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BSPA Flash Spotlight: Behavioral Insights for COVID-19 and other Pandemics
Deadline: Abstracts and manuscripts will be reviewed as they come in, but abstracts should be submitted no later than April 15. Accepted papers will be released as quickly as possible to facilitate real-time availability to decision makers.
Behavioral Science & Policy (BSP) has received a great deal of interest in the past week from authors with potential articles applying behavioral science insights to addressing the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) crisis. In response, we plan to publish a flash spotlight issue to make available scientifically grounded proposals for public and private sector policy makers, as well as short empirical papers that speak to the current crisis and pandemic response more generally. Research on COVID-19 directly, as well as papers that draw on related research and apply it to the current situation are welcome.
We encourage the submission of short manuscripts (up to 2,000 words, but shorter papers are encouraged) for rapid processing and dissemination. Abstracts can be submitted for review and guidance, or full manuscripts will also be reviewed.
We are interested in a wide range of topics that highlight how behavioral insights can help decision makers both navigate the challenging present crisis as well as chart a way forward. Examples of topics that may fit this Spotlight include, but are not limited to:
● Quarantine adherence
● Hand washing and other good hygiene habits
● Public messaging and communication strategies
● Organizational strategies for leading through crisis
● Rebuilding trust in institutions and/or health messengers
● Addressing specific challenges such as employee anxiety, availability of testing and protective equipment
Guest Editors for this Spotlight Issue are: Gretchen Chapman (CMU), Thomas D’Aunno (NYU), Jason Doctor (USC), George Loewenstein (CMU), and Peter Ubel (Duke).
Manuscripts will be processed using a streamlined peer review, professionally edited and rapidly disseminated online. Articles will eventually be compiled into a spotlight issue of Behavioral Science & Policy.
Please submit an abstract (or full manuscript) of your proposed article to the Guest Editors to [email protected] All submissions will be reviewed as quickly as possible and promising abstracts will be invited to submit a full manuscript, which will also be handled as quickly as possible.
Behavioral Science & Policy (BSP) is an international peer-reviewed journal published by the Behavioral Science & Policy Association (BSPA) in partnership with the Brookings Institution. Behavioral Science & Policy features short, accessible articles describing actionable advice for policy makers and practitioners that is firmly grounded in the empirical scientific study of individual, group, and organizational behavior. Submissions undergo review by both discipline-focused editors to assess scientific rigor and policy-focused editors to assess practicality. Articles recommended for publication receive feedback from professional writing editors to enhance their appeal to a broad audience of behavioral scientists, policy makers, practitioners, and educated lay readers. Published articles are available online, and are promoted via BSPA’s highly subscribed Weekly Roundup, the Behavioral Scientist (our partner blog), and through ad hoc media placements. Behavioral Scientist is also a source for links to editorials in major newspapers and behavioral insights concerning COVID-19.
In the third of week of The Behavioral Scientist’s Special Edition, Job Krijnen (UCLA) reviews what we’ve learned about choice architecture and suggests an updated framework for understanding this important facet of Nudge. Based on an article originally published in our journal, Behavioral Science & Policy, Krijnen’s article with David Tannenbaum and Craig Fox highlights the importance of considering the choicemaker’s motives and perspectives for designing effective interventions.
Referring to a failed attempt to use an opt-out default nudge to improve Dutch organ donation, for example, “the proposed policy change may have been construed as an attempt at coercion—as a threat to the freedom of choice that people value so highly—which provoked many to rebuke that attempt by opting out as a way to signal their displeasure.” As we enter the second post-Nudge decade they suggest policymakers consider people’s interpretations of our nudging attempts.
Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) is offering a residential fellowship for scholars from a diverse range of disciplines. They are seeking fellows who will be influential with--and open to influence by--their colleagues in the diverse multidisciplinary cohort they will assemble for an academic year. Funding is offered from a broad range of interesting partners for various topics.
In recent Congressional testimony, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reviewed a “health” initiative for users, including how Twitter could serve as a space to reconcile political opposition. Yet Sociologist Christopher Bail (Duke) cautions against policy action to support Dorsey’s efforts. Bail’s work shows that Twitter may actually lead to further polarization.
Behavioral science probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think of grade school curricula, but writer Steven Johnson is trying to change that. This week, Johnson makes the case for integrating decision-making courses into lower grades. Also, in the Behavioral Scientist, Tom Wein shows us how we can integrate behavioral science into “edutainment” to benefit people at different ages, from kids in school to adults making decisions for later in life.
This week in health and behavioral science, Aaron Caroll defends the randomized controlled trial in the The Upshot by NYT, specifically using examples of workplace wellness studies.
Also this week, The GSA’s Office of Evaluation Sciences shares promising results from two randomized studies that tested peer comparison letters to reduce overprescribing of drugs. Meanwhile in Aeon, a medical resident poses the question: will medicine ever recover from the perverse economics of drugs?
David Gal (UI-Chicago) argues that loss aversion is not a bigger motivator than achieving gains in the Scientific American. Beyond the fact that “price increases do not impact consumer behavior more than price decreases,” for example, we must “critically assess accepted beliefs and to be wary of institutional consensus in science and otherwise.”
As the beginning of the academic semesters grow near, reflect back on the year with our partner platform the Behavioral Scientist on their most popular stories as well as the editorial board’s summer reading list. Also for our readers in education, consider rethinking the movement toward screen-based learning.
In Project Syndicate, Peter Singer offers his perspective on whether charity for the poor is futile, in response to a recent essay by leading economists that criticized aid to the poor for failing to address poverty's root causes. Also, Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” mantra may inadvertently be hurting women.
“There will always be bad people intent on mischief,” says Yuval Feldman this week in the Behavioral Scientist. BSPA’s Dave Nussbaum speaks with Feldman about his new book, The Law of Good People: Challenging States’ Ability to Regulate Human Behavior. “The lesson to legal policymaking from behavioral ethics is to thoughtfully design environments, rules, and regulations in ways that don’t invite unethical behavior from ordinary people.”
Also this week, economist Erez Yoeli argues that altruistic behaviors are shaped largely by reputational motives. “No longer do identity appeals, descriptive norms, and public-good frames seem so different,” says Yoeli, “they are all examples of interventions that communicate information about the reputational impact of giving."
In case you didn’t hear his Nobel lecture, Richard Thaler offers a written version in the Chicago Booth Review. Thaler explains in a footnote: “I should say that this article is not a transcription of the lecture I delivered in Stockholm during Nobel week. There are two reasons for this. One is simple procrastination. The talk was on December 9, 2017. The written version was not ‘due’ until January 31, 2018, which is surely an aspiration rather than a real deadline. Why do something now that you can put off until later? The other reason is more substantive. Talks and articles are different media. Readers interested in seeing the actual lecture can find it at Nobelprize.org.”
Fast Company covered ideas42’s nudge experiments in cities like New York and Chicago this week. Also check out this article about how the city government of Scottsdale, Arizona scaled up a testing-based approach initially spearheaded by the Behavioral Insights Team.
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