WNYC Studios’ “Only Human” Health Podcast Partners with Top Behavioral Psychologist and Best-Selling Author Dan Ariely for Study on What Keeps People Committed to Exercise

WNYC Studios’ “Only Human” Health Podcast Partners with
 Top Behavioral Psychologist and Best-Selling Author Dan Ariely
for Study on What Keeps People Committed to Exercise

Listeners Invited to Participate in Smartphone-Enabled Research Study and Engagement Project to Help Them “Stick to It!” in 2016

(New York, NY -- January 5, 2016) -- Another New Year, another gym membership. According to a Nielsen study, “staying fit and healthy” was the #1 resolution for Americans in 2015, with “losing weight” in the #2 spot. And yet 67% of people with gym memberships never use them.

What are the secrets of the 33% who DO visit the gym regularly? And what new strategies may yet be discovered to keep even the most easily deterred and demotivated on track with their exercise resolutions in 2016?

Starting today, WNYC Studios’ Only Human podcast is partnering with Duke professor, New York Times best-selling author and Wall Street Journal columnist Dan Ariely on “STICK TO IT!,”  a research and engagement project designed to help participants keep their exercise goals.

As part of “STICK TO IT!,” participants can sign up at www.onlyhuman.org and download apps that will deliver various approaches that Ariely and the team at the Duke Center for Advanced Hindsight hypothesize will encourage people to exercise more. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of several test groups for a large-scale, methodologically sound experiment in behavior change.

Only Human is devoted to our quest for health, and for so many of us, the New Year is the time we re-ignite that mission,” said Only Human host Mary Harris. “Last year, 34% of Americans said they were planning to use smartphone apps to help support weight loss objectives. We’re excited to partner on this smartphone-based research study with Dr. Ariely – one of the foremost researchers into why we abandon our goals so readily – to bring potentially helpful activities into people’s everyday lives. Perhaps next year, we won’t be making the same resolutions but instead dreaming up new ones.”

“If you ask people, ‘Do you want to be healthy?’ no one would say no,” said Ariely, who made his mark with groundbreaking research into procrastination and willpower. “But when you ask them, ‘What’s the best way to spend the next half hour?’ it’s rarely, ‘I would love to feel a muscle pain as I try to run.’ But a resolution to do something different is not enough. What we actually need is to support people with environmental changes, and the best way we can now penetrate people’s environments and help them out is with their phone.”


Tuesday, January 5:                  Sign up period begins at http://www.onlyhuman.org; Dan Ariely introduces project on Only Human podcast

Tuesday, January 22:                Last day to sign-up as part of the study

Tuesday, March 8:                    Results of the study announced by Ariely and team on the Only Human podcast

 * * *

Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, is dedicated to help people live more sensible – if not rational – lives. His sometimes unusual experiments are consistently interesting, amusing and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom. In addition to appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Department of Economics and the School of Medicine at Duke University, Dan is also a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.

Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of Only Human, WNYC Studios’ podcast dedicated to the quest for health. Previously, she was part of the team that launched the nationally-distributed public radio show and podcast The Takeaway from WNYC Studios and Public Radio International. Her radio work has been featured on NPR and Marketplace. Prior to joining WNYC, Harris spent nearly a decade as a producer at ABC News, where her work was nominated for multiple Emmy awards. She trained as a medical journalist under Dr. Timothy Johnson, ABC News’ medical editor, before taking roles at World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and Good Morning America. Find her on Twitter @marysdesk.

Support for Only Human and WNYC’s other health initiatives is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund, The Hearst Foundations, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, The Iris and Junming Le Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Simons Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and The Winston Foundation.


WNYC Studios is the premier producer of on-demand and broadcast audio. Born from the team that created some of the most critically acclaimed and popular podcasts of the last decade, WNYC Studios is leading the new golden age in audio with high-quality storytelling that informs, inspires, and delights millions of intellectually curious and highly engaged listeners across digital, mobile, and broadcast platforms. WNYC Studios creates some of the most beloved audio series, including “Radiolab,” “Freakonomics Radio,” “Death, Sex & Money,” “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin,” “Note to Self,” “On the Media,” “The Takeaway,” and “Studio 360.” Their programs include personal narratives, deep journalism, interviews that reveal, and smart entertainment as varied and intimate as the human voice itself. For more information, visit http://wnycstudios.wnyc.org.