Mariya Voytyuk

Anthropological ConferenceGlobal Health PhD

About me. My life-long fascination with cross-cultural differences began in 2002 when I became a finalist for the FLEX exchange student competition program in Ukraine. I came to the United States then for one academic year and stayed with a wonderful American host family.  Eventually, I moved to the U.S. to finish my degree and remained to work and pursue graduate school.

 With my international background it was only a matter of time until I began studying cultural variation professionally. Since nutrition has been an old passion of mine (in the past, I have worked as a health food co-op manager and taught public classes on healthy eating), my research interest is now focused on perceptions of food healthiness and risks. What accounts for cross-cultural variation in how people categorize and judge foods and eating situations? How do our cognitive models of “healthy eating” develop, spread across social networks, and how do they translate to health outcomes?
I am also intrigued by studying food ideologies and how people become part of alternative dietary movements. Lastly, I try to understand food preferences and beliefs from an evolutionary perspective as well as perceptions of an “evolutionary appropriate” diet. All my projects are aimed at improving health, nutrition, and science communication, as well as official dietary recommendations and health policy.
Contact: Mvoytyuk (at)

 Research Interests

  • Lay mental models of complex health phenomena
  • Health and science communication- role of cognitive biases in perceptions
  • Risk perceptions in diet and health, policy implications
  • Research sites: North America and Eastern Europe

Click on “CV” tab for information on teaching and publications.


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