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By flipping the default from in-person to remote care, healthcare systems decrease friction toward the preselected option, and imply that the defaulted option is recommended. Getty.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives in so many ways. And while it’s not easy to find a bright side, one silver lining of the pandemic has to be the prevailing switch to a “digital first” mentality in healthcare. While health systems used to approach digital care with risk aversion and resistance to change, remote models are increasingly becoming the standard of care. (In all kinds of work, the switch to remote doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.)

If you wanted to schedule a telemedicine appointment in 2019 to save time and money, you would have had a hard…


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Behavioral science recommends two approaches for a diverse workforce: weed out bias that inevitably pervades judgment, and intentionally correct for the bias that seeps in despite our best vetting efforts. Getty.

You’re likely already familiar with the benefits of a diverse workforce — from greater profits and innovation to the ability to attract and retain top talent — but what’s less clear is how to actually hire for diversity. How do you translate the rhetoric to action and results? From crafting job descriptions to structuring interviews, lessons from behavioral science can help you design your hiring process to increase the diversity within your organization.

Everyone is biased

Bias is universal and ubiquitous; it can’t be avoided. And it’s not a character flaw, but simply how our brains operate. Despite the feeling that we are…


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Return to the office post-pandemic? Not so fast! GETTY.

Working from home is far from a new invention, but it took a global pandemic to switch from in-person office workplaces to remote work as the default for people who can reasonably work from a home office. Work will likely move partially back to the office as in-person work becomes possible again. But how much of our work should return to the office? With both upsides and downsides to remote work, research points to a hybrid model (with the majority of time spent remotely) as the most promising direction.

The Upsides of Remote Work

The flexibility of remote work is good for caregivers, both men…


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Actor Colin Farrell is not just a celebrity. Perhaps more importantly, he is a loving caregiver to his two sons. Getty Images.

When actor Colin Farrell’s son was diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder Angelman syndrome, he realized he had to spend more time with his son to give him the care and attention he needed. He has said that “being a father is more important to him than his career “ and that “his whole acting business is nothing in comparison.” He adds that “being a dad to these two boys is the most difficult, the most rewarding, the most meaningful and the most consequential thing that [he] will ever do.”

Like Colin Farrell, many men want to spend more time…


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We sort social groups into categories by our very nature. GETTY

Human beings are simplifiers. We are cognitive misers, exerting the least amount of mental effort that we can in making decisions. We rely on heuristics, or mental shortcuts, to take the fastest route from A to B. And we are categorizers.

The tendency to conceive of the world around us in categories is a strategy that is often adaptive, but has at least one unfortunate byproduct: the bias that results from associations we make with different categories. And while there is no getting rid of bias, we can design systems to correct for these errors.

Categorizing is critical to survival…


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Before painting over 2020, take a look back at what behavioral science had to say about the year. Getty images.

In hindsight, we should have known 2020 would be a fiasco — really, what else could it have been? We’ve almost reached the end, with 2021 just weeks away. But before we shut the door to 2020, let’s review how behavioral science played into this year’s marathon of cataclysmic events.

From the behavioral changes required to slow the coronavirus pandemic to the battles with misinformation on social media, the need for sound behavioral science has never been greater. Yet as Robert Cialdini noted, despite the potential for findings from behavioral science to help battle COVID-19, “the most attention has been…


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10 Behavioral Scientists You Should Know. ALINE HOLZWARTH

Behavioral science is increasingly being applied outside university laboratories to industry settings, making an impact in the real world. I had the opportunity to interview ten leaders paving the path for applied behavioral science, and have compiled them here.

These ten behavioral scientists are shining examples of impact in health, their work spanning from experimentation to implementation. From Katy Milkman’s massive tests to increase vaccination rates to Neela Saldanha’s efforts to alleviate global poverty, these leading behavioral scientists are making the change they want to see in the world.

On top of their impressive work, these behavioral scientists are interesting…


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It’s not ‘news’ that handwashing prevents the spread of disease, from the common cold to the novel coronavirus. But it might take a bit of creativity to transform our best intentions to keep our hands clean into the act of regular handwashing. Behavioral scientists weigh in on strategies to do just this. DPA/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES.

The need for handwashing isn’t new in this time of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but it is more important now than ever that we keep our hands clean to prevent the continued spread of the virus. We all know we should wash our hands regularly in order to achieve this, but intention doesn’t necessarily translate into action. And given the shockingly low historic rate of handwashing in general (an average adherence of 38.7% among healthcare workers according to the World Health Organization), it seems fair to say that we don’t wash our hands as reliably as we know we should…


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In her Science of Well-Being digital health program, Professor Laurie Santos recommends practicing and tracking your signature strengths, savoring, gratitude, kindness, social connection, exercise, sleep, mindfulness, and time affluence. GETTY.

Whether you are directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 viral disease, you may be feeling down as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. There are many solutions out there to help lift your spirits, but not all are backed by research in behavioral science, nor specifically by evidence from the study of happiness and well-being. …


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With a fresh start, the new you can be the kind of person who works out with an online Zumba instructor three times a week from your very own backyard. GETTY IMAGES.

Feeling glum as you trudge through the COVID-19 quarantine haze? That’s okay. You’ve probably fallen into a funk like everyone else, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you had any sort of exercise or healthy diet routine before the pandemic, it has likely fizzled out by now, disrupted by the stay-at-home orders and general sense of doom. Speaking only for myself, certain allowances have been made in recent weeks (let’s just say that Swiss chocolate and shortbread are involved) — allowances that would normally be entirely off-limits or saved for very special occasions.

You know that you could

Aline Holzwarth

Aline Holzwarth is an applied behavioral scientist, primarily focusing on digital health research and scientifically informed product design. alineholzwarth.com

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