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Third Annual Meeting of Investigators: Science of Behavior Change Common Fund Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network
June 20-21, 2013

Executive Summary

The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Common Fund program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization, and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort is intended to lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles. Grantees are encouraged to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the clinic and to investigate mechanisms of behavior change at multiple levels. SOBC has awarded 10 grants for Science of Behavior Change: Finding Mechanisms of Change in the Laboratory and the Field (RFA-RM-10-002) and 7 administrative supplement awards for Use-Oriented Basic Research: Change Mechanisms of Behavioral Social Interventions (PA-12-119).

Separate from SOBC, the Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet) at the NIH is in charge of several initiatives. OppNet is a trans-NIH program designed to encourage behavioral and social systems research across multiple disciplines. Several grantees from OppNet’s Basic Research on Self-Regulation (RFA-AG-11-010) were invited to SOBC’s Third Annual Meeting of Investigators to foster transdisciplinary dialogue between SOBC’s behavior change researchers and the OppNet researchers who take a basic science perspective on self-regulation.

The current meeting thus offered a unique opportunity to bring together grantees from SOBC and OppNet for a discussion of present and future research on behavior change. The goal of this meeting was to foster discussion on ways to integrate basic and clinical research and to identify gaps and opportunities in the field of behavior change. Grantees presented research from a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, neurology, genetics, psychiatry, and social science.

Themes evident throughout the presentations included the identification of underlying basic mechanisms, the use of standard language and measures, and the integration of basic research methods into clinical trials. In addition to investigator presentations, grantees also had the opportunity to engage in moderated group discussions focused on the role of self-regulation in behavior change research, methodology, and use-inspired basic research.

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