Perceptions Lab is a hub that we, at Spoonful of Sugar, have created with the objective of rapidly testing some of our interesting and innovative pragmatic questions on how to gain most efficacy when implementing research findings in the real world. Through Perceptions Lab, we are further validating and illuminating the practical implications from the plethora of existing evidence, and of our existing adherence tools and frameworks.

Psychology is complicated and complex with non-linear interactions between perceptions, memory, the environment, beliefs, actions, direct communication and indirect communication to name but a few.

Already a huge amount is known about what people think and feel about medicines and the impact this has on the effectiveness of those medicines. Far less is known about why people think and feel the way they do and how those thoughts and feelings are formed.

Without more fully understanding these psychological mechanisms designing and implementing interventions to improve the effectiveness of treatment through improved adherence and persistence can be disappointing or worse ‘pot-luck’.

The concept of the perceptions lab has been tested in the academic setting and produced useful high quality insights, rapidly that are being used to design pragmatic interventions to transform perceptions and behaviours. This approach is also being used to provide ‘proff-of-concept’ work prior to largers studies. Ensuring that the large investments in those studies are much less risky.

Examples of insights from a Perceptions Lab platform.

1) Test hypothesis that BMQ Concerns predict side effects through attribution bias (Heller, Chapman, & Horne, 2015)

2) BMQ Necessity beliefs predict responses to two placebos label as natural vs pharmaceutical. (Watkinson, Chapman, & Horne)

3) Treatment choice and nocebo responses (Bartley, Faasse, Horne, & Petrie, 2016)

4) Effect of changing framing statements on pain responses to saline perfusion – a landmark study showing how we describe the intervention can have a profound effect on its efficacy and toxicity.

5) Testing peoples responses to personalised medicine (Green, Horne, & Shephard, 2013)

6) How press massages affect attitudes and intentions re meds? (Geddes, Cipriani, & Horne, 2014)

7) Importance of patients’ perceptions of personal sensitivity to medicines PSM (Faasse, Grey, Horne, & Petrie, 2015; Horne et al., 2013)

What is adherence?

Adherence, in relation to health behaviour, defines the extent to which a patient correctly takes their medication as prescribed, and whether they continue to take said medication. For patients, especially those with chronic conditions, adherence to prescribed treatment is crucial. Poor adherence (and non-adherence) contributes to suboptimal medical benefit, compromises patient outcomes, and increases patient mortality. Understanding adherence, or rather why nonadherence occurs, is paramount in improving patient outcomes.

Explore what we are doing

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