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Behavior change and behavior design models

Tactics that change behavior

Commitment Devices
Commitment Devices

Commitment devices are tools that attempt to bridge the gap between a person's initial motivation to perfrom the behavior and the typical pattern of noncompliance as time goes on.

One prominent example is the "Ulysses Pact," where Filipino banking customers were offered the option to enroll in an account where their ability to make withdrawals would be limited. In a study by Ashraf and Karlan (2005), participants with the commitment account saved 81% more than those with typical accounts.

There are many other examples of commitment devices. Temptation bundling is a form of commitment device where people only engage in an enjoyable activity when it's simultaneous with an activity they intend to do more (for example, only listening to a certain podcast or audiobook while walking on a treadmill).

Pre-paying for a service is a basic form of commitment device, and one used by Dan Ariely when he intended to increase his fruit and vegetable consumption. He paid for a year of biweekly deliveries from a local CSA program up-front.

Peer Mentoring
Peer Mentoring

Peer mentoring refers to having individuals with a certain lived experience guide or train others facing similar ones. It is typically considered in contrast to expert coaching, formal teaching, or management guided by a clinician or doctor.

Compare, for example, a weight loss program delivered by a registered dietician vs. group sessions led by program 'graduates' like WW (formerly Weight Watchers). Note that these two approaches are not mutually exclusive.

Education or Information
Education or Information

Education refers to empowering a person with more knowledge or training than they had previously. While providing information alone is often a suboptimal way to drive meaningful behavior change or long-term interventions, the right message at the right time can be a powerful part of a behavior change strategy.

Commitment Devices
Commitment Devices

Commitment devices are tools that attempt to bridge the gap between a person's initial motivation to perfrom the behavior and the typical pattern of noncompliance as time goes on.

One prominent example is the "Ulysses Pact," where Filipino banking customers were offered the option to enroll in an account where their ability to make withdrawals would be limited. In a study by Ashraf and Karlan (2005), participants with the commitment account saved 81% more than those with typical accounts.

There are many other examples of commitment devices. Temptation bundling is a form of commitment device where people only engage in an enjoyable activity when it's simultaneous with an activity they intend to do more (for example, only listening to a certain podcast or audiobook while walking on a treadmill).

Pre-paying for a service is a basic form of commitment device, and one used by Dan Ariely when he intended to increase his fruit and vegetable consumption. He paid for a year of biweekly deliveries from a local CSA program up-front.

Coaching or Counselling
Coaching or Counselling

Coaching or counselling here refers to having a trained person provide guidance to someone attempting a behavior. Many mental health and lifestyle programs utilize coaching in various forms, including phone calls, video chat, text messaging, or in-person sessions. Some programs have replaced some or all of these traditionally human-delivered touchpoints with AI or rules-based interactions.

Peer Mentoring
Peer Mentoring

Peer mentoring refers to having individuals with a certain lived experience guide or train others facing similar ones. It is typically considered in contrast to expert coaching, formal teaching, or management guided by a clinician or doctor.

Compare, for example, a weight loss program delivered by a registered dietician vs. group sessions led by program 'graduates' like WW (formerly Weight Watchers). Note that these two approaches are not mutually exclusive.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT is a therapeutic approach originalled developed by Steven Hayes. It borrows from previous concepts like cognitive behavioral therapy and Morita therapy.

The principles of ACT are fairly systematic and lend themselves well to program design, finding empirical support in adaptations like 2morrow's smoking cessation and pain management interventions.

Goal Setting
Goal Setting

Goal setting simply refers to a person choosing a specific result to aim at achieving. This might include an outcome (e.g. a goal weight) or a behavior (e.g. exercise 90 minutes 3 times a week).

Products that change behavior

Research on behavior change