1. Learn how habits work

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Promoting habit formation
  1. When designing behaviour change interventions, it is important to focus both on disrupting existing undesirable habits and developing new desirable habits.
  2. Effective strategies include self-monitoring, planning, salient cues, positive feedback, and mentor support.
  3. Unwanted habits can be broken by restructuring personal environments, or programming new responses to existing environments.
Lally, Phillippa, and Benjamin Gardner. “Promoting habit formation.” Health Psychology Review 7.sup1 (2013): S137-S158.
Breaking a habit: A further role of the phonological loop in action control
  1. In addition to its well-established role in rapid task switching, the phonological loop also contributes to active goal maintenance in longer-term action control.
Saeki, Erina, et al. “Breaking a habit: A further role of the phonological loop in action control.” Memory & cognition 41.7 (2013): 1065-1078.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a Unified Model of Behavior Change
  1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focuses on six processes (acceptance, defusion, self, now, values, and action) that bear on a single overall target (psychological flexibility).
Hayes, Steven C., Jacqueline Pistorello, and Michael E. Levin. “Acceptance and commitment therapy as a unified model of behavior change.” The Counseling Psychologist 40.7 (2012): 976-1002.
How do habits guide behavior? Perceived and actual triggers of habits in daily life
  1. Strong habits are influenced by context cues. Specifically, performance contexts—but not goals—automatically triggered strongly habitual behaviors in memory and triggered overt habit performance. Nonetheless, habits sometimes appear to be linked to goals because people self-perceive their habits to be guided by goals. Furthermore, habits of moderate strength are automatically influenced by goals, yielding a U-shaped relation between habit strength and goal influence. Thus, research that taps self-perceptions or moderately strong habits may find habits to be linked to goals.
Neal, David T., et al. “How do habits guide behavior? Perceived and actual triggers of habits in daily life.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48.2 (2012): 492-498.
Experiences of habit formation: A qualitative study
  1. Behavior change is initially ‘cognitively effortful’, but as automaticity increases, enactment becomes easier.
Lally, Phillippa, Jane Wardle, and Benjamin Gardner. “Experiences of habit formation: A qualitative study.” Psychology, health & medicine 16.4 (2011): 484-489.
Routine and feelings of safety, confidence, and well-being
  1. People’s feelings of safety, confidence, and well-being increase with routine behavior.
Avni‐Babad, Dinah. “Routine and feelings of safety, confidence, and well‐being.” British journal of Psychology 102.2 (2011): 223-244.
The importance of habits in eating behaviour. An overview and recommendations for future research
  1. Interventions targeting habitual behaviour can try to (i) change the situation that triggers the habitual behaviour, (ii) promote or inhibit the habitual response, and (iii) change relevant contingencies.
van’t Riet, Jonathan, et al. “The importance of habits in eating behaviour. An overview and recommendations for future research.” Appetite 57.3 (2011): 585-596.
The automatic component of habit in health behavior: Habit as cue-contingent automaticity
  1. Habit can be usefully characterized as a form of automaticity that involves the association of a cue and a response. Habit is not merely a frequently performed behavior.
  2. To create a new habit, encourage repetition of behavior in a stable context or in response to a stable cue.
  3. For breaking bad habits, modifying intentions to simply not perform an existing habit may have more limited success because of cue exposure.
Orbell, Sheina, and Bas Verplanken. “The automatic component of habit in health behavior: habit as cue-contingent automaticity.” Health Psychology 29.4 (2010): 374.
Do habits depend on goals? Perceived versus actual role of goals in habit performance
  1. Direct cuing is a core attribute of habits that accounts for a central challenge of behavior change. Changing behavioral goals rarely engenders habit change.
Neal, David T., et al. “Do habits depend on goals? Perceived versus actual role of goals in habit performance.” Manuscript under review, University of Southern California (2009).
The habitual consumer
  1. Habits are a specific form of automaticity in which responses are directly cued by the contexts (e.g., locations, preceding actions).
  2. In daily life, the tendency to act on habits is compounded by everyday demands, including time pressures, distraction, and self-control depletion.
  3. Habits are broken through the strategic deployment of effortful self-control.
  4. Habits influence the after the fact inferences that people make about their behavior.
Wood, Wendy, and David T. Neal. “The habitual consumer.” Journal of Consumer Psychology 19.4 (2009): 579-592.
The unconscious mind
  1. It is concluded that in both phylogeny and ontogeny, actions of an unconscious mind precede the arrival of a conscious mind—that action precedes reflection.
Bargh, John A., and Ezequiel Morsella. “The unconscious mind.” Perspectives on psychological science 3.1 (2008): 73-79.
A new look at habits and the habit-goal interface
  1. Once a habit is formed, just the triggers are needed, don’t need a goal.
  2. Initially, goals can motivate repetition that leads to habit formation by promoting exposure to cues that trigger habits.
Wood, Wendy, and David T. Neal. “A new look at habits and the habit-goal interface.” Psychological review 114.4 (2007): 843.
Asymmetric Paternalism to Improve Health Behaviors
  1. Learning about the desired change is not enough. Information-only interventions have limited efficacy because of a variety of behavioral economics concepts, including: Status quo / default bias; bias towards present vs. future (i.e., hyperbolic discounting); bias towards tangible benefits.
  2. Institutions and incentives should be structured and aligned in such a way to maximize the likelihood that individuals will engage in behaviors that are beneficial.
Loewenstein, George, Troyen Brennan, and Kevin G. Volpp. “Asymmetric paternalism to improve health behaviors.” Jama 298.20 (2007): 2415-2417.
Habits—A repeat performance
  1. Direct cuing and motivated contexts best account for the characteristic features of habit responding.
Neal, David T., Wendy Wood, and Jeffrey M. Quinn. “Habits—A repeat performance.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15.4 (2006): 198-202.
The role of the basal ganglia in habit formation
  1. There is a neural basis for habit formation via analysis of the basal ganglia.
Yin, Henry H., and Barbara J. Knowlton. “The role of the basal ganglia in habit formation.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 7.6 (2006): 464-476.
The goal-dependent automaticity of drinking habits
  1. When habits are established, simply activating a goal related to the focal behaviour automatically elicits that behaviour.
