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Why Health Communication?

As a communication scholar, Apis persuasion scientist Micah Larsen studied human behaviors like family and romantic relationships, relationships in the workplace, the biological predictors of communication, and social influence.

But Micah was particularly captivated by the area of persuasive health communication. Health communication helps provide health care providers and message designers with the best way to help people enact healthy behaviors.

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Sexual Health Research

Micah researched organ donation messages,  biology and aggression, affection, and communication in social networks after breast cancer diagnoses.

These studies led to the crux of Micah’s research. Her initial 2014 experiment tested the best way to persuade people to have safe sex.


Conducted on a college campus, this cutting-edge experiment aimed to provide insight into how to persuade college students to have candid conversations with their intimate partners before they engage in sex behaviors. This topic was particularly relevant to college students, as one in four college students will contract a sexually transmitted disease.

The experiment was published in the journal Health Communication in 2015.

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Using Persuasion Research to Keep People Healthy

The main findings of Micah’s experiment suggested that if we warn people that they are about to be exposed to persuasive messages (like messages about conversations before sex), and remind them that they are free to make their own decisions, we may be able to persuade people to be more open with their partners about their sexual health.

Persuasive health communication is key to helping people avoid death and disease and live long, healthy lives, but persuasion goes much further than just health. Micah made a career of reading and using persuasion research to help people motivate and influence others in areas like mental health, nonprofits, politics, sales, real estate, and more.

You can learn the best ways for you to persuade others by taking the Apis Algorithm Quiz and watching the recommended videos found in the Apis Store.

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