Didn’t get the flu this past winter? Thank a psychologist. What? Well, it could be that a psychologist was involved in helping health care professionals to do what they know they need to do (but sometimes don’t): wash their hands. The issue here is persuasion and motivation: how to we get people to do something – and keep doing it? Health care workers like doctors and nurses can fall prey to the availability heuristic: they can easily remember times when they didn’t wash their hands and they didn’t get sick so they might develop an “illusion of invulnerability“. How do psychologists get involved to solve this problem? Listen to this episode and find out.
Resources for this Episode
- Grant, A. M., & Hofmann, D. A. 2011. It’s not all about me: Motivating hospital hand hygiene by focusing on patients. Psychological Science, 22: 1494-1499. You can download this article on Adam Grant’s website.
- Campaign Aimed at Patient Health Ups Doc Hand Washing article from Scientific American
- Patients’ Health Motivates Workers To Wash Their Hands from Psychological Science.
…messages aimed at health care professionals should be most effective when they emphasize how hand-hygiene practices can protect patients’ health rather than personal health – Grant and Hofman