Sheeran, Paschal, et al. “The goal‐dependent automaticity of drinking habits.” British Journal of Social Psychology 44.1 (2005): 47-63.
The Primacy of Self-Regulation in Health Promotion
  1. Achievement of widespread health benefits requires merging the unique contributions of three models, each drawing on a different knowledge base. The first is a theoretical model that provides the guiding principles. The second is a translational and implementational model that converts theoretical principles into effective health practices. The third is a social diffusion model to promote widespread adoption of successful practices by functional adaptation to different life circumstances.
Bandura, Albert. “The primacy of self‐regulation in health promotion.” Applied Psychology 54.2 (2005): 245-254.
Reflections on Past Behavior: A Self-Report Index of Habit Strength
  1. Habit is a psychological construct, rather than simply past behavioral frequency.
Verplanken, Bas, and Sheina Orbell. “Reflections on Past Behavior: A Self‐Report Index of Habit Strength1.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 33.6 (2003): 1313-1330.
Habits in Everyday Life: Thought, Emotion, and Action
  1. Habitual behavior is associated with lesser awareness, reduced stress, and greater feelings of control.
  2. Increased automaticity of habitual behavior means people are less likely to be responsive to changes in relevant stimuli.
Wood, Wendy, Jeffrey M. Quinn, and Deborah A. Kashy. “Habits in everyday life: thought, emotion, and action.” Journal of personality and social psychology 83.6 (2002): 1281.
Habits as knowledge structures: automaticity in goal-directed behavior
  1. Automaticity in habits is conditional on the presence of an active goal.
  2. The formation of implementation intentions (i.e., the creation of a strong mental link between a goal and action) may simulate goal-directed automaticity in habits.
Aarts, Henk, and Ap Dijksterhuis. “Habits as knowledge structures: automaticity in goal-directed behavior.” Journal of personality and social psychology 78.1 (2000): 53.
Beyond behaviorism: On the automaticity of higher mental processes
  1. This research has revealed that social interaction, evaluation and judgment, and the operation of internal goal structures can all proceed without the intervention of conscious acts of will and guidance of the process.
Bargh, John A., and Melissa J. Ferguson. “Beyond behaviorism: on the automaticity of higher mental processes.” Psychological bulletin 126.6 (2000): 925.
Habit, Attitude, and Planned Behaviour: Is Habit an Empty Construct or an Interesting Case of Goal-directed Automaticity?
  1. Habits appear as boundary conditions of the validity of models of planned behaviour and rational decision-making. A habit seems to be accompanied by an enduring cognitive orientation, referred to as “habitual mind-set”, that makes an individual less attentive to new information and courses of action, and thus contributes to the maintenance of habitual behaviour.
Verplanken, Bas, and Henk Aarts. “Habit, attitude, and planned behaviour: is habit an empty construct or an interesting case of goal-directed automaticity?.” European review of social psychology 10.1 (1999): 101-134.
The unbearable automaticity of being
  1. Mental representations designed to perform a certain function will perform that function once activated, regardless of where the activation comes from.
  2. Automatic self-regulation is thought lite, ~1/3 less effort, freeing the individual of the burden of their operation.
Bargh, John A., and Tanya L. Chartrand. “The unbearable automaticity of being.” American psychologist 54.7 (1999): 462.
Habit and intention in everyday life: the multiple processes by which past behavior predicts future behavior
  1. To change an existing behavior, you want to impede performance of the current behavior while facilitating the new behavior.
Ouellette, Judith A., and Wendy Wood. “Habit and intention in everyday life: the multiple processes by which past behavior predicts future behavior.” Psychological bulletin 124.1 (1998): 54.
How Users Reciprocate to Computers: An experiment that demonstrates behavior change
  1. Computers motivated users to change their behavior by leveraging the “rule of reciprocity”.
Fogg, B. J., and Clifford Nass. “How users reciprocate to computers: an experiment that demonstrates behavior change.” CHI’97 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. ACM, 1997.
Habit reversal: A review of applications and variations
  1. Awareness training and the use of a competing response are the essential components of habit reversal treatment.
Woods, Douglas W., and Raymond G. Miltenberger. “Habit reversal: A review of applications and variations.” Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry 26.2 (1995): 123-131.
The four horsemen of automaticity: Intention, awareness, efficiency, and control as separate issues
  1. We have the opportunity to create automated routines. The outcomes of our conscious (non-automated) cognitive processes are very different, depending on our awareness of influences, the presence of specific intentions or goals, our supply of attentional resources, and our motivation to take control over decisions and behavior.
Bargh, J. A. “The four horsemen of automaticity: Intention, awareness, efficiency, and control as separate issues.” (1994).
The Theory of Planned Behavior
  1. Intentions to perform behaviors of different kinds can be predicted with high accuracy from attitudes toward the behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control; and these intentions, together with perceptions of behavioral control, account for considerable variance in actual behavior.
Ajzen, Icek. “The theory of planned behavior.” Organizational behavior and human decision processes 50.2 (1991): 179-211.
From Intentions to Actions: A Theory of Planned Behavior
  1. Perceived control over performance of a behavior can account for considerable variance in intentions and actions. Perceived control is comprised of two components: self-efficacy (dealing largely with the ease or difficulty of performing a behavior) and controllability (the extent to which performance is up to the actor).
Ajzen, Icek. “From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior.” Action control. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 1985. 11-39.
Habit-reversal: A method of eliminating nervous habits and tics
  1. Nervous habits persist because of response chaining, limited awareness, excessive practice, and social tolerance. The researchers successfully countered these influences with a treatment of: 1) the client practiced movements which were the reverse of the nervous habit, 2) the client learned to be aware of each instance of the habit and to differentiate it from its usual response chain; and 3) the client was given social approval for their efforts to inhibit the habit.
Azrin, N. H., and R. G. Nunn. “Habit-reversal: a method of eliminating nervous habits and tics.” Behaviour research and therapy 11.4 (1973): 619-628.
Habit
  1. A habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.
Andrews, Benjamin Richard. “Habit.” The American Journal of Psychology 14.2 (1903): 121-149.

