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Author Archive: Peter Ubel

About Peter Ubel

04/24/2015

Cigarette Smoking Is So 1970!

I have two reasons for showing you this picture, illustrating the decline in cigarette sales in Germany, France, Japan, Switzerland and the US over the past few decades. First, to show you the decline in cigarette sales in Germany, France, … Continue reading

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04/23/2015

Polarized Views on Science

Sometimes when I disagree with friends or family about contentious issues, and they accuse me of being partisan, I try to defend myself by explaining that I am basing my position on science, not politics. According to a recent poll, … Continue reading

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04/21/2015

It Pays to Pay Well for Medicaid

This study came out a while ago, from ICYMI. The research team called up primary care practices and tried to make appointments for Medicaid patients. When states raised reimbursement rates, it became easier: Health insurance doesn’t do much good when … Continue reading

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04/20/2015

I Miss Ike

Here is Eisenhower drawing out the connection between science and liberty: “Love of liberty means the guarding of every resource that makes freedom possible—from the sanctity of our families and the wealth of our soil to the genius of our … Continue reading

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04/16/2015

Watch Out for Snack Food

People are correctly paying a great deal of attention to just how many calories it is possible to consume at American restaurants these days. The New York Times, in fact, recently showed just how many calories people typically consume at … Continue reading

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04/14/2015

The Anchoring Heuristic Courtesy of Dilbert

Heuristics is jargon used by decision psychologists and behavioral economists to refer to cognitive shortcuts we humans take to make judgments and decisions. One of the first heuristics identified as such by Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky was the anchoring … Continue reading

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04/13/2015

How Do Scientists’ Beliefs Differ from Those of Laypeople?

Do you think it is safe to eat genetically modified foods? I do, because I believe that most foods we eat have been genetically modified. Cows wouldn’t be cows if humans hadn’t changed them genetically, through breeding practices. That also … Continue reading

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04/09/2015

Incentive to Stop Smoking?

In the United States, the FDA tried to mandate that cigarette companies put nasty images of the harms of smoking onto cigarette packages, images that would take up at least half of the carton. It looks like that effort has … Continue reading

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04/08/2015

Would Better Risk Communication Reduce Fear of Flying?

With so much recent news about airplane disasters, it’s easy to become frightened about flying. I wonder if a risk graphic like the following will do much to help? As reported on recently in The Economist, the risk graphic comes … Continue reading

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04/07/2015

When Helpful Nudges Aren’t Helpful

Gerald Ashley (twitter handle @Gerald_Ashley) recently tweeted a photo of what was SUPPOSED to be a helpful nudge, reducing the odds that people would bump into each other going up and down the stairs. Can you see what might not … Continue reading

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