The study found that the non-narrative (expository) profile produced a greater increase in knowledge, while the narrative profile led to greater change in more responsible preventive attitudes and behaviours.
I’m often asked for my top tips for managing Human Risk. Over the next five weeks, I’m going to reveal the Five Rules of Human Risk, beginning, appropriately enough with the first: Rule 1: Human Risk can be managed but not eliminated On the face of it, this is a statement of the blindingly obvious. Yet it is fundamentally important; if we really want to manage Human Risk, then we need to accept that we can’t control every aspect of human decision-making. No matter how hard we try.
When people make decisions with a pre-selected choice option – a ‘default’ – they are more likely to select that option. Because defaults are easy to implement, they constitute one of the most widely employed tools in the choice architecture toolbox. However, to decide when defaults should be used instead of other choice architecture tools, policy-makers must know how effective defaults are and when and why their effectiveness varies. To answer these questions, we conduct a literature search and meta-analysis of the 58 default studies (pooled n = 73,675) that fit our criteria. While our analysis reveals a considerable influence of defaults (d = 0.68, 95% confidence interval = 0.53–0.83), we also discover substantial variation: the majority of default studies find positive effects, but several do not find a significant effect, and two even demonstrate negative effects. To explain this variability, we draw on existing theoretical frameworks to examine the drivers of disparity in effectiveness. Our analysis reveals two factors that partially account for the variability in defaults’ effectiveness. First, we find that defaults in consumer domains are more effective and in environmental domains are less effective. Second, we find that defaults are more effective when they operate through endorsement (defaults that are seen as conveying what the choice architect thinks the decision-maker should do) or endowment (defaults that are seen as reflecting the status quo). We end with a discussion of possible directions for a future research program on defaults, including potential additional moderators, and implications for policy-makers interested in the implementation and evaluation of defaults.
Teen vaping continues to rise across the country. Without effective intervention, we are facing a new generation of nicotine addiction. That’s why we feel it...
Lots of examples of behavioral science-driven interventions to drive environmentally friendly behavior
Some interventions are so obvious that they don’t need justifying. Or do they?
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.