Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 526
Emerging Health Data Platforms: From Individual Control to Collective Data Governance
(Cambridge University Press, 2020)
Health data have enormous potential to transform healthcare, health service design, research, and individual health management. However, health data collected by institutions tend to remain siloed within those institutions limiting access by other services, individuals or researchers. Further, health data generated outside health services (e.g., from wearable devices) may not be easily accessible or useable by individuals or connected to other parts of the health system. There are ongoing tensions between data protection and the use of data for the public good (e.g., research). Concurrently, there are a number of data platforms that provide ways to disrupt these traditional health data siloes, giving greater control to individuals and communities. Through four case studies, this paper explores platforms providing new ways for health data to be used for personal data sharing, self-health management, research, and clinical care. The case-studies include data platforms: PatientsLikeMe, Open Humans, Health Record Banks, and unforgettable.me. These are explored with regard to what they mean for data access, data control, and data governance. The case studies provide insight into a shift from institutional to individual data stewardship. Looking at emerging data governance models, such as data trusts and data commons, points to collective control over health data as an emerging approach to issues of data control. These shifts pose challenges as to how “traditional” health services make use of data collected on these platforms. Further, it raises broader policy questions regarding how to decide what public good data should be put towards.
Using meta-predictions to identify experts in the crowd when past performance is unknown.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2020-04-24)
A common approach to improving probabilistic forecasts is to identify and leverage the forecasts from experts in the crowd based on forecasters' performance on prior questions with known outcomes. However, such information is often unavailable to decision-makers on many forecasting problems, and thus it can be difficult to identify and leverage expertise. In the current paper, we propose a novel algorithm for aggregating probabilistic forecasts using forecasters' meta-predictions about what other forecasters will predict. We test the performance of an extremised version of our algorithm against current forecasting approaches in the literature and show that our algorithm significantly outperforms all other approaches on a large collection of 500 binary decision problems varying in five levels of difficulty. The success of our algorithm demonstrates the potential of using meta-predictions to leverage latent expertise in environments where forecasters' expertise cannot otherwise be easily identified.
Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Juice, Artificially-Sweetened Soda and Bottled Water: An Australian Population Study
Reducing consumption of free sugars, such as those found in high concentrations in manufactured products such as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and 100% fruit juices, is a global public health priority. This study aimed to measure prevalence of widely available pre-packaged non-alcoholic water-based beverages (carbonated sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, artificially-sweetened sodas, fruit juices (any type), and bottled water) and to comprehensively examine behavioral, environmental, current health, and demographic correlates of consumption. A cross-sectional, nationally-representative population survey of 3430 Australian adults (18+ years) was conducted using computer-assisted telephone (mobile and landline) interviewing. Past week prevalence of pre-packaged drinks containing free sugar was 47.3%; daily prevalence was 13.6%. Of all the pre-packaged drinks assessed, consumption of fruit juices (any type) was the most prevalent (38.8%), followed by bottled water (37.4%), soda (28.9%), artificially-sweetened soda (18.1%), sports drinks (8.1%), and energy drinks (4.2%). Higher soda consumption was associated with males, younger age, socio-economic disadvantage, frequent takeaway food consumption, availability of soda in the home, obesity, and a diagnosis of heart disease or depression. A diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes was associated with increased likelihood of consuming artificially-sweetened sodas and decreased likelihood of consuming sugar-sweetened soda. SSB consumption is prevalent in Australia, especially among young adults and males, foreshadowing continued population weight gain and high burdens of chronic disease. To reduce consumption, Australia must take a comprehensive approach, incorporating policy reform, effective community education, and active promotion of water.
