Researchers ‘dismantle’ mindfulness intervention to see how each component works

As health interventions based on mindfulness have grown in popularity, some of the field’s leading researchers have become concerned that the evidence base for such practices is not yet robust enough. A new study shows how a rigorous approach to studying mindfulness-based interventions can help ensure that claims are backed by science.

One problem is that mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) sometimes blend practices, which makes it difficult to measure how each of those practices affects participants. To address that issue, the researchers took a common intervention for mood disorders — mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) — and created a controlled study that isolated, or dismantled, its two main ingredients. Those include open monitoring (OM) — noticing and acknowledging negative feelings without judgment or an emotional secondary reaction to them; and focused attention (FA) — maintaining focus on or shifting it toward a neutral sensation, such as breathing, to disengage from negative emotions or distractions.

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Application process open for 2019 mHealth Training Institute

Applications for the 2018 mHealth Training Institute or mHTI (July 29 – August 3, 2018 at the University of California, Los Angeles) are now being accepted. Building on the success of past mHTIs, the week-long immersion program uses a blended learning environment to provide selected scholars with a core grounding in latest mHealth methodologies and develops their capacity to successfully contribute to team science. Through reflective and active learning guided by faculty mentors, scholars will apply the gained knowledge to developing transdisciplinary mHealth solutions for real-world health problems, while building an interdisciplinary learning community and a dense scientific network. read more »


Updated NIH Policies & Procedures related to Human Subjects Research

NIH has broadened its definition of clinical trial, and it may impact your future applications (new, resubmission, or revision) and awards.

NIH’s definition of clinical trial now includes some research approaches not traditionally considered clinical trials. For example, many behavioral or biobehavioral studies that focus on underlying mechanisms of development may now be considered clinical trials. Also, conducting experiments that involve human subjects may be considered a clinical trial. If you are conducting studies involving human subjects, it is very important that you understand this definition and determine whether it applies to your research.

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November 28th, 2017 | Tessa West, PhD Presents: How Subtle Cues of Anxiety Shape Interracial Interactions

Tessa West, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at New York University. She has been at NYU since earning her PhD in Social Psychology at University of Connecticut in 2008. Her research focuses on understanding the nature and dynamics of human perception, in particular how we perceive others in cross-race interactions. Tessa’s multi-method approach to studying dyadic- and group-level interactions balances real-world validity with the control of experimental settings.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
2:00-3:00pm (EST)


Don’t Nudge Me: The Limits of Behavioral Economics in Medicine

Whenever I talk to physicians about outcomes that are worse than you’d expect, they are quick to point out that noncompliance — when a patient does not follow a course of treatment — is a major problem.

Sometimes prescriptions aren’t filled. Other times they are, but patients don’t take the drugs as prescribed. All of this can lead to more than 100,000 deaths a year.

thorough review published in The New England Journal of Medicine about a decade ago estimated that up to two-thirds of medication-related hospital admissions in the United States were because of noncompliance, at a cost of about $100 billion a year. These included treatments for H.I.V., high blood pressure, mental health and childhood illnesses (it can be difficult to get children to take their medicine, too).

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NIH SOBC Program FOAs: Announcement

The NIH SOBC Common Fund Program held two Technical Assistance Webinars in October for the Program’s current Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) in one of the two Science Of Behavior Change (SOBC) Technical Assistance Webinars for the Program’s current Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). A list of all the FAQs generated from both webinars, a link to a recording of the October 26, 2017 webinar, and a transcript will be posted on the SOBC Common Fund website soon. A link to the webinar recording, transcript, and FAQs is also provided below. Note that the audio begins at about 3.5 minutes.

As a reminder, please check the “Coming Soon Measures” list on the SOBC Measures Repository page. We expect in total more than 100 measures to be available prior to the receipt date for the FOAs, including additional measures in the interpersonal and social processes and stress reactivity and stress resilience domains.

Webinar Recording:

Webinar Recording and Transcript Access:




SOBC Spotlight: EHPS Interview with Dr. Jennifer Sumner

Dr. Jennifer Sumner, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and member of the Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Research Network Resource and Coordinating Center, recently returned from a roundtable event at the 31st meeting of the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS). The conference was held in beautiful Padova (Padua), Italy from August 29th to September 2nd. The roundtable was titled “Behaviour change: Investigating mechanisms of action” and was co-chaired by Dr. Susan Michie, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change (CBC) at University College London, and Dr. Rachel Carey, an Associate Consultant of the CBC.  read more »