Wellth does this by “giving” patients money at the start of each month to take their pills. To prove they’re on track, they use the Wellth app to take a photograph of their medicines in the palm of their hand. But every day that they miss, they are penalized in the form of fee, which nets them less money at the end of the month. This loss-contract model is gaining notoriety and it should be: Wellth discovered that positive incentives accounted for adherence rates around 60% while loss-contract models account for better than 90% adherence rates.
This video explains a campaign with Brazil’s biggest football club asking people to become an immortal fan by becoming an organ donor. The campaign reduced the wait list for organs to zero.
The Rwandan prescription for Depression: Sun, drum, dance, community. “We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave. They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better, there was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again, there was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy, there was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again. Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave.” ~A Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression.
Breakthrough ACTION has distilled guidance on social and behavior change (SBC) monitoring methods into a collection of technical notes. Each note provides an overview of a monitoring method that may be used for SBC programs along with a description of when to use the method and its strengths and weaknesses.
In a meta-analysis of real-life experiments drawn from food science, nutrition, health economics, marketing and psychology, the authors find that behavioural nudges - facilitating action rather than providing knowledge or inducing feelings - can reduce daily energy intake by up to 209 kcal, the same number of calories as in 21 cubes of sugar.
Social networks provide a powerful approach for health behavior change. This article documents how social network interventions have been successfully utilized for a range of health behaviors including HIV risk practices, smoking, exercise, dieting, family planning, bullying, and mental health. We review the literature that suggests relationship between health behaviors and social network attributes demonstrate a high degree of specificity. The article then examines hypothesized social influence mechanisms including social norms, modeling, and social rewards and the factors of social identity and social rewards that can be employed to sustain social network interventions. Areas of future research avenues are highlighted, including the need to examine and analytically adjust for contamination and social diffusion, social influence versus differential affiliation, and network change. Use and integration of mhealth and face-to-face networks for promoting health behavior change are also critical research areas.
***Psychology offers three general propositions for understanding and intervening to increase uptake where vaccines are available and affordable. The first proposition is that thoughts and feelings can motivate getting vaccinated. Hundreds of studies have shown that risk beliefs and anticipated regret about infectious disease correlate reliably with getting vaccinated; low confidence in vaccine effectiveness and concern about safety correlate reliably with not getting vaccinated. We were surprised to find that few randomized trials have successfully changed what people think and feel about vaccines, and those few that succeeded were minimally effective in increasing uptake. The second proposition is that social processes can motivate getting vaccinated. Substantial research has shown that social norms are associated with vaccination, but few interventions examined whether normative messages increase vaccination uptake. Many experimental studies have relied on hypothetical scenarios to demonstrate that altruism and free riding (i.e., taking advantage of the protection provided by others) can affect intended behavior, but few randomized trials have tested strategies to change social processes to increase vaccination uptake. The third proposition is that interventions can facilitate vaccination directly by leveraging, but not trying to change, what people think and feel. These interventions are by far the most plentiful and effective in the literature. To increase vaccine uptake, these interventions build on existing favorable intentions by facilitating action (through reminders, prompts, and primes) and reducing barriers (through logistics and healthy defaults); these interventions also shape behavior (through incentives, sanctions, and requirements). Although identification of principles for changing thoughts and feelings to motivate vaccination is a work in progress, psychological principles can now inform the design of systems and policies to directly facilitate action.
Successfully adopting a complex, positive behavior involves (I) making a DECISION to adopt the new behavior, (II) performing a number of ACTIONs that comprise the new behavior, and (III) ensuring the CONTINUATION of the relevant conditions for success as time passes. More specifically, a person will very likely engage in a new positive behavior if ten conditions are met. There are three conditions to meet in the DECISION phase (Considers, Desires, Intends), six conditions to meet for every ACTION (Remembers, Believes, Chooses, Knows, Has, Embodies), and one condition to meet for CONTINUATION (Maintains).
Luckily, behavioral science can help close the intention-action gap, offering a toolkit to help change behavior for the better. Here are three ways we can apply lessons from behavioral science to drive sustainable engagement:
The Redirect Method uses Adwords targeting tools and curated YouTube videos uploaded by people all around the world to confront online radicalization. It focuses on the slice of ISIS’ audience that is most susceptible to its messaging, and redirects them towards curated YouTube videos debunking ISIS recruiting themes. This open methodology was developed from interviews with ISIS defectors, respects users’ privacy and can be deployed to tackle other types of violent recruiting discourses online.
