Sci-Tea Thinks Risky: Individual differences in risk assessment

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Dr. Heather Pond Lacey is an associate professor at Bryant University. She is a cognitive psychologist who specializes in judgment and decision-making. Her research focuses on health-related decisions, quality of life, judgments of aging, and health conditions. She is a member of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. She has also received an Excellence in Teaching Award.

Hayley Bottino is a Genetic Counselor at Loma Linda University Health. Hayley received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Applied Psychology from Bryant University. After graduating Bryant, she attended Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She graduated in 2020 with a Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling (MSGC). While working towards her graduate degree, she was a genetic counseling assistant at St. Vincent Health for over a year. At St. Vincent Health, Hayley was a resource for two genetic counselors, and she coordinated genetic testing for patients. She also provided support for patients and advocated to providers, insurance, and genetic testing companies on behalf of patients. Hayley loves that genetic counseling combines aspects of biology, psychology, and sociology, and she is honored to be able to empower patients through education of their genetic status.


Join us (Ryan & Nanci) for a conversation with Dr. Heather Pond Lacey and Hayley Bottino on Friday, November 19th for a discussion on individual differences in risk assessment. We first talk about Dr. Heather Pond Lacey’s article, “Measuring individual differences in emotional sensitivity to probability and emotional reactivity to possibility.” Dr. Lacey explains how she first got interested in learning about how people make decisions on their health and gives examples from real-life situations. Then, Hayley Bottino gives us her backstory on how she became a genetic counselor. She explains how in her job there are many situations where she informs patients about risks, and that all patients perceive the risks differently and therefore make different decisions. The basis for the discussion is then set, and throughout the conversation, we all discuss how people have different levels of emotional reactivity to the possibility of something occurring, how the field of genetic counseling is quickly evolving, and how important research and communication are in the health field.