Led into Temptation? Rewarding Brand Logos Bias the Neural Encoding of Incidental Economic Decisions
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-03-30)
Human decision-making is driven by subjective values assigned to alternative choice options. These valuations are based on reward cues. It is unknown, however, whether complex reward cues, such as brand logos, may bias the neural encoding of subjective value in unrelated decisions. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we subliminally presented brand logos preceding intertemporal choices. We demonstrated that priming biased participants' preferences towards more immediate rewards in the subsequent temporal discounting task. This was associated with modulations of the neural encoding of subjective values of choice options in a network of brain regions, including but not restricted to medial prefrontal cortex. Our findings demonstrate the general susceptibility of the human decision making system to apparently incidental contextual information. We conclude that the brain incorporates seemingly unrelated value information that modifies decision making outside the decision-maker's awareness.
Tracking the Unconscious Generation of Free Decisions Using UItra-High Field fMRI
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-06-27)
Recently, we demonstrated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that the outcome of free decisions can be decoded from brain activity several seconds before reaching conscious awareness. Activity patterns in anterior frontopolar cortex (BA 10) were temporally the first to carry intention-related information and thus a candidate region for the unconscious generation of free decisions. In the present study, the original paradigm was replicated and multivariate pattern classification was applied to functional images of frontopolar cortex, acquired using ultra-high field fMRI at 7 Tesla. Here, we show that predictive activity patterns recorded before a decision was made became increasingly stable with increasing temporal proximity to the time point of the conscious decision. Furthermore, detailed questionnaires exploring subjects' thoughts before and during the decision confirmed that decisions were made spontaneously and subjects were unaware of the evolution of their decision outcomes. These results give further evidence that FPC stands at the top of the prefrontal executive hierarchy in the unconscious generation of free decisions.
The effect of emotion regulation on risk-taking and decision-related activity in prefrontal cortex
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2019-10-01)
Emotion regulation impacts the expected emotional responses to the outcomes of risky decisions via activation of cognitive control strategies. However, whether the regulation of emotional responses to preceding, incidental stimuli also impacts risk-taking in subsequent decisions is still poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the interplay between the regulation of incidentally induced emotional responses and subsequent choice behavior using a risky decision-making task in two independent samples (behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment). We found that overall, emotion regulation was followed by less risky decisions, which was further reflected in an increase in activation in brain regions in dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and cingulate cortex. These findings suggest that altering incidental emotions using reappraisal strategies impacts on subsequent risk-taking in decision-making.
Preserved performance monitoring and error detection in left hemisphere stroke.
(Elsevier BV, 2020)
Depending on the lesion site, a stroke typically affects various aspects of cognitive control. While executing a task, the performance monitoring system constantly compares an intended action plan with the executed action and thereby registers inaccurate actions in case of any mismatch. When errors occur, the performance monitoring system signals the need for more cognitive control, which is most efficient when the subject notices errors rather than processing them subconsciously. The current study aimed to investigate performance monitoring and error detection in a large sample of patients with left hemisphere (LH) stroke. In addition to clinical and neuropsychological tests, 24 LH stroke patients and 32 healthy age-matched controls performed a Go/Nogo task with simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG) measurements. This set-up enabled us to compare performance monitoring at the behavioral and the neural level. EEG data were analyzed using event-related potentials [ERPs; e.g., the error-related negativity (Ne/ERN) and error positivity (Pe)] and additionally more sensitive whole-brain multivariate pattern classification analyses (MVPA). We hypothesized that LH stroke patients would show behavioural deficits in error detection when compared to healthy controls, mirrored by differences in neural signals, in particular reflected in the Pe component. Interestingly, despite clinically relevant cognitive deficits (e.g., aphasia and apraxia) including executive dysfunction (trail making test), we did not observe any behavioral impairments related to performance monitoring and error processing in the current LH stroke patients. Patients also showed similar results for Ne/ERN and Pe components, compared to the control group, and a highly similar prediction of errors from multivariate signals. ERP abnormalities during stimulus processing (i.e., N2 and P3) demonstrated the specificity of these findings in the current LH stroke patients. In contrast to previous studies, by employing a relatively large patient sample, a well-controlled experimental paradigm with a standardized error signaling procedure, and advanced data analysis, we were able to show that performance monitoring (of simple actions) is a preserved cognitive control function in LH stroke patients that might constitute a useful resource in rehabilitative therapies for re-learning impeded functions.
