Thursday, February 3, 2011

Warmth: That's Better.

"Human choices are remarkably susceptible to the manner in which options are presented."

(DeMartino, Kumaran, Seymour et al. Science 2006; 313:684-687.)


So, oh my gosh, I've done such a horrible job of staying on top of this, but, swear, I'm gonna make this blog a priority this year!! No matter how crazy school and work and everything else gets in life, it's no fun to just look back and see a few sparse entries for the whole year! Balance, folks, balance. You can't forget the good things in life, the things you enjoy. If you leave those behind, all you become is stressed, unpleasant and serious all the time. And, for real, who wants to be serious all the time?!

So I'm absolutely LOVING this semester so far, I'm in a ton of health law and policy classes, and, combined with my internship and my living with a pediatrician, it has become the PERFECT STORM for me of Health Policy and Law!! I love it!! Everything is so deeply intertwined and symbiotic that it's fascinating to learn about things from all different angles. One of the two non-health law classes I'm taking right now is Intro to Social and Behavioral Sciences in Health, and it has been fascinating to learn about everything so far! Topics we've covered include framing of PH issues, perspectives and paradigms, and failed PH interventions. All very interesting topics, as they're basically teaching us how to manipulate people to get them to be healthier. It's the perfect mix between psychology and public health, for anyone interested in the two topics.

Anyways, tonight's lecture will focus on understanding human behavior as predictably irrational, and for one of our readings we read an article called 'Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth' (Williams, Bargh. Science 2008; 322:606-607.) I know some people might think of it as common sense, especially if you've done any studies in child development or adolescent psychology, but I think we easily forget how influenced our decisions can be by the environment that surrounds them. That's probably one of the main principles I've taken out of class so far, environment has such a profound impact on people, that's it's kind of outrageous that we forget about it so easily! The next phase in my work then, after policy and statute analyzing is going to be using this oft forgotten tool of manipulation to actually solve the health problems our country is experiencing because, let's be real, legal regulation is NOT the most efficient nor the most effective way to encourage positive health behaviors or curtail negative addictions. It's not! So for this, and because it's freakin freezing outside (swear, I've never seen this much snow in my life at one time except for when I'm in the Rocky mountains...), warmth: that's better. :)

PS Here's the cool article the first quote came from if you're interested in how framing affects decision making.

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