Using Neuroscience to Optimize Digital Health Interventions across Adulthood (2018-2019)
Most people know that being more physically active is good for them, but many still don’t do it. While clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of exercise programs for enhancing cognition and well-being in older age, a persistent challenge is how to motivate aging adults to engage in physical activity in their daily lives. Recent neuroscientific and psychological research shows that motivation changes with age. Older adults are more motivated by social rewards and pay more attention to and better remember positively-framed messages relative to negatively-framed ones. Thus, positively-framed social rewards may provide critical incentives for aging adults to engage in physical activity.
This Bass Connections project team combined approaches from neuroscience, psychology and global health to identify ways to individually motivate adults to become more physically active in daily life. The team tested the hypothesis that positively-framed social rewards motivate aging adults’ to more frequently engage in physical activity in daily life.
In a community sample of healthy adults ages 30-80, the team used human brain imaging (fMRI) to begin assessing the sensitivity of motivational brain systems (e.g., striatum and medial prefrontal cortex) to socioemotionally-framed health messages. After neuroimaging, study participants had their activity continuously monitored for three months while receiving physical activity promotion messages on their mobile phones in the form of programmed voice-over-IP and text messages, developed in partnership with the Duke Global Digital Health Science Center. Team members used the neural measures as predictors of the effectiveness of specific messages delivered via mobile phone to increase activity in daily life. Data collection for the project is ongoing and will continue in Fall 2019.
Summer 2018 – Summer 2019
This Team in the News
See related team, Using Neuroscience to Optimize Digital Health Interventions across Adulthood (2019-2020).
- Gary Bennett, Arts & Sciences-Psychology and Neuroscience
- Jaime Castrellon, Arts and Sciences–Psychology and Neuroscience–Ph.D. Student
- Gregory Samanez-Larkin, Arts & Sciences-Psychology and Neuroscience
/graduate Team Members
Eric Juarez, Psychology-PHD, Psychology-AM
/undergraduate Team Members
Alexander Bendeck, Computer Science (BS)
Christian Benitez, Neuroscience (BS)
Micaela Brewington, Neuroscience (BS)
Melanie Camejo Coffigny, Neuroscience (AB)
Ayanna Kimble, Psychology (AB)
Uma Rao, Neuroscience (BS)
/yfaculty/staff Team Members
Eliana Armora, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Candace Brown, Center for Study of Aging
Kendra Seaman, Center for Study of Aging
/zcommunity Team Members
Emily Falk, University of Pennsylvania