Paul Cook studies problems in health behavior change, such as treatment adherence, self-management of chronic illnesses, health promotion, and HIV prevention and care.
He brings to this research a background in clinical psychology and training as a psychotherapist, which has made him particularly interested in the mechanisms underlying behavior change, and why people frequently intend to act one way but actually behave in another.
Dr. Cook's Two Minds Theory (http://twomindstheory.org) suggests that such intention-behavior gaps can be explained by the interaction between two neurocognitive systems, the Narrative Mind that expresses explanations and intentions about behavior, and the Intuitive Mind that actually generates behavior in the moment. Using insights from TMT, Dr. Cook’s primary research focus is on helping people change their behavior to improve their health.
He is currently the primary investigator or co-investigator on studies of psychological techniques to improve treatment adherence, studies of patients’ symptom experiences, and methods for training health-care providers to use psychologically based behavior-change techniques.
In his role as Division Chair, Dr. Cook works closely with faculty who study mental health, public health, and family or community health phenomena, all of which have strong biobehavioral components.
Prior to his appointment at CU Nursing, Dr. Cook served as Director of Research and Development for ScriptAssist Medication Adherence Programs and also as Corporate Quality Improvement Director for several specialty managed care organizations including behavioral health, disease management, and nurse triage.