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The New Psychology of Behaviour Change ‘What Works in Behaviour Change?’ Edinburgh June 28 th 2010 Stephen Reicher, Psychology, University of St. Andrews.

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Presentation on theme: "The New Psychology of Behaviour Change ‘What Works in Behaviour Change?’ Edinburgh June 28 th 2010 Stephen Reicher, Psychology, University of St. Andrews."— Presentation transcript:

1 The New Psychology of Behaviour Change ‘What Works in Behaviour Change?’ Edinburgh June 28 th 2010 Stephen Reicher, Psychology, University of St. Andrews sdr@st-andrews.ac.uk

2 How not to influence people You don’t influence people by telling them what they should do It provokes resentment and the experience of domination It provokes resistance It provokes reactance It undermines authority

3 How to influence people You do influence people by clarifying what we want to do It induces goodwill and the experience of facilitation It produces mobilisation It creates conversion It enhances authority

4 Influence as a group process Influence and behaviour change depend upon the creation of a shared identity (a ‘we’ relationship) between the influencer and the influenced: Regarding the source: ‘S/he is of us’ Regarding the message: ‘S/he speaks for us’ And, where both apply, ‘we’ follow

5 Rules concerning the source Rule 1: The source must be one of us Rule 2: The source must do things for us Rule 3: The source must do things with us

6 Rules concerning the source: An illustration Sovereignty resides in my person alone… my courts derive their existence and their authority from me alone. The plenitude of this authority resides with me. They exercise it only in my name and it may never be turned against me. I alone have the power to legislate. I do not pretend to any superior abilities, but will give place to no-one in meaning to preserve the freedom, happiness, and glory of my dominions, and all their inhabitants, and to fulfill the duty to my God and my neighbour in the most extended

7 Rules concerning the message Rule 1: Proposals must reflect group identity Rule 2: Proposals must make the group distinctive Rule 3: Proposals must be a source of group pride

8 Rules concerning the message: An illustration “encapsulated within the Scottish psyche is a degree of carefulness… carefulness about being able to balance the budget, an absence of any sort of liking for debt” “We care more about the poor and this is reflected I think in voting patterns…. ‘A man’s a man for all that etc… I think that again epitomizes our attitude towards the corporate community that is Scotland”

9 Applying the principles and rules to ‘Green’ behaviours Four matched Schools: 1. ‘information and moral exhortation’ (baseline) 2. baseline + comparative information 3. baseline + group reward 4. baseline + information and reward Measured actual energy consumption Measured attitudes and intentions through survey and interviews

10 Energy consumption Electricity savings for participating and non-participating schools School Average saving for six periods Peak saving period (P3) Final saving period (P6) 1 (basic)-6%-9%-2% 2 (reward)0%-11%-3% 3 (comparative)-9%-25%-10% 4 (reward + comparative) -4%-10%2% (increase) All 4 participating schools -4%-13%-3% All 9 non-participating schools 3% (increase)-8%4% (increase)

11 Energy attitudes and intentions People oppose the initiative when: (a) They see it as reflecting a management that is insensitive to the realities of staff experience (source as OG) (b) They see it as imposed, patronising and hectoring (source as OG) (c) They don’t see it as reflecting a real commitment to sustainability (message as non- normative)

12 An overall model of intentions

13 Conclusions Promoting (green) behaviour will only be successful if it comes to be seen as a group norm The process by which (green) behaviour is advocated is critical to whether the message is embraced The content of (green) behaviour change campaigns must pay as much attention to defining ‘who we are’ as to advocating ‘what we should do. ‘We’ is the most important word in behaviour change

14 For more…. sdr@st-andrews.ac.uk


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