Read the full story, published by the Geisel School of Medicine.
The Geisel School of Medicine’s Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CTBH) has been awarded a $5 million Common Fund grant that spans two funding phases across five years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Common Fund grants support projects that cut across disciplines and populations.
“I’m very excited about this funding opportunity,” says Lisa Marsch, director of CTBH, an associate professor of Psychiatry at Geisel, and the project’s principal investigator. (Photo by Mark Washburn)
Alan Green, chair of psychiatry at Geisel and a co-investigator on the project, says this Dartmouth-based study, which includes investigators at Stanford University, Arizona State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and elsewhere, “aims to understand the mechanisms—psychological or biological—that underpin motivation, with an eye to developing better strategies that can help all of us improve our health.”
“I’m very excited about this funding opportunity,” adds Lisa Marsch, director of CTBH, an associate professor of Psychiatry at Geisel, and the project’s principal investigator. “At CTBH, we conduct all sorts of research using mobile interventions across a wide population—from teenagers to adults with behavioral health and physical health problems—and what we’ve seen in all of these populations is that changing health behavior changes health outcomes.”
Scientists have long studied behavior change and self-regulation, but those studies tend to be discipline specific—either from a psychological or neurological perspective. Although all of CTBH’s work based on the science of behavior change focuses on a wide array of populations and health behaviors, “we are only beginning to understand the nature of self-regulation, including how to best measure it and increase it,” Marsch says.
“If you think about people who smoke, who don’t eat right, or who don’t take their medication, you have to ask yourself why they are doing it when they know it’s bad for them,” she says. “How do all of these variables relate to each other to reveal a common self-regulation mechanism that leads to changing behavior? Advances in digital technologies have created unprecedented opportunities to assess and modify self-regulation and health behavior at the population level.”