As interpreters, we’re well-trained to distill complex information and deliver it in engaging and accessible ways. But why do we do what we do? Why do we spend hours developing compelling explanations and seeking out mind-blowing visuals? Beyond fostering understanding, ultimately we want our interactions to have impact. We want people to see or respond to the world differently.
The disappointing truth is that most of the time information alone doesn’t change behaviours – and may not even change beliefs. The good news is that recent advances in behavioural science can provide us with new opportunities to drive change through a better understanding of what the decision landscape looks like for our audience members.
In this mini-webinar, Heidi will challenge some of our assumptions about how people perceive, process and respond to information. We’ll learn how to look through a behavioural lens to see people as they are – rather than the sensible, rational actors we would like them to be – and we’ll come away with some tips and strategies from the ‘behavioural science toolkit’ to help maximise the impact of our climate communications.
Robert Cialdini (Arizona State University) and colleagues:
- Crafting Normative Messages to Protect the Environment (Cialdini, 2003) - this one actually includes an experiment they did in Petrified Forest National Park
- A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels (Goldstein et al., 2008)
- A Focus Theory of Normative Conduct: When Norms Do and Do Not Affect Behavior (Kallgren et al., 2000)
- And a nice review article: Influences of social norms on climate change-related behaviors (Cialdini & Jacobson, 2021)
Gregg Sparkman (Stanford, now has his own lab at Princeton)
- Dynamic Norms Promote Sustainable Behavior, Even if It Is Counternormative (Sparkman & Walton, 2017)
- Witnessing change: Dynamic norms help resolve diverse barriers to personal change (Sparkman & Walton, 2019)
Some recommended books on behavioural science:
- Thinking, Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman)
- How Change Happens (Cass Sunstein)
- Nudge (Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein)
- Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions (Dan Ariely)
- Behavioural Public Policy (Adam Oliver - one of my professors)
- Influence (Robert Cialdini)
- Animal Spirits (George Akerloff and Robert Shiller) - sorry, it’s about economics, not animals...
The organisation mentioned in the Q&A that does a lot of work on using behavioural science for conservation is “rare” https://behavior.rare.org/
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