Behavioral influence & Nudging
From unhealthy eating habits to speeding in traffic. From lending a helping hand to following safety rules. Sometimes, our behavior benefits from a nudge in the right direction. Behavioral science offers a strong basis for effective interventions that either decrease undesired behavior or promote desired behavior.
Small changes in the environment or in communication can make a large difference in human behavior. Unravel Behavior helps governments and organizations to translate the latest insights from behavioral science into successful interventions.
The behavioral team of Unravel Behavior consists of experts in the field of social psychology, cognition and neuroscience. This trifecta of evidence based insights forms the basis for effective interventions tapping into our hardwired behavioral drivers.
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Problem: Sports events can be infamous for sparking violent behavior among spectators. The psychological cause can be found in the phenomenon of deindividuation: people lose their sense of identity and personal responsibility more quickly when they are in groups.
Solution: Classical rational solutions, such as increased security and stricter fines, often do a poor job of diminishing aggression and can even backfire and actually increase aggressive behavior. To a behavioral scientist, this is not surprising, because they do not change anything about the actual psychological cause of the problem: deindividuation. Mirrors, however, provide an elegantly simple solution to aggression related problems. Seeing yourself in a mirror increases your self-consciousness and feelings of responsibility. The placement of more mirrors in soccer stadiums seem to significantly decrease aggression during games.
Problem: People do not wash their hands often enough and, when they do, they don’t wash them extensively enough. Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships are therefore notorious. The psychological reason for this lack of hand hygiene appears to lie in the lack of psychological urgency and impact. The urgency of washing your hands – in other words: bacteria and viruses – is not visible to the naked eye. As a result, people are subject to the invulnerability bias: people understand the urgency rationally, but feel emotionally distant to the detrimental consequences. They feel as ‘this will not happen to me’.
Solution: Classical rational solutions, such as informative campaigns on the necessity of washing your hands, will not be effective. Previous research shows that even signs urging for hand washing right next to the tap will not work. The reason is simple: this problem is not caused by a lack of knowledge, but by a lack of urgency. To overcome the Invulnerability Bias, the enemy (in this case the reason why we should wash our hands) must be substantially present. An enlarged bacteria or virus, for example in the form of a sticker or animated projection, seems to be a successful way to overcome this bias. It increases emotional awareness of the problem and results in people washing their hands more frequently and increases the time they spend washing their hands.