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What does it take to improve your behavior?

 

It can be as simple as adding a sign:

We conducted an observational study to examine the effects of descriptive norm information on daily health behaviors. For 3 weeks, in three university campus locations, we counted the number of people who used an elevator versus stairs to go up one or two floors. Signs posted near two of the elevators during the second week stated either that most people used the stairs or that taking the stairs was a good way to get some exercise. In the location with the norm information sign, the number of individuals who used the elevator versus the stairs dropped by 46% between the first and second week. This lower rate of elevator use was also found the week after the sign had been removed. No significant change in elevator use was seen either at the location with the sign encouraging exercise or at the location with no sign. The findings are consistent with the focus theory of normative conduct and suggest avenues for improving everyday health behaviors.

Source: “Changing everyday health behaviors through descriptive norm manipulations” from Social Influence, Volume 6, Issue 2, 2011

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About Eric Barker