 

2. Map the current path

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Attitude Change: Persuasion and Social Influence
  1. Three central motives have been identified that generate attitude change and resistance. These involve concerns with the self, with others and the rewards/punishments they can provide, and with a valid understanding of reality.
Wood, Wendy. “Attitude change: Persuasion and social influence.” Annual review of psychology 51.1 (2000): 539-570.
Habit reversal: A review of applications and variations
  1. Awareness training and the use of a competing response are the essential components of habit reversal treatment.
Woods, Douglas W., and Raymond G. Miltenberger. “Habit reversal: A review of applications and variations.” Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry 26.2 (1995): 123-131.
Habit-reversal: A method of eliminating nervous habits and tics
  1. Nervous habits persist because of response chaining, limited awareness, excessive practice, and social tolerance. The researchers successfully countered these influences with a treatment of: 1) the client practiced movements which were the reverse of the nervous habit, 2) the client learned to be aware of each instance of the habit and to differentiate it from its usual response chain; and 3) the client was given social approval for their efforts to inhibit the habit.
Azrin, N. H., and R. G. Nunn. “Habit-reversal: a method of eliminating nervous habits and tics.” Behaviour research and therapy 11.4 (1973): 619-628.

 

3. Translate goals into habits

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Goal Setting: A Possible Theoretical Framework for Examining the Effect of Priming Goals on Organizational Behavior
  1. Programmatic research in organizational psychology calls into question the criticisms that prime goals reflect experimenter bias, demand effects, and that the effect of the prime is too fragile to be meaningful.
Latham, Gary P. “Goal Setting: A Possible Theoretical Framework for Examining the Effect of Priming Goals on Organizational Behavior.” Current Opinion in Psychology (2016).
Wishful seeing more desired objects are seen as closer
  1. We perceive our environment differenly based on our goals. Although people assume that they see the surrounding environment as it truly is, perception of the natural environment is dependent upon the internal goal states of perceivers. Perceivers tend to see desirable objects (i.e., those that can fulfill immediate goals) as physically closer to them than less desirable objects.
Balcetis, Emily, and David Dunning. “Wishful seeing more desired objects are seen as closer.” Psychological science (2009).
Goal Setting as a Strategy for Dietary and Physical Activity Behavior Change: A Review of the Literature
  1. Goal setting shows promise in promoting dietary and physical activity behavior change among adults, but methodological issues still need to be resolved. Although goal setting is widely used with children and adolescents in nutrition interventions, its effectiveness has yet to be reported.
Shilts, Mical Kay, Marcel Horowitz, and Marilyn S. Townsend. “Goal setting as a strategy for dietary and physical activity behavior change: a review of the literature.” American Journal of Health Promotion 19.2 (2004): 81-93.
Liking Is for Doing: The Effects of Goal Pursuit on Automatic Evaluation
  1. Participants who were actively engaged in goal pursuit, compared with those who were not pursuing the goal, automatically evaluated goal-relevant objects as relatively more positive than goal-irrelevant objects.
Ferguson, Melissa J., and John A. Bargh. “Liking is for doing: the effects of goal pursuit on automatic evaluation.” Journal of personality and social psychology 87.5 (2004): 557.

 

4. Clearly define the new habits

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Beyond Beta-Delta: The Emerging Economics of Personal Plans
  1. Simply prompting people to form concrete plans of action regarding when, where, and how they will implement their intentions produces improvements in follow-through.
Beshears, John, Katherine L. Milkman, and Joshua Schwartzstein. “Beyond Beta-Delta: The Emerging Economics of Personal Plans.” The American Economic Review 106.5 (2016): 430-434.
Beyond good intentions: Prompting people to make plans improves follow-through on important tasks
  1. Prompting people to make concrete and specific plans makes people more likely to act on their good intentions. This works because scheduling tasks makes people more likely to carry them out. They also help cue / trigger people to recall in the right circumstances and in the right moment that they need to carry out a task.
Rogers, Todd, et al. “Beyond good intentions: Prompting people to make plans improves follow-through on important tasks.” Behavioral Science & Policy 1.2 (2015): 33-41.
How Backup Plans Can Harm Goal Pursuit: The Unexpected Downside of Being Prepared for Failure
  1. The mere act of thinking through a backup plan can reduce performance on your primary goal by decreasing your desire for goal achievement.
Shin, Jihae, and Katherine L. Milkman. “How Backup Plans Can Harm Goal Pursuit: The Unexpected Downside of Being Prepared for Failure.” Available at SSRN 2538889 (2014).
Behavioral economics holds potential to deliver better results for patients, insurers, and employers
  1. Making a plan is a lever for behavior change.
Loewenstein, George, David A. Asch, and Kevin G. Volpp. “Behavioral economics holds potential to deliver better results for patients, insurers, and employers.” Health Affairs 32.7 (2013): 1244-1250.
Planning What Not to Eat: Ironic Effects of Implementation Intentions Negating Unhealthy Habits
  1. When implementation intentions have a negating structure (i.e., “if [situation], then not [habitual response]”), these “negation implementation intentions” ironically strengthen the habit one aims to break. Negation implementation intentions are most likely to result in ironic rebound effects when the habit to be negated is strong
Adriaanse, Marieke A., et al. “Planning what not to eat: Ironic effects of implementation intentions negating unhealthy habits.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 37.1 (2011): 69-81.
How to maximize implementation intention effects
  1. If-then planning supports the translation of intentions into actions.
Gollwitzer, Peter M., et al. “How to maximize implementation intention effects.” Then a miracle occurs: Focusing on behavior in social psychological theory and research (2010): 137-161.
When planning is not enough: Fighting unhealthy snacking habits by mental contrasting with implementation intentions (MCII)
  1. A self-regulatory strategy combining mental contrasting with the formation of implementation intentions is an effective strategy for fighting habits. Mental contrasting produces incremental clarity about the critical cues for the unwanted habitual behavior.
Adriaanse, Marieke A., et al. “When planning is not enough: Fighting unhealthy snacking habits by mental contrasting with implementation intentions (MCII).” European Journal of Social Psychology 40.7 (2010): 1277-1293.
Comparing implementation intention interventions in relation to young adults’ intake of fruit and vegetables
  1. ‘If-then’ manipulations are superior in promoting behaviour change in an applied setting.
Chapman, Janine, Christopher J. Armitage, and Paul Norman. “Comparing implementation intention interventions in relation to young adults’ intake of fruit and vegetables.” Psychology and Health 24.3 (2009): 317-332.
Modeling Health Behavior Change: How to Predict and Modify the Adoption and Maintenance of Health Behaviors
  1. The main addition of the Health Action Process Approach to previous models lies in the inclusion of two volitional factors: volitional self-efficacy (either maintenance or recovery self-efficacy) and strategic planning (either action or coping planning).
Schwarzer, Ralf. “Modeling health behavior change: How to predict and modify the adoption and maintenance of health behaviors.” Applied Psychology 57.1 (2008): 1-29.
Helping students turn up for class: Does personality moderate the effectiveness of an implementation intention intervention?
  1. Class attendance was found to be a function of conscientiousness (more conscientious students were more likely to attend), openness to experience (more open students were less likely to attend), goal intentions (more motivated students were more likely to attend), and the implementation intention intervention (students who formed specific plans about when, where, and how to attend were more likely to attend). Furthermore, there was a significant interaction between the implementation intention intervention and conscientiousness; the intervention had a greater impact on class attendance for low or moderately conscientious students than for highly conscientious students.
Webb, Thomas L., Julie Christian, and Christopher J. Armitage. “Helping students turn up for class: Does personality moderate the effectiveness of an implementation intention intervention?.” Learning and individual differences 17.4 (2007): 316-327.
Implementation Intentions and Goal Achievement: A Meta‐analysis of Effects and Processes
  1. Implementation intentions were effective in promoting the initiation of goal striving, the shielding of ongoing goal pursuit from unwanted influences, disengagement from failing courses of action, and conservation of capability for future goal striving.
Gollwitzer, Peter M., and Paschal Sheeran. “Implementation intentions and goal achievement: A meta‐analysis of effects and processes.” Advances in experimental social psychology 38 (2006): 69-119.
Action planning and coping planning for long-term lifestyle change: Theory and assessment
  1. Action plans were more influential early in the rehabilitation process, whereas coping plans were more instrumental later on.
Sniehotta, Falko F., et al. “Action planning and coping planning for long‐term lifestyle change: theory and assessment.” European Journal of Social Psychology 35.4 (2005): 565-576.
Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans
  1. Implementation intentions that link anticipated critical situations to goal-directed responses (“Whenever situation x arises, I will initiate the goal-directed response y!”) further the attainment of goals.
Gollwitzer, Peter M. “Implementation intentions: strong effects of simple plans.” American psychologist 54.7 (1999): 493.
Habit and intention in everyday life: the multiple processes by which past behavior predicts future behavior
  1. Formulate explicit plans to initiate and implement a new behavior.
Ouellette, Judith A., and Wendy Wood. “Habit and intention in everyday life: the multiple processes by which past behavior predicts future behavior.” Psychological bulletin 124.1 (1998): 54.

