Overall, our research showed that the cognitive mechanisms of goal contagion might not be sufficient to elicit prosocial behavior in a person observing every day helping. Even though observers inferred the prosocial goal, they did not act on it when given the opportunity. For now, it remains unclear whether goal contagion is limited to specific kinds of goals—not including a prosocial goal—or whether other factors hindered the effect in our studies.
Individuals viewed calendars showing today as the first day versus a control.
Goal motivation increased if today matched the first day on a calendar.
Individuals made more self-reported progress towards personal goals if calendar matched.
David Oliver wins gift cards for staying away from drugs. At St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia — which treats more overdoses than any other hospital in Canada — a program rewards users of cocaine and other stimulants with prizes when they don’t use. It’s a new approach to help substance abusers, and it’s also being tried in Veterans Affairs hospitals across the United States.
When it comes to motivating people to vote, identity theory is influential. Studies have shown us that how we refer to people ahead of a vote can influence their likelihood to vote. In short, if we use a noun (a ‘voter’) rather than a verb (‘to vote’), we can see double digit increases in voter turn-out.
To be clear, this is one of the largest effects identified in a large-scale field experiment — an uptick of over 10%, simply as a result of reframing the request to use the vote.
Identity theory tells us this happens because the noun version (‘a voter’) speaks to our self-concept; wanting to align with what society expects of us, increases the likelihood of us engaging in that behaviour. It’s an opportunity for positive distinctiveness.
Based on their comprehensive review of available research, Duckworth, Milkman, and Laibson propose a framework that organizes evidence-based self-control strategies along two dimensions based on how the strategies are implemented and who is initiating them.
They observe that in some cases the best self-control strategy involves us changing the situation to create incentives or obstacles that help us exercise self-control, such as using apps that restrict our phone usage or keeping junk food out of the house. In other cases it’s more effective to change how we think about the situation — for example, by making an if-then plan to anticipate how we’ll deal with treats in the office — so that exercising self-control becomes more appealing or easier to accomplish.
Other strategies work better when someone else implements them for us. For example, our electricity company might use social norms to prompt a change in our thinking, showing us how our energy usage compares with that of our neighbors. And policymakers often use situational constraints to prompt behavior focused on the long-term. Examples range from incentives (e.g., tax rebates for eco-friendly building materials) to penalties (e.g., raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol). Employers are increasingly using another type of situational constraint, defaults, to encourage employees to save for retirement; many are requiring people to opt out of an employer-provided retirement plan if they don’t want to participate.
Giving advice, as opposed to receiving it, appears to help unmotivated people feel powerful because it involves reflecting on knowledge that they already have. So if you’re completely clueless about the resources or strategies necessary for progress, asking for help is probably the best first step. But if you (like most of us), know what you need to do, but are having trouble actually doing it, giving someone advice may be the push you need.
In a study, the researchers said that smokers who had limited familiarity with information technology were more likely to consider antismoking messages manipulative and boring when they browsed those messages on a website with interactive features, such as sliders, mouseovers and zooming tools.
This article reports on new research that finds certain messages reduce fear of sharks, key to promoting conservation-minded responses to shark bites. Here it is argued that the sophistication in public feelings toward these highly emotional events has allowed new actors to mobilize and given rise to the ‘Save the Sharks’ movement. In a unique experiment coupling randomly assigned intent-based priming messages with exposure to sharks in a ‘shark tunnel’, a potential path to reduce public fear of sharks and alter policy preferences is investigated. Priming for the absence of intent yielded significant fear extinction effects, providing a viable means of increasing support for non-lethal policy options following shark bite incidents. High levels of pride and low levels of blame for bite incidents are also found. In all, this article provides a step towards improving our understanding of fear and fear reduction in public policy.
The Subtask 8 deliverable was to create a testable toolbox for behaviour change interventions:
• A description and evaluation of the validity and effectiveness of the Collective Impact Approach in the energy
arena, as a peer-reviewed paper (Rotmann, 2016 and 2017a, Cobben 2017).
• A Decision-making Tree that enables Behaviour Changers to better utilise the findings of ST1 & 2
• A peer-reviewed paper on the impact of storytelling in energy research (Rotmann, 2017b; Moezzi, Janda and
Rotmann, 2017; Rotmann, 2018).
• A collection of sector stories from each Behaviour Changer (see ST6 Final reports & Rotmann, 2017b)
• This includes a list of behavioural intervention tools each Behaviour Changer has at their disposal in each of
their national and sectoral contexts (see Task 24 workshop minutes and ST6 Final reports).
• Continued testing and development of evaluation tools created in ST 3 & 9 (Rotmann and Chapman, 2018).
• Testable toolbox for national Behaviour Changers (when choosing to take part in ST11, see Cowan et al 2017
and 2018) and/or synthesis of internationally-valid tools to feed into the Overarching Story
When Everything Looks Like a Nail: Building Better “Behavioral Economics” Teams
By Jason Collins
Nudges Alone Won’t Save Nemo: Conservation in the Great Barrier Reef
By John Pickering
From Ph.D. to Policy: Facilitating Connections Between Junior Scholars and Policymakers
By Ashley Whillans and Heather Devine
Shouldn’t We Make It Easy to Use Behavioral Science for Good?
By Manasee Desai
RCTs Are Not (Always) the Answer
By Tania Ramos and João Matos
Why Governments Need to Nudge Themselves
By Michael Hallsworth and Mark Egan
Behavioral Development Economics
By Syon Bhanot and Aishwarya Deshpande
Why Governments Should Treat Cybersecurity the Way They Do Infectious Diseases
By Karen Renaud and Stephen Flowerday
Pour One Out for Nudge’s Forgotten Peers
By Jesse Dashefsky
Helping Parents Follow Through
By Nadav Klein, Keri Lintz, Ariel Kalil, and Susan E. Mayer
A New Model for Integrating Behavioral Science and Design
By Sarah Reid and Ruth Schmidt
Applying Behavioral Science Upstream in the Policy Design Process
By Kate Phillips
Lessons in “Nudging” From the Developing World
By Abigail Goodnow Dalton
Choice Architecture 2.0: How People Interpret and Make Sense of Nudges
By Job Krijnen
What the Origins of the “1 in 5” Statistic Teaches Us About Sexual Assault Policy
By Alexandra Rutherford
Nudge Turns 10: A Q&A With Cass Sunstein
By Elizabeth Weingarten
Nudge Turns 10: A Q&A With Ricard Thaler
By Evan Nesterak
Government policies and services can be hard to navigate for people
who are already under pressure. By understanding the effects of scarcity,
we can make these easier to access for the people who need them.
Whenever you're trying to change a behavior, you should ask yourself the following four questions:
1. Am I clearly prompting the target person to do the behavior I want?
2. Is the behavior really hard to do?
3. Is the target person motivated to do the behavior I want them to do?
4. Am I rewarding the target person for doing the behavior?
That's your behavior-design checklist.
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.