Results of Social and Behavioral Sciences Team's Nudges
Excellent coverage of why health behavior change is so difficult and some of the most relevant theories (including Consumer Information Processing Model)
Anyone interested in influence should start by focusing on the environment of the individual they are trying to affect. Analyze that environment and find ways to make desirable actions easy and undesirable actions difficult. Remember that the human cognitive system aims to get the best possible outcome for the least possible energy cost.
Successfully achieving a behavior change requires three types of power: want power, will power, and won't power: Want power requires patients to understand that making a change is consistent with their own internal vision of what they have for themselves and their lives, not what someone else wants Will power involves patients figuring out what they need to do to make the change — whether it's getting up earlier to have time to exercise, grocery shopping in a different way, or a willingness to get on a treadmill even when they're tired — before they are good at it, when it's still uncomfortable or distressing Won't power requires acknowledging what is getting in the way of making a specific behavior changed and figuring out a way to say “no” to whatever is pushing them toward counterproductive behaviors
The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) conducted research with local partners in Peru, Senegal, Tanzania, and Vietnam to understand the factors that affect an individual’s decision to practice handwashing with soap. The research informed the implementation of handwashing project activities in the four countries. Following national and local government implementation, WSP and its partners gathered valuable lessons, which inform this handwashing with soap toolkit. The toolkit, intended for practitioners interested in behavior change, is organized into four modules, each with reports and presentations about the lessons learned from the projects, as well as mass media, direct consumer contact, and interpersonal communication tools used throughout the project.
Halpern et al. ended up demonstrating the importance of loss aversion in two different ways. The more obvious is that smokers are far more likely to quit if they stand to lose money if they fail. The more subtle is that the very prospect of incurring losses makes people far less willing to enter a smoking-cessation program. Despite the greater comparative effectiveness of the deposit program, the reward program is likely to be more successful, because far more people will sign up for it.
Mental contrasting is essentially contrasting your happy, dream goal with your current reality, emphasizing the need for action, while implementation intentions are "if-then" statements about how you will deal with obstacles. The link goes to a journal article in which this combined technique was used to help women become more physically active, and the effect was sustained over months.
Great example of sales/marketing methods to learn from
In general, “you’re 10 to 15 times as likely to buy something your friends bought because you have the same inherent preferences, and twice as likely because your friends influenced you,” Aral says. However, the level of peer influence varies by how connected the people are— fellow alumni exert more influence over one another than neighbors—and whether or not the message is personal.