 

1. Know your “Why?”

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Habitual exercise instigation (vs. execution) predicts healthy adults’ exercise frequency
  1. Exercise instigation habit strength was the only unique predictor of exercise frequency.
Phillips, L. Alison, and Benjamin Gardner. “Habitual exercise instigation (vs. execution) predicts healthy adults’ exercise frequency.” Health Psychology 35.1 (2016): 69.
Financial motivation undermines maintenance in an intensive diet and activity intervention
  1. A main effect of financial motivation predicted a steeper rate of weight regained during the maintenance period. Furthermore, financial motivation and gender interacted significantly in predicting maintenance of healthy diet and activity changes, such that financial motivation had a more deleterious influence among men.
Moller, Arlen C., et al. “Financial motivation undermines maintenance in an intensive diet and activity intervention.” Journal of obesity 2012 (2012).
Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health
  1. Self-determination theory (SDT) is an empirically based theory of human motivation, development, and wellness. The theory focuses on types, rather than just amount, of motivation, paying particular attention to autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and amotivation as predictors of performance, relational, and well-being outcomes. It also addresses the social conditions that enhance versus diminish these types of motivation, proposing and finding that the degrees to which basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are supported versus thwarted affect both the type and strength of motivation. SDT also examines people’s life goals or aspirations, showing differential relations of intrinsic versus extrinsic life goals to performance and psychological health.
Deci, Edward L., and Richard M. Ryan. “Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health.” Canadian psychology/Psychologie canadienne 49.3 (2008): 182.
Cognitive dissonance and the perception of natural environments
  1. Exercising your autonomy to say Yes to the new habits helps you perceive your environment as more supportive of the new habits. Subjects in the high-choice conditions, presumably to resolve cognitive dissonance, perceive the environment to be less aversive than did subjects in the low-choice and control conditions, seeing a shorter distance to travel and a shallower slope to climb.
Balcetis, Emily, and David Dunning. “Cognitive dissonance and the perception of natural environments.” Psychological Science 18.10 (2007): 917-921.
Construal Levels and Self-Control
  1. Utilize high-level construals (which capture global, primary features of an event) for better self-control. High-level construals led to decreased preferences for immediate over delayed outcomes, greater physical endurance, stronger intentions to exert self-control, and less positive evaluations of temptations that undermine self-control.
Fujita, Kentaro, et al. “Construal levels and self-control.” Journal of personality and social psychology 90.3 (2006): 351.
Does changing behavioral intentions engender behavior change? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence
  1. A medium-to-large change in intention leads to a small-to-medium change in behavior.
Webb, Thomas L., and Paschal Sheeran. “Does changing behavioral intentions engender behavior change? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence.” Psychological bulletin 132.2 (2006): 249.
See what you want to see: Motivational influences on visual perception.
  1. The impact of motivation on information processing extends down into preconscious processing of stimuli in the visual environment and thus guides what the visual system presents to conscious awareness.
Balcetis, Emily, and David Dunning. “See what you want to see: motivational influences on visual perception.” Journal of personality and social psychology 91.4 (2006): 612.
Attitude Change: Persuasion and Social Influence
  1. Three central motives have been identified that generate attitude change and resistance. These involve concerns with the self, with others and the rewards/punishments they can provide, and with a valid understanding of reality.
Wood, Wendy. “Attitude change: Persuasion and social influence.” Annual review of psychology 51.1 (2000): 539-570.
Personal Accounts of Successful Versus Failed Attempts at Life Change
  1. Stories reporting successful change attempts were more likely than stories reporting failed attempts to mention intense emotional experiences, external threats, and focal events that often culminated in crystallizations of discontent. These events were related to reevaluations of goals and life meaning and increased motivation to change.
  2. Failure narratives were more likely than success narratives to describe change in terms of willpower and to indicate an active participation in maintaining the status quo.
Heatherton, Todd F., and Patricia A. Nichols. “Personal accounts of successful versus failed attempts at life change.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 20.6 (1994): 664-675.
Strong and weak principles for progressing from precontemplation to action on the basis of twelve problem behaviors
  1. Progression from precontemplation to action is a function of an increase in the pros of a health behavior change and a decrease in the cons of a health behavior change.
Prochaska, James O. “Strong and weak principles for progressing from precontemplation to action on the basis of twelve problem behaviors.” Health psychology 13.1 (1994): 47.
Ringing in the new year: The change processes and reported outcomes of resolutions
  1. Readiness to change and self-efficacy, but not social support or behavioral skills, prospectively predicted successful outcomes.
Norcross, John C., Albert C. Ratzin, and Dorothy Payne. “Ringing in the New Year: The change processes and reported outcomes of resolutions.” Addictive Behaviors 14.2 (1989): 205-212.
Effects of introspection on attitude-behavior consistency: Analyzing reasons versus focusing on feelings
  1. Analyzing reasons reduced attitude-behavior consistency.
Wilson, Timothy D., and Dana S. Dunn. “Effects of introspection on attitude-behavior consistency: Analyzing reasons versus focusing on feelings.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 22.3 (1986): 249-263.
Undermining children’s intrinsic interest with extrinsic reward: A test of the “overjustification” hypothesis
  1. Intrinsic interest in an activity may be decreased by inducing you to engage in that activity as an explicit means to some extrinsic goal.
Lepper, Mark R., David Greene, and Richard E. Nisbett. “Undermining children’s intrinsic interest with extrinsic reward: A test of the” overjustification” hypothesis.” Journal of Personality and social Psychology 28.1 (1973): 129.

