Learn how to change behavior.

The world's largest collection of resources and data on behavioral science.

Behavior change and behavior design models

Tactics that change behavior

Tracking cognitions or emotions
Tracking cognitions or emotions

Tracking cognitions or emotions (often both) refers to a person recording when they have certain thoughts or feelings. The person might note every time they experience a given thought or specific feeling whenever it comes up, or alternatively simply keep a diary of any notable thoughts or feeling at pre-determined times. Often, this also includes noting what triggered or occured before or alongside these thoughts and emotions.

Many therapuetic approaches utilize this tool, even if only for brief periods, to help a system, clinician, or patient better understand the patterns around their thoughts and feelings. Often, this data is integrated into additional behavior change approaches, like behavioral activation or implementation intentions.

AI or Chatbot
AI or Chatbot

Using a chatbot or simulated conversational interaction.

Lotteries
Lotteries

Lotteries are any form of assigning an award where there is an element of randomness or chance.

One example is a prize-linked savings account (PLSAs). One of the earliest of these was the Million a Month Account (MAMA) in South Africa, where First National Bank offered account-holders with qualifying deposits a chance to win up to one million rand each month (along with other smaller prizes given out at random).

Lotteries may be used with non-financial rewards as well, e.g. offering tickets to a sold-out play or sporting event for employees reaching certain performance benchmarks.

AI or Chatbot
AI or Chatbot

Using a chatbot or simulated conversational interaction.

Group Incentives
Group Incentives

Group incentives refer to structure where an individual's likelihood or size of reward is influenced by others. The intention is to leverage positive peer pressure by causing compliant participants to influence less compliant participants to improve their behavior.

For example, sales teams may be offered a bonus based on an office's collective revenue generation or provided all individuals meet a baseline level of performance. Similarly a multi-site franchise may offer an incentive for whichever location improves their performance the most over the prior month.

Tracking behavior
Tracking behavior

Self-monitoring or tracking simply refers to a person measuring their behavior over time.

Often, merely tracking a behavior can influence the likelihood or frequency with which a person performs the behavior or related ones. For example, many pedometer studies increase walking activity merely by improving awareness, and many interventions that merely consist of rewarding someone for weighing themselves result in weight loss.

That said, people often find tracking behaviors tedious and lose interest after a short period, so behavior designers should seek to reduce the burden of self-monitoring by collecting information automatically or doing so in a low-cost way.

Financial Incentives
Financial Incentives

Financial incentives are monetary rewards given for performing a certain behavior. These come in many different varieties; for example, they may be guaranteed vs lottery-based, or group-oriented vs individually-assigned.

Skill Coaching
Skill Coaching

Skill coaching simply refers to guiding a person to acquire a new behavior or set of behaviors, often by scaling the information and challenge level with their growing ability.

Examples of this might include teaching someone to cook healthy foods or training them in various self-regulation techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy. This coaching may be done by an individual or automated through digital experiences.

Products that change behavior

Research on behavior change