At this week’s Habit Summit in San Francisco, I talked about the role of engagement in creating new habits. I called my talk “Highway to the Habit Zone” not just to reference Kenny Loggins, but to emphasize that if you don’t engage people in an experience, they won’t experience enough repeated exposure to the cue-response-reward cycle to truly develop a habit. Continue reading Engagement Powers the Habit Cycle
The big thing on my mind right now is preparing for my presentation at SXSW next Saturday. My J&J colleague and pal Raphaela O’Day and I are going to be discussing “Moral Issues in Designing for Behavior Change,” and how we grapple with them as psychologists who design and create interventions to improve health and healthcare.
Continue reading Moral Issues in Designing for Behavior Change
Companies that do “year in review” features for their customers can often spark continued engagement by supporting the key psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. By reviewing all of the customer’s activity, showing how it adds up to bigger outcomes, and how the customer is part of a larger community, the reviews can make people feel like their consumer habits were meaningful. I’ve received these sorts of round-ups in past years from Map My Run and Blue Apron and found them engaging. Continue reading A Slightly Less Than Motivating Year In Review: Delta Airlines
Last week I went to the Innovation Learning Network in Person meeting in Austin, TX. Part of the agenda was going on a mystery “innovation safari” to a local organization thinking innovatively about health and wellness. My assignment was to go to the Community First! Village, operated by Mobile Loaves & Fishes. Full disclosure: I was skeptical based on the limited information I had boarding the shuttle to go to the village. Continue reading A Behavior Change Perspective on the Community First! Village in Austin
I believe in personalization.
Evidence has firmly established that more personalized behavior change programs are more effective. People perceive personalized information as more relevant, are more likely to remember it, and more likely to actually make changes as a result of it. That’s the entire premise that the startup I worked for, HealthMedia, was founded against, and the validity of the approach is why Johnson & Johnson acquired us and made that personalized behavior change capability part of their enterprise offerings. Continue reading Personalization: Good for Health Interventions, Maybe Not for Mattresses
After I posted about seemingly obvious information not necessarily being obvious to the people we design for, someone reached out to me on Twitter to challenge my points. We went back and forth for a bit, disagreeing on whether to design for what he called “the lowest common denominator” of user, someone who is not knowledgeable or engaged. His concern (as I interpret it) was that in targeting that type of user, we reduce the utility of anything we build for the people who might be better equipped to use it. And so I found myself wondering, does making it easy mean designing for the lowest common denominator? Continue reading Does Making It Easy Mean Designing for the Lowest Common Denominator?
A while back I wrote about a program that uses choice to help picky eaters broaden their palates. I just finished reading First Bite: How We Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson, where she describes a more intensive version of the choice paradigm to help what is know as “restricted eaters” gain comfort with more foods. The basic premise of Wilson’s work is that taste is learned; anyone can expand their food repertoire with practice. Continue reading The Psychology of Adventurous Eating
My favorite fitness is solo fitness, but I’m increasingly in the minority on that one (or so it seems). There have always been group fitness opportunities but they seem to be increasing in number. Here in Boston, we have new boutique gyms and studios opening every month, and programs like ClassPass are making them more easily accessible to anyone (although their recent price hike might change that). One of the biggest free fitness movements in the country, the November Project, started here, and I can think of at least three or four free running clubs in my neighborhood alone.
Whether you work in a formal corporate environment or a laid-back creative one, most of us experience some degree of tension between individual and group success. As we work, we want our teams and companies to do well and look good. Yet, when it’s time for recognition, we also want people to notice our own accomplishments. Striking the wrong balance between individual and group success can lead to several sub-optimal motivational outcomes. Specifically, people may not engage and turn in their best work if they feel like their contributions are either undervalued or under-recognized. Continue reading Organizational Dynamics: Balancing Individual Achievement with Team Success
Want someone to quit tobacco? Chances are your persuasive tactics to get them to stop smoking will include some cold hard facts about the damage that cigarettes can cause to your lungs and heart. Maybe you’ll use some photos that show the aging effects of smoking on skin and teeth. Or perhaps you can share statistics around the rates of disease for people who smoke compared to people who don’t. These approaches may make intuitive sense, but they rarely work to get someone to quit smoking. Knowledge alone doesn’t change behavior. Continue reading The Diminishing Returns of Education for Health Behavior Change