 

2. Visualize success

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Changing beliefs and behavior through experience-taking
  1. A first-person narrative elicited the highest levels of experience-taking and produced the greatest change in participants’ behavior.
Kaufman, Geoff F., and Lisa K. Libby. “Changing beliefs and behavior through experience-taking.” Journal of personality and social psychology 103.1 (2012): 1.
Future thought and behaviour change
  1. Positive thinking can be detrimental to effort and success if it comes in the form of fantasies (free thoughts and images about the desired future) rather than beliefs (expectations).
Oettingen, Gabriele. “Future thought and behaviour change.” European review of social psychology 23.1 (2012): 1-63.
Counteracting Obstacles With Optimistic Predictions
  1. Anticipating high (vs. low) obstacles in pursuit of your goals predicts better performance, more time invested in goal activities, and lower health risks by motivating pursuit of the goals.
Zhang, Ying, and Ayelet Fishbach. “Counteracting obstacles with optimistic predictions.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 139.1 (2010): 16.
Promoting prospective self-control through abstraction
  1. Higher-level construals promote use of choice bracketing and self-imposing punishment, enhancing your efforts to protect your valued goals from anticipated temptations.
Fujita, Kentaro, and Joseph C. Roberts. “Promoting prospective self-control through abstraction.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 46.6 (2010): 1049-1054.
Self-regulation of commitment to reduce cigarette consumption: Mental contrasting of future with reality
  1. Mental contrasting of a positive future with negative reality as well as mental contrasting of a negative future with positive reality lead to taking immediate action when you have high expectations of success.
Oettingen, Gabriele, Doris Mayer, and Jennifer Thorpe. “Self-regulation of commitment to reduce cigarette consumption: Mental contrasting of future with reality.” Psychology and Health 25.8 (2010): 961-977.
The Motivating Function of Thinking About the Future: Expectations Versus Fantasies
  1. Positive expectations (judging a desired future as likely) predict high effort and successful performance, but the reverse is true for positive fantasies (experiencing one’s thoughts and mental images about a desired future positively).
Oettingen, Gabriele, and Doris Mayer. “The motivating function of thinking about the future: expectations versus fantasies.” Journal of personality and social psychology 83.5 (2002): 1198.
Self-Regulation of Goal Setting: Turning Free Fantasies About the Future Into Binding Goals
  1. Strong goal commitment arises in light of favorable expectations, and weak goal commitment arises in light of unfavorable expectations. To the contrary, when people only fantasize about a desired future or only reflect on present reality, expectancy-independent moderate goal commitment emerges.
Oettingen, Gabriele, Hyeon-ju Pak, and Karoline Schnetter. “Self-regulation of goal-setting: Turning free fantasies about the future into binding goals.” Journal of personality and social psychology 80.5 (2001): 736.
From Thought to Action: Effects of Process-Versus Outcome-Based Mental Simulations on Performance
  1. Mental simulations enhance the links between thought and action.
Pham, Lien B., and Shelley E. Taylor. “From thought to action: Effects of process-versus outcome-based mental simulations on performance.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25.2 (1999): 250-260.

 

3. Let go of the past

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Put Your Imperfections Behind You: Temporal Landmarks Spur Goal Initiation When They Signal New Beginnings
  1. Emphasizing a temporal landmark (e.g., New Year) increases intentions to initiate goal pursuit. Strengthened motivation to begin pursuing aspirations following such temporal landmarks originates in part from the psychological disassociation these landmarks induce from a person’s past, imperfect self.
Dai, Hengchen, Katherine L. Milkman, and Jason Riis. “Put Your Imperfections Behind You Temporal Landmarks Spur Goal Initiation When They Signal New Beginnings.” Psychological science (2015): 0956797615605818.
How to say “No”: Conviction and identity attributions in persuasive refusal
  1. The refusal frame “I don’t” is more persuasive than the refusal frame “I can’t” because the former connotes conviction to a higher degree. This perceived conviction is tied to the identity-signaling function of the refusal frame.
Patrick, Vanessa M., and Henrik Hagtvedt. “How to say “No”: Conviction and identity attributions in persuasive refusal.” International Journal of Research in Marketing 29.4 (2012): 390-394.
Personal Accounts of Successful Versus Failed Attempts at Life Change
  1. The development of a new sense of identity that incorporated the changed behavior was strongly associated with reports of successful change.
Heatherton, Todd F., and Patricia A. Nichols. “Personal accounts of successful versus failed attempts at life change.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 20.6 (1994): 664-675.

 

1. Make it easy

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Exercise habit formation in new gym members: a longitudinal study
  1. Consistency and low behavioral complexity significantly predicted changes in habit formation over time.
Kaushal, Navin, and Ryan E. Rhodes. “Exercise habit formation in new gym members: a longitudinal study.” Journal of behavioral medicine 38.4 (2015): 652-663.
Smartphone applications to support weight loss: current perspectives
  1. Whereas the conventional wisdom about behavior change asserts that more is better, this model suggests that less may be more because extra techniques may add burden and adversely impact engagement.
Pellegrini, Christine A., et al. “Smartphone applications to support weight loss: current perspectives.” Adv Health Care Technol 1 (2015): 13-22.
Healthy habits: efficacy of simple advice on weight control based on a habit-formation model
  1. The programme (‘Ten Top Tips’) consisted of a list of simple behaviours. This easily disseminable, low-cost, simple intervention produced clinically significant weight loss.
Lally, Phillippa, Alison Chipperfield, and Jane Wardle. “Healthy habits: efficacy of simple advice on weight control based on a habit-formation model.” International Journal of Obesity 32.4 (2008): 700-707.
If at first you don’t succeed: False hopes of self-change
  1. A “false hope syndrome” is characterized by unrealistic expectations about the likely speed, amount, ease, and consequences of self-change attempts.
Polivy, Janet, and C. Peter Herman. “If at first you don’t succeed: False hopes of self-change.” American Psychologist 57.9 (2002): 677.
Defensive Pessimism: Harnessing Anxiety as Motivation
  1. The effects of low expectations and high anxiety on performance may be mediated by the strategies individuals use when approaching risky situations.
Norem, Julie K., and Nancy Cantor. “Defensive pessimism: harnessing anxiety as motivation.” Journal of personality and social psychology 51.6 (1986): 1208.
Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the-door technique
  1. Once someone has agreed to a small request they are more likely to comply with a larger request.
Freedman, Jonathan L., and Scott C. Fraser. “Compliance without pressure: the foot-in-the-door technique.” Journal of personality and social psychology 4.2 (1966): 195.

 

2. Make it fun

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Forming a flossing habit: An exploratory study of the psychological determinants of habit formation
  1. Participants with a more positive attitude flossed more frequently. Stronger automaticity was predicted by positive attitudes, and increased behaviour frequency during and prior to the study.
Judah, Gaby, Benjamin Gardner, and Robert Aunger. “Forming a flossing habit: an exploratory study of the psychological determinants of habit formation.” British journal of health psychology 18.2 (2013): 338-353.
Restoring the self: Positive affect helps improve self-regulation following ego depletion
  1. Positive mood or emotion can counteract ego depletion.
Tice, Dianne M., et al. “Restoring the self: Positive affect helps improve self-regulation following ego depletion.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43.3 (2007): 379-384.

