Charlotte De Backer

Health Narratives



Charlotte De Backer

Assistent Professor
Universiteit van Antwerpen


Charlotte De Backer is Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Antwerp, where she carries out teaching and research in the field of interpersonal communication, with a special interest in prosocial behavior and social bonding. She obtained her Ph.D. at Ghent University in 2005, and has since worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California Santa Barbara (US, with Leda Cosmides, John Tooby and Michael Gurven), and as a lecturer at the University of Leicester (UK).


Charlotte’s research expertise lies in the domains of interpersonal communication, with a special interest in prosocial behaviour and social bonding. She obtained her Ph.D. with a dissertation about the use of ‘gossip’ as a social bonding device. In line of this, she also investigated how ‘celebrity gossip’ functions in similar ways. In recent years she also started to investigate the impact of eating habits on social bonding and prosocial behaviour. The question is if the way we eat shapes the way we interact with others. Lastly, as a member of the departmental research group MIOS (Media and ICT in Organizations and Society), she investigates the impact of ICT on these topics. For instance, how does the use of internet influence (celebrity) gossip behaviour? And how does media use influence eating habits?


Interpersonal communication, (celebrity) gossip, (pro)social behaviour, social food studies, commensality

Key publications

De Backer, C.J.S., & Hudders, L. (2014, in press). Meatless Mondays for personal and others’ wellbeing. Ecology of Food and Nutrition (IF2012 = 0.800)

De Backer, C. (2013). Family Meal Rituals: Comparing reported food habits to current food habits among university students. Appetite, 69, 64-70. (IF2012: 2.541, cited by: Wos: 0; Google Scholar: 1).

De Backer, C. (2012). Blinded by the Starlight: An Evolutionary Framework for Studying Celebrity Culture and Fandom. Review of General Psychology, 16(2), 144-151. (IF2012: 2.523, cited by: Wos: 0; Google Scholar: 4).

De Backer, C.J.S. & Fisher, M. (2012). Tabloids as windows into our interpersonal relationships: a content analysis of mass media gossip from an evolutionary perspective. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 6(3), 404-424. (international peer reviewed journal

De Backer, C., Nelissen, M., Vyncke, P., Braeckman, J. & McAndrew, F. (2007). Celebrities: From Teachers to Friends. A Test of Two Hypotheses on the Adaptiveness of Celebrity Gossip. Human Nature, 18(4), 334-354. (IF2007: 1.814, cited by: Wos: 7; Google Scholar: 19).

De Backer, C., Nelissen, M. & Fisher, M. (2007). Let’s Talk about Sex: A Study on the Recall of Gossip about Potential Mates and Sexual Rivals. Sex Roles, 56(11-12), 781-791. (IF2007: 0.652, cited by: Wos: 6; Google Scholar: 8).

De Backer, C. & Gurven, M. (2006). Whispering Down the Lane: The Economics of Strategy Learning Information Transfer. Adaptive Behavior, 14, 249-264 (IF2006: 1.432, cited by Wos: 8; Google Scholar: : 13).