Behavioral Science At Hopelab

How can social media be harnessed to support mental health? Can acts of kindness be digitized to boost resilience? How might an app deepen real-world relationships?

Our research team is a passionate, dedicated group of interdisciplinary scientists who come together to drive innovation in ways that make a measurable difference in the health and happiness of teens and young adults.

We’re applying behavioral science to answer big questions facing digital health today.

Research Data & Insights

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Reverse Engineering Health
Behavior Change

From video games to apps to chatbots, Hopelab has created a broad range of science-based interactive technologies by reverse engineering health. We’re moving the needle on health behavior and moving the needle on outcomes.

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A National Survey Sponsored by Hopelab and Well Being Trust
Social Media

Digital health practices, social media use, and mental well-being among teens and young adults in the U.S.

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We’re Dying Earlier – How Is Social Media Involved and What Can We Do About It?
Mental Health

What role is social media is playing in life expectancy issues for young people? Dr. Danielle Ramo, director of research operations weighs in.

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Why Purpose is a Prescription for Health
Behavior Change

Dr. Victor J. Strecher, author of “On Purpose,” visited Hopelab to share his scientific work and an incredibly personal and moving story.

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WHAT WE DO

BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE COLLABORATIONS: ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIPS TO SUPPORT OUR MISSION

The behavioral science team at Hopelab conducts rigorous research on health, well-being, and technology. This research informs the development of science-based technologies to improve the lives health and well-being of teens and young adults.

But we can’t do it all ourselves. To achieve our objectives, we also collaborate with and provide support for some of the best and brightest minds in adolescent health, developmental neuroscience, and positive psychology to generate actionable insights on:

  • New powerful metrics of health and well-being
  • Innovative technologies that promote health and well-being in youth

HERE ARE SOME OF THE EXCITING COLLABORATIONS UNDERWAY

Real World Social Networks, The Brain, and Health

What we’re doing.

In collaboration with Dr. Emily Falk from the University of Pennsylvania, we’re investigating whether youth’s real-world social networks influence the way their brains respond to information, and ultimately how that shapes their health behavior choices. Bringing these questions together helps us explore how healthy and unhealthy behaviors spread from one individual to the next.

Why it matters.

The insights gained from this project can help enhance understanding of how social networks—on and offline—might be leveraged to promote positive health behaviors in youth.


Loneliness in Digital Life

What we’re doing.

In collaboration with Dr. Glen Coppersmith and Dr. Alex Fine of Qntfy, we’re investigating whether specific social media behaviors are related to mental health and well-being in youth. In particular, we’re hoping to identify the linguistic patterns that predict loneliness.

Why it matters.

This project will provide insights that may lead to the development of a new and improved social media-based measure of loneliness. This measure could make it easier to test the efficacy of large-scale social and mental well-being interventions.


Face-To-Face Vs. Tech-Mediated Prosocial Interaction

What we’re doing.

In collaboration with Dr. Sonya Lyubomirsky from The University of California, Riverside, we are expanding the research showing that helping others is good for well-being by asking: Are “acts of kindness” carried out using technology as beneficial as “acts of kindness” carried out in person? In this project, we’ll test whether two different types of helping behavior are beneficial for young adults in both online and offline contexts.

Why it matters.

The insights gained from this project will help inform whether and how to integrate an important intervention strategy (promoting helping behavior) into technology products to improve youth health.


Acts of Kindness Among Youth

What we’re doing.

In collaboration with Dr. Andrew Fuligni from The University of California, Los Angeles, we are expanding the research showing health-protective benefits from “acts of kindness” interventions. We are doing this by exploring the impacts of an “acts of kindness” intervention among adolescents on their biological and psychological well-being.

Why it matters.

The insights gained from this project will help inform whether and how to integrate kindness and other prosocial strategies into technology products to improve youth health.


Health Impacts of Being a Youth Mentor or Mentee

What we’re doing.

In collaboration with Dr. Edith Chen from Northwestern University, we are investigating whether and in what ways a year-long mentoring program might impact the metabolic and cardiovascular health of mentors (university undergraduates) and mentees (at-risk youth).

Why it matters.

The insights gained from this project will inform whether and how to include “peer mentoring” in technology products to improve youth health.


Social Support and Stress Reduction during Adolescence

What we’re doing.

In collaboration with Dr. Andrew Fuligni, Dr. Adriana Galvan, and Dr. Naomi Eisenberger from The University of California, Los Angeles, we aim to identify how providing social support to others affects adolescents’ own emotional resilience to stress, and which brain processes are involved.

Why it matters.

The insights gained from this project will increase understanding of an important intervention strategy (providing social support) so that it can be applied effectively in technology products to improve youth health.


Digital Crowdsourcing to Boost Adolescent and Young Adult Health

What we’re doing.

In collaboration with Dr. Tamara Taggart from George Washington University,  we’re examining the use of online crowdsourcing contests (like PrEP Your Step) and other forms of digital participatory action research to directly engage youth in the development of behavioral health interventions. This work will explore the effects of youth participation as a way to improve both community health campaigns and health outcomes for Black and Latinx young people.

Why it matters.

This project will provide insights into the most impactful ways to support and engage young people in co-design at every stage of the technology—and intervention—development process, creating opportunities for meaningful contribution and improved health and well-being.