Twelve-month outcomes of MAKINGtheLINK: A cluster randomized controlled trial of a school-based program to facilitate help-seeking for substance use and mental health problems.
(Elsevier BV, 2020-01)
Background: Young people experiencing mental health problems are often reluctant to seek help, particularly from professionals (i.e., doctors or mental health workers). MAKINGtheLINK is a school-based intervention that aims to help adolescents overcome barriers to seeking professional help for mental health and substance use problems. Methods: A cluster randomised controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the 12-month outcomes of MAKINGtheLINK among 2447 participants (Mean age=14.9 years, SD=0.5 years, 50% male). Randomisation resulted in 1130 students from 11 schools allocated to receive the intervention, and 1317 students from 10 schools allocated to the wait-list control group. After the baseline assessment, follow-ups were conducted at 6-weeks (n = 2045), 6-months (n = 1874), and 12-months (n = 1827). The primary outcome measure was help-seeking behaviour, from both formal (e.g., health professionals) and informal (e.g., friends, family members) sources. The trial was registered with the Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR) on the 27th of February 2013 (registration number ACTRN12613000235707). Findings: The intervention was not associated with overall help-seeking at the 12-month follow-up (p = 0.99, odds ratio [OR]=1.00, 95% CI for OR = 0.70-1.42), or help-seeking for depression (p = 0.28, OR = 1.21, 95%CI =0.86-1.69), stress and anxiety (p = 0.73, OR = 1.04, 95%CI = 0.74-1.47), or alcohol/other drugs (p = 0.84, OR=1.12, CI=0.37-3.37). However, the intervention was associated with increased help-seeking from formal sources (compared to informal sources) both overall (p = 0.005, OR = 1.81, 95%CI = 1.19-2.75), as well as for depression (p = 0.01, OR=2.09, 95%CI=1.19-3.67), and stress and anxiety (p < 0.006, OR = 1.72, 95%CI = 1.17-2.54). Interpretation: Rates of help-seeking remained unchanged following the intervention. However, MAKINGtheLINK effectively improved the quality of adolescent help-seeking behaviour by increasing help-seeking from formal sources. As prompt treatment is essential in reducing the long-term impact of early onset mental health problems, MAKINGtheLINK has the potential to make a significant contribution to existing early intervention and prevention efforts. Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council (APP1047492).
Comparing motivational, self-regulatory and habitual processes in a computer-tailored physical activity intervention in hospital employees - protocol for the PATHS randomised controlled trial
BACKGROUND: Most people do not engage in sufficient physical activity to confer health benefits and to reduce risk of chronic disease. Healthcare professionals frequently provide guidance on physical activity, but often do not meet guideline levels of physical activity themselves. The main objective of this study is to develop and test the efficacy of a tailored intervention to increase healthcare professionals' physical activity participation and quality of life, and to reduce work-related stress and absenteeism. This is the first study to compare the additive effects of three forms of a tailored intervention using different techniques from behavioural theory, which differ according to their focus on motivational, self-regulatory and/or habitual processes. METHODS/DESIGN: Healthcare professionals (N = 192) will be recruited from four hospitals in Perth, Western Australia, via email lists, leaflets, and posters to participate in the four group randomised controlled trial. Participants will be randomised to one of four conditions: (1) education only (non-tailored information only), (2) education plus intervention components to enhance motivation, (3) education plus components to enhance motivation and self-regulation, and (4) education plus components to enhance motivation, self-regulation and habit formation. All intervention groups will receive a computer-tailored intervention administered via a web-based platform and will receive supporting text-messages containing tailored information, prompts and feedback relevant to each condition. All outcomes will be assessed at baseline, and at 3-month follow-up. The primary outcome assessed in this study is physical activity measured using activity monitors. Secondary outcomes include: quality of life, stress, anxiety, sleep, and absenteeism. Website engagement, retention, preferences and intervention fidelity will also be evaluated as well as potential mediators and moderators of intervention effect. DISCUSSION: This is the first study to examine a tailored, technology-supported intervention aiming to increase physical activity in healthcare professionals. The study will evaluate whether including additional theory-based behaviour change techniques aimed at promoting motivation, self-regulation and habit will lead to increased physical activity participation relative to information alone. The online platform developed in this study has potential to deliver efficient, scalable and personally-relevant intervention that can be translated to other occupational settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New-Zealand Clinical Trial Registry: ACTRN12616000462482, submitted 29/03/2016, prospectively registered 8/04/2016.
