Automatic for the People: changing environments to change population health behaviour
Dr Gareth Hollands, University of Cambridge
Lecture Theatre 1, 43 Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1UU
Much of the global burden of non-communicable disease is caused by unhealthy behaviours that individuals engage in even when informed of their health-harming consequences. To date, interventions to address this have largely encouraged people to reflect on their behaviours. However, these behaviours are often not driven by deliberative conscious decisions, but occur directly in response to environmental cues and without a great deal of conscious reflection. Consequently, interventions that target non-conscious processes by changing environmental cues may have significant - if largely untested - potential to change population health behaviour. This talk will aim to explore this premise and highlight some relevant current research on the topic.
Biography: Gareth is a Senior Research Associate in the Behaviour and Health Research Unit (BHRU) at the University of Cambridge. He studied Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, followed by a range of clinical and research roles, and completed a PhD in Health Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London in 2010. His research is primarily focused on developing and evaluating interventions to change health behaviour. Particular interests include interventions that target non-conscious processes through changing environmental cues, the effects of communicating highly salient risk information (e.g., aversive visual images, genetic risks), and conducting related systematic reviews.