Saving Lives By Closing the Intention-Action Gap - Behavioral Scientist
2 excellent case studies
2 excellent case studies
Directing drivers to “think of themselves” successfully led to far more drivers switching off their idling engines: More drivers switched off their engines in the private self-focused condition (51%) compared with the baseline condition (20%). “The odds ratios revealed that drivers were 1.83 times more likely to switch off their engines in the instructive watching eyes condition, and 4.82 times more likely in the private self-focus condition than in the baseline condition,” Meleady and colleagues write.
Two examples of campaigns tackling misbeliefs - one addressing misperceptions of the likelihood of an event (girls contracting HIV in South Africa) and one addressing misperceptions of social norms (women working outside the home in Saudi Arabia):
The small changes are often the ones that make a difference. Our guide presents effective, light-touch strategies to help your students get to and through college.
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.
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.
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
The results suggest that there was no significant difference in compliance rates between treatment and control schools six months post-treatment. To our knowledge, it is the first randomized controlled trial evaluating the use of descriptive social norms in increasing immunization compliance rates in a school-based setting. In addition, it serves as an example of embedding a behaviorally-informed experiment in a government program utilizing high-quality administrative data.
Especially striking was something that I was not surprised by but had never heard explained before: the idea that groups conform, but always in a specific direction. They always become more extreme. They never move towards the middle. Sunstein addresses the phenomenon by describing relevant research. He writes: The effect of group deliberation was to shift individual opinions toward extremism. Group “verdicts” on climate change, affirmative action, and same-sex unions were more extreme than the predeliberation average of group members. In addition, the anonymous views of individual members became more extreme, after deliberation, than were their anonymous views before they started to talk. We see this phenomenon everywhere, especially social media, but the simple principle of conformity by itself doesn’t explain it. If a group conforms over time, shouldn’t their new views converge on the original group mean? Wouldn’t people’s views be just as likely to become more moderate than more extreme? The answer, of course, is no. Why? Because someone with more extreme views is usually more outspoken or passionate about those views, and that looks to most people like confidence. And we tend to conform to the views of those who seem more confident. Maybe Facebook isn’t the best place to form our political opinions.
"My little pitch is that a social movement worth celebrating doesn't only un-falsify people's preferences and unleash them to say what they actually think. It also casts a fresh light on the past. It doesn't just elicit preexisting judgement, it produces new ones."
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.
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.
In a study, people ate less meat and conserved more water when they thought those behaviors reflected how society is changing.
Levels of social trust, averaged across a country, predict national economic growth as powerfully as financial and physical capital, and more powerfully than skill levels – over which every government in the world worries about incessantly. It is also associated with many other non-economic outcomes, such as life satisfaction (positively) and suicide (negatively).
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.
"Perhaps the most powerful influence on human behaviour is other people."