Impulsivity and its effect on everyday life

Van Baal, S. T., Moskovsky, N., Hohwy, J., & Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2021, May 11). State impulsivity amplifies urges without diminishing self-control.

Michael, J., Van Baal, S.T. Key themes in recent research on interpersonal functioning in borderline personality disorder, Current Opinion in Psychiatry: January 2021 - Volume 34 - Issue 1 - p 44-47

Decision making during a pandemic

Van Baal, S. T., Walasek, L., & Hohwy, J. (2021, February 26). Staying home so you can keep going out: A multiplayer self-isolation game modelling pandemic behaviour.

We use a game-theoretical approach to see how people respond to changes in their environment during the pandemic. We see that people display illusory superiority, rely strongly on social norms, and respond too late to increasing disease prevalence.

van Baal, S. T., Walasek, L., Karanfilovska, D., Cheng, A. C., & Hohwy, J. (2022). Risk perception, illusory superiority and personal responsibility during COVID‐19: An experimental study of attitudes to staying home. British Journal of Psychology. Preprint, Publication.

We see whether communicating with the public through using prescriptive language or calls for personal responsibility is more effective at changing people's attitudes to leaving the house in specific scenarios.

Van Baal, S. T., Le, S., Fatehi, F., Hohwy, J., Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2022). Cory COVID-Bot: An Evidence-Based Behavior Change Chatbot for COVID-19. In J. Mantas, A. Hasman, M. S. Househ, P. Gallos, E. Zoulias, J. (Eds.), Liaskos Studies in Health Technology and Informatics: Vol 289. Informatics and Technology in Clinical Care and Public Health (pp. 422-425). iOS Press.

In this paper, we demonstrate how chatbots may be used to deliver behavioural interventions. Introducing Cory COVID-bot, a friendly librarian who is knowledgeable about COVID-19 and who recommends animations to users. These animations elicit compassion and attempt to reduce exponential growth bias. This novel approach to changing behaviour could prove useful for researchers and mHealth practitioners.

Van Baal, S.T., Hohwy, J., & Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2021, September 17). Episodic future thinking and compassion reduce public health guideline noncompliance urges: A randomised controlled trial. medRxiv.

We explore the effects of administering daily episodic future thinking and compassion training prompts on people's urges to thwart public health restrictions using an experience sampling (ecological momentary assessment) paradigm. We find that people experience weaker urges in both conditions compared to the control group.


Westra, E., Terrizzi, B. F., Van Baal, S. T., Beier, J. S., & Michael, J. Beyond avatars and arrows: Testing the mentalizing and submentalizing hypotheses with a novel entity paradigm. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.