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In the News

Category Archives: In the News

The National: evidence-based policy will save us all a headache

By | In the News

“Research published in Psychological Science last year by Wharton professor Katherine Milkman and some of the behavioural economics “all stars” provide hard evidence of the cost effectiveness of relying on behavioural insights.

People change. So do socio-economic contexts. Evidence-informed policies should be the new norm. The next step will be to involve neuroscientific insights and artificial intelligence to this mix – a combination that will save us all lot of headaches.”

Read more here.

Penn Today: How psychology explains the itch for spring cleaning

By | In the News

Wharton Professor Katherine Milkman teases out the “fresh start effect” of temporal landmarks like the first day of spring, New Year’s Day, and other meaningful calendar dates: “A lot of my work is on health, and it turns out 40 percent of premature deaths in the U.S. are the result of behaviors people could change. Not taking medications, not being physically active, drinking too much, smoking cigarettes; those are huge numbers.  If we can get even a small number of people to make changes that would change their lives, that’s a huge deal.”

Read more here.

CU Anschutz Today: Shaping behavior effective in boosting vaccination rates

By | In the News

“… In publishing this study, he writes, the authors ‘are performing a service to society by integrating the disconnected literature on psychological theories and vaccination, which can inform practical interventions to address the challenges of vaccination.’

The first author of the study is Noel Brewer of the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina and co-authors include Gretchen Chapman, Rutgers University; Alexander Rothman, University of Minnesota; Julie Leask, University of Sydney.”

Read the rest of the article at CU Anschutz Today.

The Washington Post: People can’t be educated into vaccinations, but behavioral nudges help, study finds

By | In the News

“Vaccines were one of the great inventions of modern history. They helped stop America’s polio epidemic in the 1950s, when it was paralyzing thousands and killing at least 3,000 a year. They have prevented the deaths of millions worldwide from diseases such as diphtheria, smallpox, measles and tetanus.

And yet many people are reluctant to get their shots or vaccinate their children.

A study published Wednesday concludes that using education campaigns, and simply trying to persuade people to get the shots, is far less effective than using indirect behavioral nudges.

The reason most people don’t get vaccinations for themselves or their children, the study found, isn’t because they need convincing but because they perceive inconveniences or obstacles.

The new report — published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest — draws on hundreds of studies on psychology, behavioral science and vaccinations.”

Read more at The Washington Post.

Science Newsline Medicine: Survey Finds Reducing Stigma Attributed to Alzheimer’s Is Vital to Prevention Research

By | In the News

“Stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease may be an obstacle for individuals to seek information about their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and to participate in clinical studies that discover potential therapies. That’s according to the results of a national survey about what beliefs, attitudes and expectations are most often associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The survey results are published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

‘We found that concerns about discrimination and overly harsh judgments about the severity of symptoms were most prevalent,’ said Shana Stites, Psy.D., from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. ‘By understanding what the biggest concerns are about the disease, we can help develop programs and policies to reduce the stigma about Alzheimer’s disease.'”

Read more at Science Newsline Medicine.

Adweek: How Brands Can Use Psychology to Improve Marketing Techniques

By | In the News

“In a saturated world of brand choices, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out and create memorable customer experiences. While there is no doubt that the brand landscape will continue to balloon in coming years, one thing that won’t change is human psychology and the principles that drive our interactions with brands every day. Understanding the way these dynamics impact brand engagement and loyalty can help your brand stand out from the competition.

Here I’ll explore three psychological principles and how you can leverage them to influence your buyers’ relationship with your brand.

Use emotion

We make decisions based on intuition, emotions and a sense of connection to a product, person, value or vision. Sure, we may take into account the pros and cons or features and benefits as we arrive at a decision, but countless studies, including research by behavioral economist George Loewenstein, confirm that up to 90 percent of decisions are based on emotions.”

Read the rest of the article at Adweek.

Times Higher Education: ‘No educational advantage’ from gruelling intern shifts

By | In the News

“Trainee doctors obtain no educational advantage by working for more than 24 hours at a stretch but their instructors say relatively fleeting 16-hour shifts leave them ill-equipped for the real world.

A US study has revealed starkly divided opinions about the extraordinarily long work sessions endured by many medical trainees, with interns bitterly opposed to them but their supervisors fiercely supportive.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, explored a long-standing debate about medical training in the country. Rules governing interns have reduced shifts from up to 36 hours at the turn of the century to 16 hours under current regulations, according to the University of Pennsylvania, which participated in the study…

…’The residents are telling us something and programme directors should listen carefully,’ said principal investigator David Asch. ‘Educating young physicians is critically important to health care, but it isn’t the only thing that matters.'”

Read more at Times Higher Education.

Healthcare IT News: How to put behavioral economics to work for more effective patient engagement

By | In the News

“… In a recent interview with Healthcare IT News, Asch explained the value of behavioral economics. While patients might be irrational in their decision-making processes, they’re ‘irrational in highly predictable ways,’ he said.

That means that health systems that focus on patient psychology can more successfully leverage that knowledge to help drive engagement and healthier behaviors.

‘The idea that we should educate people and help them make better decisions has only minimal effectiveness,’ said Asch.

Behavioral economics shows that consumers are not always rational, even when equipped useful information and handy health gadgets.

‘Fitbits and pedometers don’t make you walk more,’ said Asch. ‘Weight loss apps don’t make you lose weight. They’re just facilitators. Unless they’re paired with some insight into human behavior, they’re the sound of one hand clapping.'”

Read more at Healthcare IT News.

Georgia State University News Hub: Businesses Levy Employee Tobacco Surcharges, Don’t Aid In Ending Use

By | In the News

“Nearly half of small businesses that levied tobacco surcharges from their employees failed to offer tobacco cessation counseling as required by law, Georgia State University economist Michael Pesko and his coauthors found in the first study to look at tobacco surcharges in the small-group marketplace since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect.

In 2016, 16 percent of small businesses used tobacco surcharges, with 47 percent of these businesses failing to provide the required tobacco cessation counseling. Another 14 percent of the employers who used tobacco surcharges did so in states that don’t allow them.

Pesko and his colleagues—Jaskaran Bain at Weill Cornell Medical College, (Johanna) Catherine Maclean at Temple University and Benjamin Lê Cook at Harvard University—found employers in the service and blue-collar industries, as well those with a larger percentage of older workers, were more likely to be noncompliant with ACA rules concerning when tobacco surcharges can be levied.”

Read the rest of the article at the Georgia State University News Hub.

The Inquirer: Rehab after heart attack: How hospitals can make sure it happens

By | In the News

“… For each patient who underwent treatment for a heart attack or received a stent, the nudge alert was sent automatically via secure text to case managers and a transitions coordinator. The team then identified a rehab facility in the patient’s zip code, faxed a referral to that facility, and informed the patient that a representative would be in touch, said cardiac nurse Elizabeth Jolly, one of the researchers. The hospital also followed up with rehab centers by phone.

‘You’ve got to have some type of standard way to make it happen,’ she said. ‘Patients don’t necessarily do a great job when they’re charged with doing something on their own.’

Fittingly, one of Jolly’s collaborators in studying the ‘nudge’ alert was Mitesh S. Patel, director of the Nudge Unit — a behavioral design team embedded within the Penn Medicine health system. That unit has previously changed physician behavior with default settings in other electronic systems — including one effort that reduced the number of opioid pills in prescriptions and another that cut patient costs by listing generic medications ahead of pricier brand-name drugs…”

Read more at The Inquirer.