The effect of visual distinctiveness on multiple object tracking performance
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2012-01-01)
Observers often need to attentively track moving objects. In everyday life, such objects are often visually distinctive. Previous studies have shown that tracking accuracy is increased when the targets contain a visual feature (e.g., a color) not possessed by the distractors. Conversely, a gain in tracking accuracy was not observed when the targets differed from the distractors by only a conjunction of features (Makovski and Jiang, 2009a). In this study we confirm that some conjunction targets have relatively little effect on tracking accuracy, but show that other conjunction targets can significantly aid tracking. For example, tracking accuracy is relatively high when the targets are small red squares and half the distractors are large red squares while the remaining distractors are small green squares. This seems to occur because the targets have a set of features (small and red) not shared by any one distractor. Attending to these features directs attention more to the targets than the distractors, thereby making the targets easier to track. Existing theories of attentive tracking cannot explain these results.
Causal knowledge promotes behavioral self-regulation: An example using climate change dynamics
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2017-09-07)
Adopting successful climate change mitigation policies requires the public to choose how to balance the sometimes competing goals of managing CO2 emissions and achieving economic growth. It follows that collective action on climate change depends on members of the public to be knowledgeable of the causes and economic ramifications of climate change. The existing literature, however, shows that people often struggle to correctly reason about the fundamental accumulation dynamics that drive climate change. Previous research has focused on using analogy to improve people's reasoning about accumulation, which has been met with some success. However, these existing studies have neglected the role economic factors might play in shaping people's decisions in relation to climate change. Here, we introduce a novel iterated decision task in which people attempt to achieve a specific economic goal by interacting with a causal dynamic system in which human economic activities, CO2 emissions, and warming are all causally interrelated. We show that when the causal links between these factors are highlighted, people's ability to achieve the economic goal of the task is enhanced in a way that approaches optimal responding, and avoids dangerous levels of warming.
Improving medical certification of cause of death: effective strategies and approaches based on experiences from the Data for Health Initiative.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-03-09)
BACKGROUND: Accurate and timely cause of death (COD) data are essential for informed public health policymaking. Medical certification of COD generally provides the majority of COD data in a population and is an essential component of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems. Accurate completion of the medical certificate of cause of death (MCCOD) should be a relatively straightforward procedure for physicians, but mistakes are common. Here, we present three training strategies implemented in five countries supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health (D4H) Initiative at the University of Melbourne (UoM) and evaluate the impact on the quality of certification. METHODS: The three training strategies evaluated were (1) training of trainers (TOT) in the Philippines, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka; (2) direct training of physicians by the UoM D4H in Papua New Guinea (PNG); and (3) the implementation of an online and basic training strategy in Peru. The evaluation involved an assessment of MCCODs before and after training using an assessment tool developed by the University of Melbourne. RESULTS: The TOT strategy led to reductions in incorrectly completed certificates of between 28% in Sri Lanka and 40% in the Philippines. Following direct training of physicians in PNG, the reduction in incorrectly completed certificates was 30%. In Peru, the reduction in incorrect certificates was 30% after implementation and training on an online system only and 43% after training on both the online system and basic medical certification principles. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicate that a variety of training strategies can produce benefits in the quality of certification, but further improvements are possible. The experiences of D4H suggest several aspects of the strategies that should be further developed to improve outcomes, particularly key stakeholder engagement from early in the intervention and local committees to oversee activities and support an improved culture in hospitals to support better diagnostic skills and practices.