A Brief, Distance-Based Intervention Can Increase Intentions to Follow Evidence-Based Guidelines in Cancer Screening
Although research findings are increasingly accessible to the public, people may choose to rely on anecdotal over evidence-based information when making important decisions. Thus, a key challenge facing the scientific community is to develop effective strategies for increasing people’s reliance on research evidence in their decision-making. Focusing on the critical context of cancer-screening decisions, we find that a brief, distance-based intervention can influence people’s intentions to follow evidence-based rather than anecdotal information. Specifically, in a preregistered and well-powered experiment (N = 224), participants who set a screening schedule for the next 10 years before considering a decision for an upcoming appointment were more inclined to follow the implications of evidence-based screening guidelines (vs. an anecdote), compared to participants who only considered the upcoming appointment. The success of this distance-based intervention represents an important first step in translating decades of laboratory research on distance into practical interventions for more complex and consequential decisions.
Ledgerwood, A., Wakslak, C. J., Sánchez, A. M., & Rees, H. R. (2018). A Brief, Distance-Based Intervention Can Increase Intentions to Follow Evidence-Based Guidelines in Cancer Screening. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1948550618779387
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