Innovative solutions based on how people act and make decisions in the real world are often buried in academic journals. The Behavioral Evidence Hub (B-Hub) brings them into the light of day. On the B-Hub you’ll find strategies proven to amplify the impact of programs, products, and services—and improve lives. Projects + checklists
We demonstrate that the mere-measurement effect occurs because asking an
intention question is not perceived as a persuasion attempt. In experiments 1 and
2, we show that when persuasive intent is attributed to an intention question,
consumers adjust their behavior as long as they have sufficient cognitive capacity
to permit conscious correction. In experiment 3 we demonstrate that this finding
holds with product choice and consumption, and we find that persuasionknowledge
mediates the effects. In experiment 4, we show that when respondents are educated that an intention question is a persuasive attempt, the behavioral impact of
those questions is attenuated.
In April 2018, almost 1,200 people gathered in Indonesia for the Summit on Behaviour and Social Change Communication. Practitioners, researchers, donors, and leaders from more than 400 organisations travelled to Nusa Dua from the Asia Pacific region, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America. This issue features ten papers prepared by SUMMIT participants based on their presentations. They cover a range of challenges from using story-telling to help fishermen in Belize deal with threats to their occupations, and influencing adolescent girls and boys in India to address gender discrimination and stereotyping – to the use of social media to change norms regarding babies’ health in Malawi.
Cowry developed three interventions to tackle these challenges and improve health and safety: painting the canteen a shade of pink proven to reduce stress hormones; introducing a gold card system whereby workers who demonstrated safe behaviours entered a weekly prize lottery; and having specialists walk around site asking scripted questions that prompt workers to think about safety.
•Despite its sequential nature, healthcare seeking is often analysed as single event.
•We demonstrate the value of sequential healthcare data analysis.
•Descriptive analysis exposes otherwise neglected behavioural patterns.
•Sequence-insensitive indicators can be inconsistent and misleading.
•Sequence-sensitive evaluation hints at adverse behaviours of wealthy patients.
The Theory & Techniques Tool is an interactive resource providing information about links between behaviour change techniques (BCTs) and their mechanisms of action (MoAs). This information is based on MRC-funded research triangulating evidence of links made by authors in published scientific studies and by expert consensus [Project Website - http://www.ucl.ac.uk/behaviour-change-techniques]. It was developed to support intervention designers, researchers and theorists in the development and evaluation of theory-based interventions.
But to be effective, nudges should be calibrated; “one size fits all” approaches tend to fall short of expectations. Instead, policymakers can tailor their nudges to align with these three dimensions:
Spectrums of acceptability (and deviance). How strictly must targets adhere to the rule? While driving a couple of miles over the speed limit is unlikely to result in a traffic violation, attempting to bring a weapon onto an airplane requires zero-tolerance enforcement.
Frequency of action. How often must the target group provide input? It may be easier to have targets make a single decision to contribute or obey, as opposed to encouraging them to repeatedly make the same decision over time. For example, people usually only need to choose to be an organ donor once, but drivers put their seat belt on every time they get into a car.
Target group diversity. How heterogeneous is your target group? People may come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, have different interests, or may speak another language, all of which makes it challenging to apply a blanket rule with universal success. Moreover, targets can be geographically scattered or online, making it difficult for policymakers to surveil the target group. For example, all vehicle owners must register their cars, but not everyone should seek the same preventative medical treatments. And even those that do require similar treatments may have different motivations for doing so.
Our work published this week analyses all 111 cases studies of behavioral techniques used by governments compiled by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Our analysis demonstrates that none of the techniques used have scientific proven effectiveness.
To provide practitioners with useful information about how to promote proenvironmental behavior (PEB), a meta-analysis was performed on 87 published reports containing 253 experimental treatments that measured an observed, not self-reported, behavioral outcome. Most studies combined multiple treatments, and this confounding precluded definitive conclusions about which individual treatments are most effective. Treatments that included cognitive dissonance, goal setting, social modeling, and prompts provided the overall largest effect sizes (Hedge’s g > 0.60).
A new study published in Science has quantified the number of people who need to take a stand before they can affect societal change on important topics like sexual harassment and human rights.
And that number? It’s a mere 25% of any group. Only 25% of people need to adopt a new social norm to create an inflection point where everyone in the group follows.
Our results show that 48% of people who were exposed to the ads made future searches for weight loss information, compared with 32% of those in the control group—a 50% increase. The advertisements varied in efficacy. However, the effectiveness of the advertisements may be greatly improved by targeting individuals based on their lifestyle preferences and/or sociodemographic characteristics, which together explain 49% of the variation in response to the ads. These results demonstrate that online advertisements hold promise as a mechanism for changing population health behaviors.
An August 2017 survey from CivicScience, a next-generation consumer and media analytics company, found that very few US internet users have made a purchase based on ads they saw on social platforms, like Facebook or Snapchat.
From my own experience, there appears to be a scientific trend (that I have not systematically evaluated) that successful behavior change programs tend to run for approximately 2-months, and that after this point, there is a large drop in adherence and impact. The big statistical meta-analysis that I carried out a few years back (http://www.jmir.org/2011/1/e17/), showed that online programs lasting more than 4 months, all failed. So as a rule of thumb, for most general purposes, 8-weeks is not a bad approximate time duration for many programs.
The results lead to some useful messaging recommendations, such as active publics being more effectively moved to action through motivational frames, rather than diagnostic (i.e. problem-focused) or prognostic (i.e. solution-focused) frames.
A negatively framed message (i.e. which describes the behavior that should not be done) is more effective, at least in this context, than a positive framed message that describes the preferred behavior.
If you or a small group of colleagues are the ones trying to bring a new practice to your organization, you are an innovator. You are inspired by a new practice you discovered, but will likely face problems getting it accepted. Consider that the challenges you experience when spreading a new practice are totally normal. It doesn’t mean you are failing, should stop trying, or there is anything “wrong” with staff and colleagues. It just means that your role is to plan how to motivate other members of the system