 

1. Set a time boundary

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Put Your Imperfections Behind You: Temporal Landmarks Spur Goal Initiation When They Signal New Beginnings
  1. Emphasizing a temporal landmark (e.g., New Year) increases intentions to initiate goal pursuit. Strengthened motivation to begin pursuing aspirations following such temporal landmarks originates in part from the psychological disassociation these landmarks induce from a person’s past, imperfect self.
Dai, Hengchen, Katherine L. Milkman, and Jason Riis. “Put Your Imperfections Behind You Temporal Landmarks Spur Goal Initiation When They Signal New Beginnings.” Psychological science (2015): 0956797615605818.
The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior
  1. Aspirational behaviors (dieting, exercising, and goal pursuit) increase following temporal landmarks (e.g., the outset of a week/month/year; birthdays; holidays).
Dai, Hengchen, Katherine L. Milkman, and Jason Riis. “The fresh start effect: Temporal landmarks motivate aspirational behavior.” Management Science 60.10 (2014): 2563-2582.
How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
  1. Habit formation ranges from 18 to 254 days; indicating considerable variation.
Lally, Phillippa, et al. “How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world.” European journal of social psychology 40.6 (2010): 998-1009.
The nature of procrastination: a meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure.
  1. Strong and consistent predictors of procrastination were task aversiveness, task delay, self-efficacy, and impulsiveness, as well as conscientiousness and its facets of self-control, distractibility, organization, and achievement motivation.
Steel, Piers. “The nature of procrastination: a meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure.” Psychological bulletin 133.1 (2007): 65.
Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we diet: Effects of anticipated deprivation on food intake in restrained and unrestrained eaters
  1. Merely planning to go on a diet can trigger overeating in restrained eaters.
Urbszat, Dax, C. Peter Herman, and Janet Polivy. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we diet: effects of anticipated deprivation on food intake in restrained and unrestrained eaters.” Journal of abnormal psychology 111.2 (2002): 396.
Procrastination, Deadlines, and Performance: Self-Control by Precommitment
  1. People have self-control problems, they recognize them, and they try to control them by self-imposing costly deadlines. These deadlines help people control procrastination, but they are not as effective as some externally imposed deadlines in improving task performance.
Ariely, Dan, and Klaus Wertenbroch. “Procrastination, deadlines, and performance: Self-control by precommitment.” Psychological science 13.3 (2002): 219-224.

 

2. Schedule the habits

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Reminders Through Association
  1. Employ cue-based reminders that are distinctive relative to other regularly encountered stimuli and other stimuli encountered concurrently.
Rogers, Todd, and Katherine L. Milkman. “Reminders Through Association.” Psychological science (2016): 0956797616643071.
Beyond good intentions: Prompting people to make plans improves follow-through on important tasks
  1. Scheduling tasks makes people more likely to carry them out.
Rogers, Todd, et al. “Beyond good intentions: Prompting people to make plans improves follow-through on important tasks.” Behavioral Science & Policy 1.2 (2015): 33-41.
Beyond Self-Tracking and Reminders: Designing Smartphone Apps That Support Habit Formation
  1. Relying on reminders supported repetition but hindered habit development, while the use of event-based cues led to increased automaticity.
Stawarz, Katarzyna, Anna L. Cox, and Ann Blandford. “Beyond self-tracking and reminders: designing smartphone apps that support habit formation.” Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2015.
Planning Prompts as a Means of Increasing Preventive Screening Rates
  1. Planning prompts can increase follow-through on unpleasant and temporally distant health behaviors like colonoscopies.
Milkman, Katherine L., et al. “Planning prompts as a means of increasing preventive screening rates.” Preventive medicine 56.1 (2013): 92-93.
Construal-level theory of psychological distance
  1. Psychological distance is egocentric: Its reference point is the self in the here and now, and the different ways in which an object might be removed from that point—in time, in space, in social distance, and in hypotheticality—constitute different distance dimensions. Transcending the self in the here and now entails mental construal, and the farther removed an object is from direct experience, the higher (more abstract) the level of construal of that object. Research shows (a) that the various distances are cognitively related to each other, (b) that they similarly influence and are influenced by level of mental construal, and (c) that they similarly affect prediction, preference, and action.
Trope, Yaacov, and Nira Liberman. “Construal-level theory of psychological distance.” Psychological review 117.2 (2010): 440.
I’ll have the Ice Cream Soon and the Vegetables Later: A Study of Online Grocery Purchases and Order Lead Time
  1. People’s ‘should’ selves exert more influence over their choices the further in the future outcomes will be experienced.
Milkman, Katherine L., Todd Rogers, and Max H. Bazerman. “I’ll have the ice cream soon and the vegetables later: A study of online grocery purchases and order lead time.” Marketing Letters 21.1 (2010): 17-35.
Text Messaging as a Tool for Behavior Change in Disease Prevention and Management
  1. There is evidence to support text messaging as a tool for behavior change. Effects exist across age, minority status, and nationality.
Cole-Lewis, Heather, and Trace Kershaw. “Text messaging as a tool for behavior change in disease prevention and management.” Epidemiologic reviews 32.1 (2010): 56-69.
Behavior Change Interventions Delivered by Mobile Telephone Short-Message Service
  1. SMS-delivered interventions have positive short-term behavioral outcomes.
Fjeldsoe, Brianna S., Alison L. Marshall, and Yvette D. Miller. “Behavior change interventions delivered by mobile telephone short-message service.” American journal of preventive medicine 36.2 (2009): 165-173.
Changing behavior by memory aids: a social psychological model of prospective memory and habit development tested with dynamic field data
  1. The effect of a reminder decays over time. This decay is much slower than the development of habits, which, after about a month, were nearly fully developed if the person had executed the behavior sufficiently often. Over time, habits were shown to replace the reminding effect of the external memory aid.
Tobias, Robert. “Changing behavior by memory aids: a social psychological model of prospective memory and habit development tested with dynamic field data.” Psychological review 116.2 (2009): 408.
Discounting Time and Time Discounting: Subjective Time Perception and Intertemporal Preferences
  1. Hyperbolic discounting (i.e., a time-inconsistent model of discounting) exists and is nonlinear, consistent with psychophysical principles. This means people often display extremely high discounting of future outcomes.
  2. These intertemporal preferences are highly context dependent / variable.
Zauberman, Gal, et al. “Discounting time and time discounting: Subjective time perception and intertemporal preferences.” Journal of Marketing Research 46.4 (2009): 543-556.
Resource Slack and Propensity to Discount Delayed Investments of Time versus Money
  1. People discount delayed task outcomes due to perceived changes over time in supply of ‘slack’, the perceived surplus of a given resource available to complete a task.
  2. People expect slack for time to be greater in the future than in the present.
  3. This expectation is more pronounced for time than for money, so hyperbolic discounting should be more pronounced for decisions involving time than money.
Zauberman, Gal, and John G. Lynch Jr. “Resource slack and propensity to discount delayed investments of time versus money.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 134.1 (2005): 23.
Oops, I did it again—relapse errors in routinized decision making
  1. Under severe time pressure, people choose the routine counter to their deviation intention.
Betsch, Tilmann, et al. “Oops, I did it again—Relapse errors in routinized decision making.” Organizational behavior and human decision processes 93.1 (2004): 62-74.
Using checklists and reminders in clinical pathways to improve hospital inpatient care
  1. Significant improvements in the quality of patient care can be achieved by incorporating reminders into clinical pathways.
Wolff, Alan M., Sally A. Taylor, and Janette F. McCabe. “Using checklists and reminders in clinical pathways to improve hospital inpatient care.” Medical Journal of Australia 181 (2004): 428-431.
Predicting Hunger: The Effects of Appetite and Delay on Choice
  1. Advance choices were influenced by current hunger as well as future hunger.
  2. Participants were dynamically inconsistent: they chose far more unhealthy snacks for immediate choice than for advance choice.
Read, Daniel, and Barbara Van Leeuwen. “Predicting hunger: The effects of appetite and delay on choice.” Organizational behavior and human decision processes 76.2 (1998): 189-205.
Prediction of goal-directed behavior: Attitudes, intentions, and perceived behavioral control
  1. The theory of planned behavior permitted more accurate prediction of intentions and goal attainment than did the theory of reasoned action.
Ajzen, Icek, and Thomas J. Madden. “Prediction of goal-directed behavior: Attitudes, intentions, and perceived behavioral control.” Journal of experimental social psychology 22.5 (1986): 453-474.

