This tool was developed by the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University. It is intended for people who are making decisions that will affect others: policymakers, health care administrators, behavioral scientists, designers, and anyone else who builds interventions aimed at changing behavior.
Support for this research was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.
Want to learn more about our research? Read our white paper or visit our website.
Reflexivity Statements from the Researchers
This research is based in the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University, which seeks to help people become happier, healthier, and wealthier through behavioral science. This project prompted our team to truly interrogate and reflect upon our broader work, since much of behavioral science is inherently influential.
For example, we believe people should eat healthier meals, so we ask partners to serve healthier options at the beginning of the line in their cafeterias. We think that interventions such as this are justified “for the good” of the people dining at the cafeteria, who we believe often make myopic decisions regarding their health. In short, we believe our values and attitudes on health are the “right” values and that most other people would agree, and we believe it enough to try to influence people’s behavior for their own good. This obviously colors our attitudes and actions regarding the present work and influence in general. The authors are all also left-leaning in their political views on equity and its policy implications.
Please see below for each author’s individual positionality statement:
- J.B. is from the southern U.S., and was exposed as a child to overt racism against Black Americans, which deeply affected his worldview and later educational and professional choices. In addition, he has a background in policy, which makes him think differently when considering policy and how to communicate with policymakers.
- As a queer woman living with invisible disabilities, but also as a white American from the southern U.S., J.L.C. is familiar with topics of influence from both positions of privilege and marginalization. Nonetheless, as someone from a middle-class background and with graduate education in psychology, she has more frequently viewed influence from a position of power. Conducting this project has required repeated re-evaluation of her beliefs about what is best for individuals and society as a whole.
- J.C.C. is from a military town in the southern U.S. Watching how the options of many poor and minority people were restricted to dangerous and deadly jobs (e.g., fighting wars started by wealthy, powerful people which are now universally seen as mistakes by all sides of the political spectrum) had a strong effect on how he thought about opportunity and privilege. He comes from an upper-middle class background and has a graduate-level education in psychology, putting him in a place of power more often than not. He has also done work related to psychology and law which has exposed him to how the combination of untethered authority and flawed lay psychological theories can destroy lives.
- N.A.L. is a Jamaican immigrant who was raised in a low-income family in the southern U.S. and then grew up to become an American behavioral scientist who studies the psychology of inequality. Those two facts are intertwined. The reason he became interested in how people’s social contexts and identities influence how people make meaning of the world around them is due to seeing stark differences in life outcomes for Americans of different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds and wanting to understand why those differences exist so that he could help to develop interventions to improve equity and justice in society.
- J.L. did his doctoral research in political philosophy and philosophy of social science but realized that pure philosophical reflection on topics like inequality and human suffering is cynical. That is why he shifted his research interests towards applied behavioral science. Being married to a Chinese woman, the coronavirus pandemic made him experience very closely how quickly a minority group can become the target of people’s frustration and anxiety, and how important it is to protect them.
- S.R. is an African American woman born and raised in a small rural town in North Carolina. She was a first generation college student, which resulted in learning about college admission, financial aid, and navigating through college life on her own. Through it all, she made psychology her major and loved it so much that she decided to get her Masters in psychology. During her time in college, she realized how many African American women (including herself) decided to embrace wearing their natural hair (hair free of chemicals). Reflecting internally, S.R noticed how embracing her natural hair led to higher feelings of self worth and self-esteem despite living in a society where African American’s natural hair is viewed as unprofessional and unattractive. Thus, in grad school, she narrowed her focus to understand how to apply psychology to study the experience of African Americans. Specifically, S.R is interested in understanding how various racial factors (e.g., natural hair, racial identity, etc.) influence African American’s sense of self. She found supporting correlational data that revealed positive evaluations of one’s natural hair predicted higher levels of self-esteem. In all, S.R believes that factors associated with one’s race should be taken into consideration when thinking about interventions and policies because everyone should have the right to culturally express themselves.
About the Center for Advanced Hindsight
The Center for Advanced Hindsight (CAH) is Professor Dan Ariely’s research group at Duke University. Our researchers help partners at home and abroad make their clients, users, or employees healthier, wealthier, and happier, using behavioral science and controlled experiments. From academic publications and reports, to comics demonstrating behavioral science concepts through the eyes of our canine companions, our work takes many forms. While the formats are almost as wide-ranging as the subject matter, all of our work is aimed at using behavioral insights to tackle challenging problems.
