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.
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. https://bi.dpc.nsw.gov.au/blog/2018/12/13/a-guide-to-reducing-the-effects-of-scarcity/
In it, he examined the work of psychologists and neuroscientists who are studying the human penchant for storytelling. What they are discovering is fascinating, but it boils down to this: People are wired to enjoy stories. Here are some key quotes that I took away from Hsu’s article: Storytelling is one of the few human traits that are truly universal across culture and through all of known history. … People in societies of all types weave narratives … And when a characteristic behavior shows up in so many different societies, researchers pay attention: its roots may tell us something about our evolutionary past. However narrative is defined, people know it when they feel it. Whether fiction or nonfiction, a narrative engages its audience through psychological realism — recognizable emotions and believable interactions among characters. [T]he best stories … captivate their audience, whose emotions can be inextricably tied to those of the story’s characters. Such immersion is a state psychologists call “narrative transport”. [M]ost scientists are starting to agree: stories have such a powerful and universal appeal that the neurological roots of both telling tales and enjoying them are probably tied to crucial parts of our social cognition. A 2007 study … found that a test audience responded more positively to advertisements in narrative form as compared with straightforward ads that encouraged viewers to think about the arguments for a product. Similarly … labeling information as “fact” increased critical analysis, whereas labeling information as “fiction” had the opposite effect. Studies such as these suggest people accept ideas more readily when their minds are in story mode as opposed to when they are in an analytical mind-set.Scientific American Mind - September 18, 2008 The Secrets of Storytelling: Why We Love a Good Yarn Our love for telling tales reveals the workings of the mind By Jeremy Hsu When Brad Pitt tells Eric Bana
1) Manufacture and maintain progress; 2) I don't vs I can't; 3) Implementation intentions
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.
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.
The table below provides guidance for thinking through when specific policy tools are useful and when choice architecture or nudging can be used to complement or enhance a particular strategy.
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
As social marketers and change agents, our theories drive how we understand and describe problems and propose and test different solutions to them. What is a theory? In science, it is a way in which we think about how the...
New research finds that people tend toward appeals that aren't simply more positive or negative but are infused with emotionality, even when they're trying to sway an audience that may not be receptive to such language. The findings appear in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
The amount and nature of value in a particular product or service always lie in the eye of the beholder, of course. Yet universal building blocks of value do exist, creating opportunities for companies to improve their performance in current markets or break into new ones. A rigorous model of consumer value allows a company to come up with new combinations of value that its products and services could deliver. The right combinations, our analysis shows, pay off in stronger customer loyalty, greater consumer willingness to try a particular brand, and sustained revenue growth. We have identified 30 “elements of value”—fundamental attributes in their most essential and discrete forms. These elements fall into four categories: functional, emotional, life changing, and social impact. Some elements are more inwardly focused, primarily addressing consumers’ personal needs. For example, the life-changing element motivation is at the core of Fitbit’s exercise-tracking products. Others are outwardly focused, helping customers interact in or navigate the external world. The functional element organizes is central to The Container Store and Intuit’s TurboTax, because both help consumers deal with complexities in their world.
Underpinned by reinforcement learning, a fundamental theory of the dynamics of behavior change, BCD also incorporates theories about the evolution of behavioral control and human motivation, and a revised version of 'behavior settings' theory which helps explain the relationship between individuals and the environment. These theories suggest that, in order to change specific behaviors, interventions must create surprise, revalue the target behavior and facilitate performance of the changed behavior by modifying the environment in which it takes place. BCD involves a process for designing such interventions that follows five steps: Assess, Build, Create, Deliver, and Evaluate.
Diagram of cognitive biases clustered by meaning and application
Rather than pulling behavioural insights together into a tasty, cohesive recipe, behavioural economics has offered myriad tasty morsels and left it up to the audience to reconcile them. People want choice. People get overwhelmed by choice. People follow what others do. People don’t like to be seen to follow others. People act impulsively. People stick with the status quo. People are lazy. People like challenge. Agghhhh! To be useful behavioural economics needs to evolve from a series of interesting anecdotes to a framework that can help analyse and resolve behavioural challenges. The Williams Behaviour Change Model So that’s what I’ve cooked up. I’ve created your very own behavioural framework that is as tasty as a non-deconstructed sticky date pudding. This model gets beyond behavioural economics for its own sake and provides a structured way for you to interrogate your behavioural challenge and design how to get people to take the action you want.
But you have to get System 1 onside in the first place. Decisions have three big levers – in branding, in politics, in anything else. We call them Fame, Feeling & Fluency. Does a choice come to mind easily (Fame)? Then it’s a good choice. Does a choice feel good? (Feeling) Then it’s a good choice. Is a choice easy to recognise and understand? (Fluency) Then it’s a good choice.
WASH/sanitation programs that focus on higher-level motivations on Maslow's model (e.g., self-esteem, love and belonging, and safety) are much more successful than those that focus only on physiological motivations (e.g., health) - a reminder to dig deeper to connect core values to the desired behavior.
Though nudge-economics remains seductive, what once seemed like a panacea has come to look a bit more like a series of sticking plasters. Earlier this year the nudge unit was removed from direct government control, partly sold to the Nesta innovation charity run by New Labour guru Geoff Mulgan, a move which seemed to suggest the prime minister no longer viewed it as quite so central to his philosophy. That move has coincided with a backlash, or at least a critical analysis, of some of the tenets on which its brand of behavioural economics is based.