The festival highlights exciting research results, emerging areas, and innovations in health related BSSR. This NIH-wide event enables efficient leveraging of NIH resources and expertise. The BSSR-CC members contribute diverse and comprehensive perspectives on the NIH BSSR portfolio, thus facilitating the selection of an outstanding array of research results that are highlighted at the festival.View Recording
OBSSR Past Events
The OBSSR hosts virtual and in-person meetings that highlight behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). In coordination with the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, other government agencies, and the wider BSSR community, OBSSR facilitates opportunities to network, collaborate, explore, and advance BSSR.
OBSSR hosts a Director’s Webinar Series on a variety of BSSR topics to help communicate BSSR findings and other relevant BSSR information. OBSSR’s annual in-person meetings include the NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors and the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival. Subscribe to receive updates on the latest OBSSR and BSSR-related event information.
Peter Pirolli, Ph.D., presented an overview of the Fittle+ mHealth systems that have been used to study several evidence-based behavior change interventions. Dr. Pirolli presented models developed in the ACT-R computational cognitive architecture that address individual-level daily achievement of behavioral goals for exercise and eating, and provide a deeper account of the dynamics of self-efficacy, motivation, implementation intentions, and habit formation.
The patient-clinician interaction is central to mind-body therapies, including acupuncture, where psychosocial factors, such as clinician empathy and therapeutic alliance, are the source of key mechanisms of action. While self-report assessments of therapeutic alliance correlate with clinical outcomes, such subjective measures do not reflect objective moment-to-moment dynamics underlying these psychosocial interactions. Importantly, the brain has a mirror neuron circuitry, which supports the ability of an observed experience in another to be experienced as if it were in the self, a function critical for social communication.
Tobacco companies use color on cigarette packaging and labelling to communicate brand imagery, diminish health concerns, and as a replacement for prohibited descriptive words ('light' and 'mild') to make misleading claims about reduced risks. Dr. Glantz analyzed previously secret tobacco industry documents to identify additional ways in which cigarette companies tested and manipulated pack colors to affect consumers' perceptions of the cigarettes' flavor and strength.
Psychological science has long been focused on the discovery of novel behavioral phenomena and the mechanistic explanation of those phenomena, which has led to a lack of cumulative conceptual progress. Dr. Russell A. Poldrack argued that the development of ontologies is essential for progress, but that these need to be tied directly to empirical data. He provided an example from the domain of self-regulation, where we have used data-driven ontology development to describe the psychological structure of this domain and characterize its predictive validity with respect to real-world outcomes.
Dr. Paasche-Orlow’s team designed and evaluated a series of interactive Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA) systems. In this session, he described attributes and design features of ECA systems with a focus on the current system as deployed with six content modules (symptoms, exercise, meditation, spiritual needs, advance care planning, and storytelling). He also discussed early experiences with system utilization and the nurse alert workstation.
Greg Siegle, Ph.D., presented on cognitive training to address obstacles to recovery. His talk described neural vulnerabilities that could help to explain the mediocre success rate of traditional behavioral treatments along with initial data suggesting that we can address these features using targeted cognitive training as pre-treatments. These data lead to an augmented conceptualization of precision medicine in which assessment can be used in traditional ways, to direct patients to different treatments or to suggest pre-treatments to turn likely nonresponders into likely responders to conventional treatments.
Distinguished Lecturer: Terrie E. Moffitt, Ph.D.
Presentation: A Good Childhood is a Smart Investment
The 11th NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors was held on Thursday, May 18, 2018, on the NIH Campus, Wilson Hall (Building 1). Terrie Moffitt, Ph.D., studies how genetic and environmental risks work together to shape the course of abnormal human behaviors and psychiatric disorders. Her particular interest is in antisocial and criminal behavior, but she also studies depression, psychosis, and addiction. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, who completed her clinical hospital training at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute (1984). Dr. Moffitt is associate director of the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, which follows 1,000 people born in 1972 in New Zealand. As of 2017, she has studied the cohort from birth to age 45 so far. She also co-directs the Environmental-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, which follows 1100 British families with twins born in 1994–1995. She has studied the twins from birth to age 18 so far.
Linda K. Larkey, Ph.D., CRTT, professor in Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation and adjunct faculty with Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ, reviewed the broader evidence (from her own work and others’) on Meditative Movement (MM) effects on cancer survivorship, supporting the goals of her research underway in breast cancer survivors. Extended models proposing various biomolecular and neurophysiological markers as mechanisms of effects on physical and emotional symptoms, cognitive function, and body composition outcomes were also discussed.
Invasive pneumococcal disease remains a leading cause of vaccine-preventable illness in the United States. Although rates of pneumococcal vaccination among non-institutionalized adults age 65 and older have increased substantially in the past 20 years, rates remain well below the target rate of 90 percent vaccination. In addition, racial disparities in vaccination rates persist. Current vaccination rates among adults age 65 and older are 68 percent; with rates of 73.1 percent for non-Hispanic white persons, 55.7 percent for non-Hispanic Black persons, and 44.7 percent among Hispanic persons. These disparities do not appear to be due to access issues; rather, physician and patient attitudes have been implicated as root causes.
The speakers described a translational research program that explores the application of basic behavioral findings on delay discounting, decision science, and the neural underpinnings of these processes to the development of interventions for alcohol & drug abuse, obesity and other behavioral risk factors.
Healthy sleep habits and resulting sleep quality and quantity are critical to children’s growth and development. Children who live in economically stressed urban environments are especially vulnerable to unhealthy sleep habits and their negative consequences, but families’ perceptions about sleep and sleep habits and preferences regarding support for promoting healthy sleep habits are not known, and interventions are urgently needed to promote healthy sleep habits and address individual, family, cultural, and social factors that contribute to poor sleep habits and sleep difficulty among young children who live in economically stressed urban environments.