The Health Team at CAH has had projects in the United States, the Netherlands, Kenya, and Nigeria on topics such as lifestyle, workplace health, vaccination, chronic illnesses, health measurement, medicine adherence, the personal finance of health, and other important health behaviors.
Currently, the Health team at Duke’s Center of Advanced Hindsight consists of the following members:
Dan ArielyFounder and Leader, CAH
Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member and principal of the Center for Advanced Hindsight.
Jan Willem LindemansPrincipal, CAH Health Team
Jan Willem Lindemans leads the Health team at CAH. His research covers a wide range of health behaviors: from lifestyle, vaccination and self-care to the personal finance of health. He has extensively collaborated with partners in the healthcare industry, global health, and health tech. Before arriving at Duke, he was postdoctoral researcher and founding codirector of the Penn Social Norms group at the University of Pennsylvania.
Nina BartmannSenior Behavioral Researcher, CAH Health Team
Nina is a senior behavioral researcher at the Center, focusing on applied behavioral economics research in the field of health and finance. She received her MA in International and Development Economics from Yale University and her MSc in Behavioral Economics from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Nina’s work focuses on workplace health, lifestyle app development, and health care savings in Kenya.
Judson BonickSenior Behavioral Researcher, CAH Health Team
Judson Bonick is a senior behavioral researcher on the Health team at the Center. He has a background in public policy and social work but decided to move to experimental and applied behavioral science after becoming frustrated with failed classical economic policies. His work focuses on health care savings and access in informal settlements in Kenya. He is passionate about creating real, measurable change in the world, and also about his dog.
Jenna ClarkSenior Behavioral Researcher, CAH Health Team
Jenna Clark has a Ph.D. in social psychology with a research background in relationships, persuasion, and technologically-mediated communication. She loves applying fundamental psychological science to real-world social issues. Her work with the lab centers on topics of influence, vaccination, and digital communication.
Jon CloughesyBehavioral Researcher, CAH Health Team
Jon Cloughesy graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he received a B.S. in Biopsychology. At CAH, Jon specializes in utilizing social and self-regulatory strategies to improve health. He is passionate about behavioral science, and aspires to help build a healthier, happier world for us all.
Jonathan CorbinSenior Behavioral Researcher, CAH Health Team
Jonathan has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Cornell University, with a research background focusing on biases in both decision making and memory. He enjoys connecting insights from basic psychological theory to the applied world as well as improving open science practices in applied settings. His current research in the lab focuses on improving savings behaviors and designing a healthier workplace.
Jamie FoehlSenior Behavioral Researcher, CAH Health Team
Jamie Foehl is a researcher at Duke University in Dan Ariely’s lab – The Center for Advanced Hindsight (CAH). Her work at CAH focuses on the practical applications of Behavioral Economics with a focus on health and financial services. Jamie works with lab partners to develop and test behavioral-based interventions. Prior to joining the lab in 2011, Jamie worked in advertising. She graduated from Carleton College in 1999.
Neil Lewis, JrAssistant Professor and Behavioral Scientist, Cornell University
Neil Lewis, Jr. is a behavioral and intervention scientist at Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medicine, where he is an assistant professor in the department of communication, division of general internal medicine, and graduate field of psychology. Lewis’s research examines how people’s social contexts and identities influence: (1) how they interpret and make meaning of the world around them, (2) their motivation to pursue their goals and success in goal pursuit efforts, and (3) the implications of these processes for individual and collective outcomes in education, health, and environmental sustainability. He is particularly interested in these processes as they relate to broader inequities in society, as well as their implications for the effectiveness of interventions and policies to improve equity in social outcomes.
Becky ReevesSenior Behavioral Researcher, CAH Health Team
Becky completed her Master’s in Psychology from UNCW in 2007, a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Kentucky in 2011, and a 2-yr post-doc fellowship at Tufts University in 2016. Her research interests involve decision-making under uncertainty, social support, and cognitive and emotional barriers to successful behavior change.
Shanta RicksBehavioral Researcher, CAH Health Team
Shanta Ricks received her M.A. in Psychology from North Carolina Central University and now works within the Common Cents Lab and Health teams at the Center for Advanced Hindsight. Her research interests are examining the intersection between mental and physical well-being.