B. (2013). Effect of a “GERD” diagnostic label on parents’ decision to medicate infants. Pediatrics, 131, 839-845.

De Vries, M., Fagerlin, A., Witteman, H. & Scherer, L. D. (2013). Combining deliberation and intuition in patient decision support. Patient Education and Counseling, 91, 154-160.

Scherer, L. D. & Schott, J.P.  (2012).  The affect misattribution procedure impacts future implicit and explicit judgments.  Social Cognition, 30, 537-563.

Scherer, L. D. & Larsen, R. J. (2011)  Cross-modal evaluative priming: Emotion sounds influence the processing of emotion words.  Emotion, 11, 203-208.

Lambert, A. J., Scherer, L. D., Schott, J. P., Olsen, K. R., Andrews, R., O’Brien, T. & Zisser, (2010). Rally effects, threat, and attitude change: An integrative approach to understanding the role of emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 886-903.

Scherer, L. D. & Lambert, A. J. (2009). Contrast effects in priming paradigms: Implications for theory and research on implicit attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 383-403.