This chapter illustrates how the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) have successfully employed behavioural insights. Using such learning, the chapter lays out an ambitious agenda for social change: (i) from BBBP to BADLAV (Beti Aapki Dhan Lakshmi Aur Vijay Lakshmi); (ii) from Swachh Bharat to Sundar Bharat; (iii) from “Give it up” for the LPG subsidy to “Think about the Subsidy”; and (iv) from tax evasion to tax compliance. First, a key principle of behavioural economics is that while people’s behaviour is influenced significantly by social norms, understanding the drivers of these social norms can enable change. In India, where social and religious norms play such a dominant role in influencing behaviour, behavioural economics can therefore provide a valuable instrument for change. So, beneficial social norms can be furthered by drawing attention to positive influencers, especially friends/ neighbours that represent role models with which people can identify. Second, as people are given to tremendous inertia when making a choice, they prefer sticking to the default option. By the nearly costless act of changing the default to overcome this inertia, desired behaviour can be encouraged without affecting people’s choices. Third, as people find it difficult to sustain good habits, repeated reinforcements and reminders of successful past actions can help sustain changed behaviour
Consider three levels: literal, liberal & lateral. Example: social proof... Literal: share the percentage of people who follow the norm in general Liberal: tailor the claims to what “people like them“ do Lateral: suggest popularity rather than stating it
We applied a Hidden Markov Model* (see Figure 1) to examine how and why behaviours did or did not change. The longitudinal repeated measure design meant we knew about food waste behaviour at two points (the amount of food wasted before and after the program), changes in the amount of food wasted reported over time for each household (more or less food wasted) and other factors (e.g. self-efficacy). By using a new method we could extend our understanding beyond the overall effect (households in the Waste Not Want Not program group wasted less food after participating when compared to the control group).
“Tracking your daily activity with a pedometer, wearable, or smartphone is an important part of any physical activity program,” Patel said by email. “However, it should be combined with other behavior change strategies such as goal-setting, coaching, or social interventions to increase sustainability.”
I started with the raw list of the 175 biases and added them all to a spreadsheet, then took another pass removing duplicates, and grouping similar biases (like bizarreness effect and humor effect) or complementary biases (like optimism bias and pessimism bias). The list came down to about 20 unique biased mental strategies that we use for very specific reasons. I made several different attempts to try to group these 20 or so at a higher level, and eventually landed on grouping them by the general mental problem that they were attempting to address. Every cognitive bias is there for a reason — primarily to save our brains time or energy. If you look at them by the problem they’re trying to solve, it becomes a lot easier to understand why they exist, how they’re useful, and the trade-offs (and resulting mental errors) that they introduce.
Nudges span an exceedingly wide range, and their number and variety are constantly growing. Here is a catalogue of ten important nudges — very possibly, the most important for purposes of policy — along with a few explanatory comments.
Consumers, employees, students, and others are often subjected to “sludge”: excessive or unjustified frictions, such as paperwork burdens, that cost time or money; that may make life difficult to navigate; that may be frustrating, stigmatizing, or humiliating; and that might end up depriving people of access to important goods, opportunities, and services. Because of behavioral biases and cognitive scarcity, sludge can have much more harmful effects than private and public institutions anticipate. To protect consumers, investors, employees, and others, firms, universities, and government agencies should regularly conduct Sludge Audits to catalogue the costs of sludge, and to decide when and how to reduce it. Much of human life is unnecessarily sludgy. Sludge often has costs far in excess of benefits, and it can have hurt the most vulnerable members of society.
However, nudges aimed at reducing carbon emissions could have a pernicious indirect effect if they offer the promise of a ‘quick fix’ and thereby undermine support for policies of greater impact.
The IF/THEN Plan has helped people achieve all sorts of goals, including ones that are either habitual or automated. It has helped people deal with a fear of spiders (IF I see a spider, THEN I will keep calm). It has helped people score higher on IQ tests by completing them more efficiently (IF I complete a question, THEN I will move immediately to the next). It has even helped groups of business leaders make commercially advantageous decisions by overcoming confirmation bias. Again, this might seem strange, but let’s look to the evidence: In 2006, Peter Gollwitzer and a fellow researcher, Paschal Sheeran analysed 94 independent studies like the above, involving over 8000 participants and found a medium-to-large effect size of the IF/THEN Plan on goal attainment.
social proof, peak end experience, gifting, spark curiosity, offer "delighters"
A central challenge for all health-related gamification programs is engaging participation, particularly among high-risk patients. Several design elements commonly found within gamified health and wellness programs could be made more engaging by incorporating behavioral insights.
Like the physical properties of the universe, human behavior is complicated. And just as Newton’s Laws describe the motion of physical objects, these Laws of Human Behavior aim to provide a general model for how humans behave. People tend to stick to the status quo unless the forces of friction or fuel push us off of our path; behavior is a function of the person and their environment; every decision includes tradeoffs and the potential for unintended consequences.