Three Classic Social Psychology Findings That Matter Today

three-classic-social-psychology-findings-that-matter-todayWatching current events in the United States these past few weeks, I find myself thinking often of some of the most basic Social Psychology 101 lessons. Even though we’ve gotten much more sophisticated in our research, these foundational lessons describe some of the behavior among American people quite well. Understanding these dynamics, and more importantly, understanding how we can break through them, might be helpful for all of us as we try to move forward. Continue reading Three Classic Social Psychology Findings That Matter Today

So, Does Facebook Influence Users or Not? (Yes, It Does)

so-does-facebook-influence-users-or-notTwo days after the election, Mark Zuckerberg said the following at a meeting in California:

“Personally I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, of which it’s a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea.

For those of us who’ve spent any time on Facebook in the last 18 months and who’ve tried to engage in conversations with people whose political arguments include conspiracy theories, Zuckerberg’s comment was a record-scratch moment. Continue reading So, Does Facebook Influence Users or Not? (Yes, It Does)

Keep Change Alive: Three Psychology-Based Tactics

keep-change-aliveEarlier this week, a friend of mine asked me what, as a psychologist, I thought we could do to ensure that the commitment to action stirred up by the presidential election results doesn’t fall by the wayside. I answered her quickly but the question lingered on my mind. I think there are a few general strategies anyone, regardless of the issues close to their heart, can use to maintain accountability and action over time and effect change for midterm elections in 2018 and the next presidential race in 2020.

Continue reading Keep Change Alive: Three Psychology-Based Tactics

A Behavior Change Perspective on the Community First! Village in Austin

a-behavior-change-perspective-on-the-community-first-village-in-austinLast week I went to the Innovation Learning Network in Person meeting in Austin, TX. Part of the agenda was going on a mystery “innovation safari” to a local organization thinking innovatively about health and wellness. My assignment was to go to the Community First! Village, operated by Mobile Loaves & Fishes. Full disclosure: I was skeptical based on the limited information I had boarding the shuttle to go to the village. Continue reading A Behavior Change Perspective on the Community First! Village in Austin

Next Edge Summit 2016 Recap

recapEarlier this week I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel at the Next Edge Summit in Boston. The two day event’s theme was “Reimagining the Patient Journey.” Much of that re-imagination came through the lens of technology, and specifically artificial intelligence and its role in creating and delivering personalized health interventions. The focus stems from the expertise of Next IT Healthcare, which presents the summit. Continue reading Next Edge Summit 2016 Recap

Personalization: Good for Health Interventions, Maybe Not for Mattresses

amybucherphd-comI believe in personalization.

Evidence has firmly established that more personalized behavior change programs are more effective. People perceive personalized information as more relevant, are more likely to remember it, and more likely to actually make changes as a result of it. That’s the entire premise that the startup I worked for, HealthMedia, was founded against, and the validity of the approach is why Johnson & Johnson acquired us and made that personalized behavior change capability part of their enterprise offerings. Continue reading Personalization: Good for Health Interventions, Maybe Not for Mattresses

Total Branding: The Bacon Truck

total-brandingWhether you’re a company or a person, your brand is a powerful tool to let people know who you are at a glance. Well-done branding can communicate key information such as what you offer and what you value. Applying that branding consistently ensures that every time people encounter anything related to you or your company, they instantly make the connection. I was impressed by the excellent job a Boston food truck, the Bacon Truck, did on its branding. Continue reading Total Branding: The Bacon Truck

Imagining Your Future Self Can Help You Be Healthier Now

imagining-your-future-self-can-help-you-be-healthier-nowDid you know that visualizing yourself differently can help you make health changes now? Depending on what you’re trying to change, either imagining a better future you or a worse one could provide the psychological and physiological fuel for transformation. For people looking to lose weight and improve lifestyle behaviors, picturing a worst place scenario future self might help. If you’re struggling instead with chronic pain, your solution may be to envision a better future you. Continue reading Imagining Your Future Self Can Help You Be Healthier Now

“Narrate This Like This Is a Ken Burns Documentary”: 2 Dope Queens on Patient Care

Blurry view of hospital corridor.If you want to hear about some bad bedside manner, I highly recommend a recent episode (“Goo”) of the podcast Two Dope Queens, starring Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson. Williams found a lump in her breast and made an appointment to get an ultrasound to find out what it was. She talks about her experience with the ultrasound and subsequent biopsy, and highlights a couple of unfortunately all-too-common negative patient experiences along the way.  I’d chalk these experiences up to at least two dynamics: Lack of empathy, and lack of communication. Continue reading “Narrate This Like This Is a Ken Burns Documentary”: 2 Dope Queens on Patient Care

What Is “Implicit Bias” and Why Is It Everyone’s Problem?

what-is-implicit-bias-and-why-is-it-everyones-problem-1In the U.S. Presidential Debate last night, when asked if she believes police are implicitly biased against black people, Hillary Clinton responded: “I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police. I think unfortunately too many of us in our great country jump to conclusions about each other and therefore I think we need all of us to be asked the hard questions ‘why am I feeling this way?” Today’s headlines about the comment are generally negative, with the Washington Times declaring “Hillary Clinton calls the entire nation racist.” But for those of us with backgrounds in social psychology, that’s not what she said at all. Rather, Clinton’s comment reflects a fundamental psychological truth.

Continue reading What Is “Implicit Bias” and Why Is It Everyone’s Problem?

Psychology for Health and Happiness