Dr Rob Ruiter received his Masters degree in health sciences and a PhD degree in experimental psychology. His research is best situated in the field of applied social psychology and focuses on psychological and behavioural reactions to health education messages. More recently his research interest has shifted from predicting attitude and behavior change to processes of attention allocation and comprehension, two basic prerequisites for effective persuasion.
Dr Ruiter’s research uses self-report measures as well as methods from the cognitive neurosciences including EEG/ERP and fMRI. He is also working on other projects which apply cognitive ergonomic principles to the design of health education messages and developing and testing health messages in the areas of blood donation, cancer prevention, safe sex, and traffic safety.
In addition to his experimental research work at Maastricht University, he has a strong interest in research capacity building in sub-Saharan Africa. As a research consultant of the Medical Research Council in South Africa, Dr Ruiter is continuously involved in PhD projects in Southern and Eastern Africa, mostly related to the prevention of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. These projects have the goal to develop theory- and evidence-based health education materials while training young students to become fully qualified public health researchers.