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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Brief, Distance-Based Intervention Can Increase Intentions to Follow Evidence-Based Guidelines in Cancer Screening

  • Author(s): Ledgerwood, A
  • Wakslak, CJ
  • Sánchez, AM
  • Rees, HR
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2018, The Author(s) 2018. 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.

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