 

3. Create a reward system

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Framing Financial Incentives to Increase Physical Activity Among Overweight and Obese Adults
  1. Financial incentives framed as a loss were most effective for achieving physical activity goals.
Patel, Mitesh S., et al. “Framing Financial Incentives to Increase Physical Activity Among Overweight and Obese Adults.” Ann Intern Med 164 (2016): 385-394.
Habit formation in children: Evidence from incentives for healthy eating
  1. Providing small incentives doubled the fraction of children eating at least one serving of fruits or vegetables.
  2. Short-run incentives can produce changes in behavior that persist after incentives are removed.
  3. Longer interventions produce more persistent habits.
Loewenstein, George, Joseph Price, and Kevin Volpp. “Habit formation in children: Evidence from incentives for healthy eating.” Journal of health economics 45 (2016): 47-54.
Individual Versus Team-Based Financial Incentives to Increase Physical Activity
  1. Financial incentives rewarded for a combination of individual and team performance were most effective for increasing physical activity.
Patel, Mitesh S., et al. “Individual Versus Team-Based Financial Incentives to Increase Physical Activity: A Randomized, Controlled Trial.” Journal of general internal medicine (2016): 1-9.
Premium-Based Financial Incentives Did Not Promote Workplace Weight Loss In A 2013–15 Study
  1. Employers should test alternatives to the conventional premium adjustment approach by using alternative incentive designs, larger incentives, or both.
Patel, Mitesh S., et al. “Premium-based financial incentives did not promote workplace weight loss in a 2013–15 study.” Health Affairs 35.1 (2016): 71-79.
The Hidden Power of Small Rewards: The Effects of Insufficient External Rewards on Autonomous Motivation to Learn
  1. Small rewards enhance autonomous motivation.
Garaus, Christian, Gerhard Furtmüller, and Wolfgang H. Güttel. “The Hidden Power of Small Rewards: The Effects of Insufficient External Rewards on Autonomous Motivation to Learn.” Academy of Management Learning & Education 15.1 (2016): 45-59.
Randomized Trial of Four Financial-Incentive Programs for Smoking Cessation
  1. Reward-based programs were much more commonly accepted than deposit-based programs, leading to higher rates of sustained abstinence from smoking.
  2. Group-oriented incentive programs were no more effective than individual-oriented programs.
Halpern, Scott D., et al. “Randomized trial of four financial-incentive programs for smoking cessation.” New England Journal of Medicine 372.22 (2015): 2108-2117.
Use of Insurance Against a Small Loss as an Incentive Strategy
  1. Relative to the fixed payment condition, participants in the insurance intervention were 70% more likely to meet their health risk assessment appointment. Fixed payments of $2.59 were needed for every $1 spent on insurance to achieve the same behavioral effect. Loss aversion, probability weighting, and the certainty effect may account for this result.
Meeker, Daniella, et al. “Use of Insurance Against a Small Loss as an Incentive Strategy.” Decision Analysis 12.3 (2015): 122-129.
Financial Incentives for Home-Based Health Monitoring: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  1. A daily lottery incentive improved monitoring rates relative to control.
  2. Lower incentive retained efficacy more than higher incentive once incentives were removed.
Sen, Aditi P., et al. “Financial incentives for home-based health monitoring: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of general internal medicine 29.5 (2014): 770-777.
Interference of the End: Why Recency Bias in Memory Determines When a Food Is Consumed Again
  1. Memory for end enjoyment, rather than beginning enjoyment, of a pleasant experience determines how soon people desire to repeat that experience.
Garbinsky, Emily N., Carey K. Morewedge, and Baba Shiv. “Interference of the end why recency bias in memory determines when a food is consumed again.” Psychological science (2014): 0956797614534268.
Reward-based Incentives for Smoking Cessation: How a Carrot Became a Stick
  1. Incentive program implementation and efficacy varies significantly in different employer contexts based on the underlying culture and philosophy about rewards vs penalties.
Volpp, Kevin G., and Robert Galvin. “Reward-based incentives for smoking cessation: how a carrot became a stick.” JAMA 311.9 (2014): 909-910.
Behavioral economics holds potential to deliver better results for patients, insurers, and employers
  1. Visibility of incentive matters, e.g., separate payment vs. bundled into paycheck.
  2. Losses loom larger than gains.
  3. Frequency of incentive matters, i.e., to affect a person’s behavior that occurs frequently, you need to engage the person at nearly the same frequency.
  4. Other levers: Lottey design for incentives.
Loewenstein, George, David A. Asch, and Kevin G. Volpp. “Behavioral economics holds potential to deliver better results for patients, insurers, and employers.” Health Affairs 32.7 (2013): 1244-1250.
Holding the Hunger Games Hostage at the Gym: An Evaluation of Temptation Bundling
  1. Temptation bundling (e.g., gym-only access to iPods containing tempting audiobooks) improves initial compliance, with majority of participants willing to pay for such devices.
Milkman, Katherine L., Julia A. Minson, and Kevin GM Volpp. “Holding the Hunger Games hostage at the gym: An evaluation of temptation bundling.” Management science 60.2 (2013): 283-299.
Financial motivation undermines maintenance in an intensive diet and activity intervention
  1. Across conditions, a main effect of financial motivation predicted a steeper rate of weight regained during the maintenance period. Furthermore, financial motivation and gender interacted significantly in predicting maintenance of healthy diet and activity changes, such that financial motivation had a more deleterious influence among men.
Moller, Arlen C., et al. “Financial motivation undermines maintenance in an intensive diet and activity intervention.” Journal of obesity 2012 (2012).
Habits make smartphone use more pervasive
  1. Checking behaviors emerge and are reinforced by informational ‘‘rewards’’ that are very quickly accessible.
Oulasvirta, Antti, et al. “Habits make smartphone use more pervasive.” Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 16.1 (2012): 105-114.
Multiple behavior changes in diet and activity: a randomized controlled trial using mobile technology
  1. Remote coaching supported by mobile technology and financial incentives holds promise to improve diet and activity.
