William Klein, PhD

William Klein, PhD
Associate Director, Behavioral Research Program

William Klein, PhD, was appointed associate director of the 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 been supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Science Foundation, and several private foundations.

Dr. Klein completed his BA in Psychology and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences at Northwestern University (1987) and his MA and PhD 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. Most recently, he was director of Undergraduate Studies, an elected member of the Department’s Executive Committee, 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. Dr. Klein has also held secondary appointments in the School of Nursing, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Prior to 2002, Dr. Klein was on the faculty at Colby College, where he served as chair of the Psychology Department.

Dr. Klein was recently 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.