Recommendations for literature on behavioral change
May 9, 2016 1:44 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to get your recommendations for literature, research, etc.- academic and otherwise- on behavioral change.

I'm writing a policy paper on sustainability and technology, and many of the problems I'm coming up against are behavioral rather than technical: namely, how to get people to change their behavior (for example, many of the environmental benefits of self-driving cars will only happen if people in cities give up private car ownership). I'd like to delve into the literature- academic and otherwise- on behavioral change, that is, how and why people change their behavior and what kinds of incentives/inducements etc. lead to behavioral change.

Thank you!
posted by foxy_hedgehog to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

I read that book about four years ago and still mentally refer to it/think about reading it today.
posted by itesser at 2:10 PM on May 9, 2016

posted by KateViolet at 2:13 PM on May 9, 2016

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This is a very straightforward and fun read about different ways to encourage behavior change.

Making Health Communication Programs Work (PDF) from the US Dep't of Health and Human Services and the National Cancer Institute. Appendix B has a good introduction to behavior change models. The rest of the PDF is good, too, for seeing how this behavior change knowledge gets applied in practical interventions.

on preview: itesser got to Switch before me! But I'm still going to second it!
posted by cadge at 2:20 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Do you have an affiliation with an academic library? What you need is an expert literature search on your topic to pull up scholarly literature. If not, you can submit a request through a public library, though I'd focus on a big branch that has a dedicated reference librarian in your field of study.

Once you have a few articles that are really fitting the bill, you can work backwards by looking at the articles they reference and start to build from there. If you can come to the librarian with a couple articles that are getting at the heart of what you're interested in, they will be able to better help you and refine the search.
posted by LKWorking at 2:49 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

This a very huge subject with many fields invested in creating behavioral change (psychology, psychiatry, occupational therapy, marketing, advertising, speech pathology, neurology, motor learning, etc.). Framing your question in the form of specific outcome and individual(s) will help us point you in the right direction. Some example, The client will return to store within 7 days to return recyclable batteries OR 70% of neighborhood members will participate in the recyclable battery program. And so on. It's really tough to answer this question without knowing more details and the instruments you hope to affect change within your targeted population/subject.
posted by Brent Parker at 4:56 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Influencer. It's a fairly populist treatment, but I've definitely got quite a bit out of the general framework of the different factors they use (essentially a matrix of personal/social/structural against motivation/ability) and the examples are interesting.
posted by crocomancer at 4:25 AM on May 10, 2016

I strongly suggest The Power of Habit : Why We Do What We Do What We Do in Business and in Life by Charles Duhigg.

You'll find there's a habit loop of Cue-->Routine-->Reward; and to change the routine, you must change the reward.
posted by qsysopr at 5:09 AM on May 11, 2016

« Older Fat man would like to start lifting weights   |   What is this bragging music called and where can I... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.