William Klein , PhD
Research Area: Social Psychology, Risk Perception, Decision-Making
William Klein, PhD, was appointed associate director of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Behavioral Research Program (BRP) in August 2009. Dr. Klein's research interests fall largely under the areas of self-judgment, risk perception, and risk communication. He has been interested in how risk perception biases are related to the processing of health communications, to health decision-making, and to health behavior; how social processes (e.g., social comparison, self-affirmation, peer influence, self-evaluation, self-presentation) influence responses to personalized feedback and risk communication; the influence of affective factors such as worry on risk appraisal and health decisions; the impact of ambiguity on responses to feedback and risk messages; the role of optimism in health behavior and psychological functioning; and applications of theory to risk communication and health behavior intervention. Dr. Klein's research has appeared in over 100 publications and has been supported by NCI, the National Science Foundation, and several private foundations.
Dr. Klein completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences at Northwestern University (1987) and his Master of Arts degree and Doctorate in Social Psychology at Princeton University (1991). In 2002, he became a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in the Social Psychology and Biological and Health Psychology programs. At the University of Pittsburgh, he was director of Undergraduate Studies and a 2008 recipient of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award for his undergraduate and graduate teaching in the areas of social psychology, health psychology, and decision-making. Prior to 2002, Dr. Klein was on the faculty at Colby College, where he served as chair of the Psychology Department.
Dr. Klein was an associate editor of Psychology and Health and has served on the editorial boards of several journals including Psychological Science and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. He is currently adjunct faculty at the University of Pittsburgh and Johns Hopkins University, and was appointed adjunct investigator in the Social and Behavioral Research Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute in 2013 where he collaborates on several projects involving genetic risk communication. Dr. Klein is a member of the Executive Committee of the joint NIH/Hopkins Genetic Counseling graduate program and teaches a graduate course on health judgment and decision making.
Selected Publications and Presentations
Klein, W. M. P., Bloch, M., Hesse, B. W., McDonald, P. G., Nebeling, L., O'Connell, M., Riley, W., Taplin, S. H., & Tesauro, G. Behavioral research in cancer prevention and control: A look to the future.. Am J Prev Med .
Creswell, J. D., Dutcher, J. M., Klein, W. M. P., Harris, P. R., & Levine, J. M. Self-affirmation facilitates problem-solving under stress.. PLoS ONE 2013 May; 8(5):e-62593.
Shepperd, J. A., Klein, W. M. P., Waters, E., & Weinstein, N. D. Taking stock of unrealistic optimism.. Pers on Psy Sci. 2013; 5:395-411.
Ferrer, R. A., Hall, K. L., Portnoy, D. B., Ling, B., Han, P. K. J., & Klein, W. M. P. Relationships among health cognitions vary depending on stage of readiness for colorectal cancer screening. Health Psychol 2011; 30:525-535.
Han, P. K. J., Klein, W. M. P., & Arora, N. Varieties of uncertainty in health care: A conceptual taxonomy.. Med Decis Making 2011; 31:828-838.