SOBC 101: The Science Of Behavior Change for Psychological Scientists

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A core principle of the National Institutes of Health’s Science Of Behavior Change (SOBC) initiative is that a causal understanding of the means of shifting behaviors may be achieved by following the systematic scientific approach used in experimental medicine: focusing on how a behavioral intervention (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy) can engage a hypothetical psychological mechanism (e.g., worry) that can be assessed with a valid and reliable measure.

In this webinar, we provide an overview of select SOBC projects that investigate a variety of health behaviors using a variety of interventions and hypothesized mechanistic targets. We describe the fundamental steps of applying the SOBC approach, current and planned electronic resources for conducting rigorous behavior change research, current grant mechanisms that support this approach, the wide variety of existing and potential SOBC projects, and the expanded scope of the next phase of SOBC that has just begun.


Michael W. Otto, PhD, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University

Jeffrey L. Birk, PhD, Instructor in Medical Sciences, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

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