Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer

Using Behavioral Psychology to Encourage Healthy Habits

Advertising agencies employ behavioral scientists to use psychology to persuade people to make healthy lifestyle choices. They've discovered key insights into how the human mind works when faced with a call to action. Behavioral scientists used a universal human trait — fear of shame or social rejection — to encourage workers at a food factory to improve their hand washing habits.

Using Behavioral Psychology to Encourage Healthy Habits

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  • Behavior: asset-mezzanine-16x9


    S1 E4 - 53m 6s

    Understand the importance of persuading the public to protect themselves during health crises. History shows that handwashing, social distancing and grassroots campaigning all play important roles in helping to shift behavior and save lives.

  • Data: asset-mezzanine-16x9


    S1 E3 - 53m 6s

    Track the importance of data mapping and analysis in the quest to improve public health. The painstaking work of past data detectives made us aware of epidemic "curves" as well as the extent of health inequalities among different U.S. communities.

  • Medical Drugs: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Medical Drugs

    S1 E2 - 53m 6s

    Learn about the surprisingly recent invention of medicine that combats illness directly, such as antibiotics. From the accidental discovery of penicillin to today’s hunt for antivirals, this history underpins work to find COVID-19 treatments.

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