Going into the third calendar month of working from home (WFH) for many Americans, the novelty has started to wear thin. But behavioral science insights can help us improve our home workspaces and habits. Last month I shared the first part of my Balanced Checklist : a behavioral-science-based tool you can use to craft a home workspace supporting well-being and productivity . Having covered Biophilia , Atmospheric conditions, Layout, and Amenities, we’ll now move on to look at Noise, Cohesion, Energy, and Design. Noise . Moderating noise levels and content is essential to successful WFH. But the ideal conditions will depend on the type of work you’re doing, and may even vary throughout the day. While this is a multifaceted topic, the gist is that silence is most productive for higher cognitive processing and complex verbal processes (e. g . data analysis or report writing). But music or other moderate, continuous background noise may be more motivating, both for creative … [Read more...] about Balancing Your Home Workspace for Well-Being and Productivity
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Source: Christopher Corneschi /Creative Commons What explains the rise of panic-buying of foods and stockpiling toilet paper during the outbreak of coronavirus ? 1. Two ways of thinking . We have two levels of decisions. At the basic level, individual decisions are best understood as the interactions between the logical brain and the emotional brain. The two systems use different operations. The logical brain calculates and considers the evidence. The emotional brain is intuitive, fast, mostly automatic, and not very accessible to conscious awareness. The logical mind tells us, “No, I don’t need to buy another roll of toilet paper.” But the emotional brain says, “Well, I better be safe than sorry.” Our emotional mind is highly attuned to visual imagery, and we’ve seen graphic images of people on social media and news media wearing masks and so forth. 2. Anticipatory anxiety . People are experiencing anticipatory anxiety. Anticipatory anxiety is the fear and dread … [Read more...] about 7 Reasons for Panic-Buying Behavior
I think that I may take a stroll, And buy myself a toilet roll. At home it will be safely stowed, With the other pallet-load. — Pam Ayres Panic buying is common during disasters like the coronavirus pandemic. Before a winter storm, for example, somewhat irrationally, consumers tend to strip grocery store shelves bare of the so-called holy trinity of bread, milk, and eggs. In contrast, when a hurricane is about to hit, indulgences such as liquor and Pop-Tarts, and bottled water are popular purchases. After an earthquake, especially a severe one , pretty much everything in the grocery store is fair game for panic shoppers. What's more, panic buying of any item can even break out without any reason at all, simply based on rumor . As I've written on this blog , panic buying does not make for smart shopping decisions. In fact, it can have severe negative ramifications on consumers’ personal finances. This begs the questions: Why do consumers panic buy? And … [Read more...] about Why Are We Panic Buying During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Key Points: Hearing that they have "degenerative disc disease" can frighten many people into pursuing spinal surgery. But rather than being pathological, degenerating discs and decreased spinal flexibility are normal parts of aging—and may not be responsible for any pain that the patient is experiencing. Surgery can be helpful for some patients with structural spinal problems. But it comes with risks and positive outcomes aren't guaranteed; thus, it should only be pursued when absolutely necessary. Surgeries being performed for axial neck, thoracic, and low back pain on normally aging spines was a major reason I quit my spinal surgery practice in 2019. Not only was the success rate low, patients were often much worse after the surgeries and few physicians were willing to take care of them. At the same time, I was witnessing hundreds of patients consistently break free from chronic pain using evidence-based treatments and they usually did not require surgery. … [Read more...] about Spine Surgery: Proceed at Your Own Risk
Source: Ravil Sayfullin/Shutterstock Scientists are tapping individuals’ genetic profiles to learn which patients will respond to antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia. The pursuit is part of a global shift toward precision medicine—diagnosing and treating illnesses based on a person’s unique genetic makeup. Tailoring psychiatric treatment to individual patients is a critical thread. In the case of schizophrenia, for example, around 30 percent of patients do not respond to antipsychotics . Identifying those patients proactively can prevent them from suffering harmful side effects of the medication and dangerous symptoms of the disorder. “Normally it’s a bit of a trial and error to determine what drugs patients will respond to,” says Edwin van den Oord , of the Center for Biomarker Research and Precision Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Schizophrenia and other diseases have additional risks, including the risk of suicide , so the sooner you can … [Read more...] about How Genetic Testing Can Help Match Patients with Medications