Some of you remember me, with pre-pandemic bow-tie.
During the pandemic, our family went into full-on Joseph Lister anti-sepsis mode. I’d dress for clinic in a button down shirt, casual pants, mask and face shield, strip down in the garage on getting home, yell “contagion!” to clear my path to the laundry, and wash everything in hot water immediately. No dry cleaning piles, no laundry baskets. Right into the machine.
No watch, no bowtie, no glasses, no dress shoes. My shoes were washable Keens. My wallet became a paper-clip with $20, a credit card, my entry card and ID, and a folded letter that certified that I was essential personnel in case I got stopped at a quarantine checkpoint.
Here we are a year later, and clothing-wise, not much has changed. Casual seems dressy enough. We’re still masking, and starting Monday, I think we’ll be back to wearing face shields, as the Delta variant rages on.
This is a 28 minute podcast. The crucial moment (for me) is about 12:30.
Of the all the psychologies and tactics to address various subpopulations of the vaccine hesitate (for pediatrics, for adults, for COVID in particular), ONE tactic was most effective across all these subpopulations, use of “confirmation bias” as a tactic.
If you’re in a conversation about the vaccine, leave aside all the data and arguments.
Often we see people trying to persuade by saying ‘OK, here are the facts. Here’s why you should get vaccinated,’ ” Braude said. “But this research says actually what you should ask is ‘OK, why would someone want to get vaccinated?’ and have them go through the process in their own words. That works much better than the persuasion techniques we see people trying to use.
It turns out that 20-44% of people who answered this question, who were asked to TAKE THE EMPATHIC STEP of putting themselves in the shoes of someone wanting to be vaccinated, and then having to describe the reasons why, ended up changing their mind and agreeing to get vaccinated.
Huh. I think I have never done that. Time to learn and use something new.
CMIO’s take? There are so many interesting facets of the human mind. Even amongst physicians and healthcare workers, we have a lot to learn about how humans think, and how we make decisions. We need to harness this for the public good. Who is with me?
QUICK, which Shakespeare character gives this famous speech (that I dutifully memorized in high school)?
“…To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause…”
Yes, thank you, Hamlet.
Back to the Science:
I have always understood from my neuroscience colleagues, that humans (and animals) need sleep because our powerful multi-processing brains need downtime to repair, rebuild, consolidate memories, and even allow a pseudo-lymphatic system to remove waste.
Now, it seems, that brainless hydras and jellyfish exhibit sleep behavior. So, if we needed sleep before we needed brains, WHAT IS GOING ON?
Another fact: as life evolved, we had guts before we had brains, so is that a hint?
The article linked above is a fascinating dive into neuroscience and makes you question what you know. The best kind of writing.
I love stories like this. Jimmy Choi has a TikTok page where he documents his athleticism. He also has Parkinson’s Disease, with an uncontrollable shaking in his arms. At one point, he complained about how difficult it is for people with Parkinsons to take their medications; the shaking often completely spills the pills from the bottle.
As a result, a community of TikTokkers began brainstorming and then modeling and then 3-D printing an innovative pill bottle design that ensures only ONE pill is dispensed at a time.
CMIO’s take? Having access to the brain power and creative energy of the world, via communication technologies like TikTok and other Social media tools, is, I think, a wonderful antidote to our recent experiences, and the best expression of humanism. How can we design to augment this, the better angels of our nature?
In informatics, we often are faced with big data sets and how to make this data comprehensible. Here is an example from cartography. Beautiful graphics, highly usable. We can aspire this “data density” in our own graphics.
My favorite book crafting great information graphics from data, is of course Edward Tufte’s Visual Display of Quantitative Information. He talks about data density, sparklines, lots of cool stuff. AND he has an online course. I have been his disciple for years, and have ALL his books.
The only thing better than gathering and making sense of big data, is being able to explain it clearly to change minds and behavior.
Turns out, those of us in healthcare informatics and in the midst of the pandemic think the world has come to a halt. But no, WIRED magazine reports that robots and other tech development have not slowed down. Awesome reporting.