Carnegie Mellon University


Vaccine Cheat Days Are Adding Up

The Atlantic

art of rolling the dice with the COVID-19 pandemic

Toronto Globe and Mail
March 21, 2021

Do Covid-19 Risk Calculators Help People Make Informed Decisions In a Pandemic?

Forbes Magazine
January 18, 2021

Young woman surfing the web.

Don’t know any COVID-19 patients who’ve died or been in the hospital? That may explain a lot.

Philadelphia Inquirer
October 12, 2020

A medical worker works inside a patient room in a COVID-19 intensive care unit at Temple University Hospital's Boyer Pavilion in April.

Julie Downs: From Sexual Health to the Sahel

Behavioral Grooves Podcast
Airdate: April 28, 2019, Episode 68

Julie Downs, PhD is an associate professor of psychology in the Social and Decision Sciences department at Carnegie Mellon’s Dietrich College and fits perfectly into the cross-disciplinary culture of the group. Her interests have spanned anthropology to healthcare to economics and her zest for each of them is undeniable.

Children's educational TV falls short on climate change

Children watching tv

Calorie Counts And Chain Restaurant Menus

On Point (National Public Radio)
May 9, 2018

In this May 3, 2017 file photo, information cards provide calorie count and price for food items on display at a Whole Foods store, in New York. (Candice Choi/AP)

Kids Menus Aren't Getting Healthier

Consumer Reports
November 21, 2017

Boy eats a hamburger from one of many chains' kids menus.

GMOs and beer calories? When labeling backfires

Chicago Tribune
October 12, 2016

Adding calorie counts on beer labels is not likely to have any effect on consumer habits.

How to Eat Healthier at Restaurant Chains

Consumer Reports
September 20, 2016

Olive Garden Herb-Grilled Salmon

How traffic-light signals could help fight obesity: Red, amber and green warnings on menus 'slash the number of calories a person consumes by 10%'

Daily Mail
June 20, 2016

Researchers found  each of the three calorie labeling conditions ¿ numbers alone, traffic lights alone, or both labels together ¿ reduced calories ordered by about 10 per cent, compared to orders involving no calorie labels. The labels were found to be more effective among obese study participants (file image)

Today's Highlights with John Hockenberry

The Takeaway with John Hockenberry (Public Radio International)
February 28, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama announced a series of proposed changes to U.S. food labeling rules yesterday. The proposal requires manufactures to list more realistic serving sizes and add details about added sugars. Will these new labels really change eating habits? Julie Downs, a Carnegie Mellon professor who studies decision making, answers. Begins at 19:39

Does This Mean I Can Eat More? New Food Label Questions, Answered

NBC News
February 27, 2014

The FDA is proposing the first changes to those little black-and-white food labels in more than 20 years, and they aim to take a more realistic look at what people eat.


Who cares about calories? Restaurant menu labels don't work, study shows

The Today Show
July 18, 2013

Items on the breakfast menu, including the calories, are posted at a McDonald's restaurant, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 in New York. McDonald's restaura...

Calorie Advice on Menus Might Not Help People Eat Better

US News & World Report
July 18, 2013

Making general calorie consumption guidelines available to patrons of restaurants where calorie count labels are already on the menu does not lead to better food choices, new research cautions.

Attempt to steer McDonald’s diners toward smaller meals backfires

Los Angeles Times
July 18, 2013

Reminding people how many calories they should eat at lunch did not persuade diners to order lower-calorie meals at McDonald's. In fact, it seemed to backfire, researchers found.

Love Story

Carnegie Mellon Today
April 2011

Back in the late 1980s, Julie Downs was having the time of her life-exactly the rich cultural and intellectual experience an exchange student hopes to have. Downs, now a Carnegie Mellon social and decision sciences research professor, was a physical anthropology major from the University of California at Berkeley, spending a year in Nairobi, learning about physical evolution and working with the amazing collections at Kenya's National Museum. She had been fishing around for a big motivator in her life. Archaeology, she was finding, was awfully tempting.

Routine cancer screenings draw increasing scrutiny from experts

Los Angeles Times
November 22, 2009

After decades of focus on the upside of cancer screening, public health experts are re-evaluating the wisdom of administering routine cancer screening tests to millions of asymptomatic people.

The New York Times, Op-Ed
November 12, 2009
By Julie S. Downs, George Loewenstein and Jessica Wisdom

BURIED in the nearly 2,000 pages of the health reform bill passed by the House on Saturday is a provision requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus. Given the worsening problem of obesity in the United States, and the superiority of disease prevention over treatment, calorie posting seems like a great idea. However, research by us and others suggests that it is unlikely to have much, if any, impact on eating or obesity.

Researchers work to thwart cleverer cyber scammers

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
July 12, 2006

The magnitude of menaces lurking on the Web -- crooks, thieves, predators, worms, scam artists -- are increasingly clever and multiplying, duping computer users by cloaking themselves in seemingly benign disguises.

The Superstar Athlete Is Paid to Take Risks, Right?

New York Times, Week in Review
June 18, 2006

TWO paradoxes from the motorcycle crash of Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback who required seven hours of surgery on his face and put the team's 2006 season in jeopardy.

From free love to safe sex

Los Angeles Times
June 5, 2006

In hindsight, the news reported on June 5, 1981, was the first cold slap of a new reality. The Centers for Disease Control announced that five homosexual men in Los Angeles had been stricken with Pneumocystis carinii, a rare form of pneumonia. Within a month, 26 cases of Kaposi’s sarcoma, another rare disease that was soon to be known as “gay men’s cancer,” were reported in New York and California.

Teens Unaware Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Until They Catch One, Carnegie Mellon Study Finds

Science Daily
January 4, 2006

Most sexually active teenage girls know relatively little about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) until it is too late, according to a paper by Carnegie Mellon University researchers that will be published in the January edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Will we be ready?

Los Angeles Times
July 25, 2005

In the perennial conflict between germs and humans, the influenza virus has a distinguished roster of battlefield victories. But now, far from America’s shores, a new round of hostilities is brewing. For the first time, scientists and public health officials are preparing to fight back.

The Dry Goods Frenzy, Updated

New York Times, Week in Review
December 5, 2004

As the angry lady with the stroller grabbed the last $7 DVD player away from you at the Best Buy on Thanksgiving weekend, did you, perhaps, take a moment to reflect that such frantic shopping is hardly a new phenomenon?