Spring, Bonnie, et al. “Multiple behavior changes in diet and activity: a randomized controlled trial using mobile technology.” Archives of internal medicine 172.10 (2012): 789-796.
Peer Mentoring and Financial Incentives to Improve Glucose Control in African American Veterans: A Randomized, Controlled Trial
  1. Peer mentorship improved glucose control better than a financial incentive in a cohort of African American veterans with diabetes.
Long, Judith A., et al. “Peer mentoring and financial incentives to improve glucose control in African American veterans: a randomized trial.” Annals of internal medicine 156.6 (2012): 416-424.
Randomized Trial of Lottery-Based Incentives to Improve Warfarin Adherence
  1. A lottery-based intervention improved control among an a priori group of patients at higher risk for poor adherence (though no affect across all study participants).
Kimmel, Stephen E., et al. “Randomized trial of lottery-based incentives to improve warfarin adherence.” American heart journal 164.2 (2012): 268-274.
The Impact of alternative incentive schemes on completion of health risk assessments
  1. Lottery incentives that incorporate regret aversion and social pressure can provide higher impact for the same amount of money as simple economic incentives.
Haisley, Emily, et al. “The impact of alternative incentive schemes on completion of health risk assessments.” American Journal of Health Promotion 26.3 (2012): 184-188.
Financial Incentives for Extended Weight Loss: A Randomized, Controlled Trial
  1. Financial incentives produced significant weight loss over an 8-month intervention; however, participants regained weight post-intervention (36 weeks later).
John, Leslie K., et al. “Financial incentives for extended weight loss: a randomized, controlled trial.” Journal of general internal medicine 26.6 (2011): 621-626.
Allowing repeat winners
  1. Lottery winners should not be included in subsequent lotteries.
Huesch, Marco D., and Richard Brady. “Allowing repeat winners.” Judgment and Decision Making 5.5 (2010): 374.
A Randomized Controlled Trial of Financial Incentives for Smoking Cessation
  1. Financial incentives + information outperformed information alone in helping employees of a multinational company quit smoking. Outperformance included: Rates of program enrollment and completion; Short, Medium, and Long-term smoking cessation.
Volpp, Kevin G., et al. “A randomized, controlled trial of financial incentives for smoking cessation.” New England Journal of Medicine 360.7 (2009): 699-709.
Financial Incentive–Based Approaches for Weight Loss: A Randomized Trial
  1. Deposit contract and lottery financial incentives enabled veterans to lose more weight over 16 weeks.
Volpp, Kevin G., et al. “Financial incentive–based approaches for weight loss: a randomized trial.” Jama 300.22 (2008): 2631-2637.
Determinants of justification and self-control
  1. Higher effort and excellence feedback increase preferences for vice rewards, but these effects are reversed or reduced when the interchangeability of effort and income is implied.
  2. Willingness to pay in effort is greater for vices than virtues, but willingness to pay in income is higher for virtues.
  3. These effects are magnified among individuals with stronger guilt.
Kivetz, Ran, and Yuhuang Zheng. “Determinants of justification and self-control.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 135.4 (2006): 572.
The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention
  1. The closer to the reward goal, the greater the effect of the reward program.
  2. Program progress can be faked to induce purchase acceleration (e.g., start with 2 stamps out of 10).
  3. A stronger tendency to accelerate toward the goal predicts greater retention and faster reengagement in the program.
Kivetz, Ran, Oleg Urminsky, and Yuhuang Zheng. “The goal-gradient hypothesis resurrected: Purchase acceleration, illusionary goal progress, and customer retention.” Journal of Marketing Research 43.1 (2006): 39-58.
Promotion Reactance: The Role of Effort‐Reward Congruity
  1. Consumers prefer rewards congruent with the effort, allowing them to construe their behavior as autonomous / intrinsically motivated.
Kivetz, Ran. “Promotion reactance: the role of effort‐reward congruity.” Journal of consumer research 31.4 (2005): 725-736.
The Effects of Effort and Intrinsic Motivation on Risky Choice
  1. More effort required enhances preference for sure-small rewards over large-uncertain rewards.
  2. Preference for reward certainty is reduced when the activity is intrinsically motivating.
  3. Continuously increasing the effort level leads to an inverted-U effect on the preference for sure-small over large-uncertain rewards.
Kivetz, Ran. “The effects of effort and intrinsic motivation on risky choice.” Marketing Science 22.4 (2003): 477-502.
The idiosyncratic fit heuristic: Effort advantage as a determinant of consumer response to loyalty programs
  1. When consumers believe they have an effort advantage over others (i.e., an idiosyncratic fit with a loyalty program), higher program requirements magnify this perception of advantage and can increase the overall perceived value of the program and likelihood of joining.
Kivetz, Ran, and Itamar Simonson. “The idiosyncratic fit heuristic: Effort advantage as a determinant of consumer response to loyalty programs.” Journal of marketing research 40.4 (2003): 454-467.
Earning the Right to Indulge: Effort as a Determinant of Customer Preferences Toward Frequency Program Rewards
  1. Higher loyalty program requirements shift preferences in favor of luxury rewards.
  2. Increasing the monetary cost of participating in the loyalty program decreases consumer preferences for luxury rewards.
Kivetz, Ran, and Itamar Simonson. “Earning the right to indulge: Effort as a determinant of customer preferences toward frequency program rewards.” Journal of Marketing Research 39.2 (2002): 155-170.
Self-Control for the Righteous: Toward a Theory of Precommitment to Indulgence
  1. Buying in to indulgence rewards is enhanced when (a) the consequences of the decision will be realized farther in the future, (b) the odds of winning the reward are lower, and (c) consumers anticipate how they will use each possible award.
  2. Indulgence rewards are more effective than cash as incentives for a lottery.
Kivetz, Ran, and Itamar Simonson. “Self-control for the righteous: Toward a theory of precommitment to indulgence.” Journal of Consumer Research 29.2 (2002): 199-217.
Predictability Modulates Human Brain Response to Reward
  1. Variable rewards create the most activity in the reward centers of the brain.
Berns, Gregory S., et al. “Predictability modulates human brain response to reward.” The journal of neuroscience 21.8 (2001): 2793-2798.
Habit and intention in everyday life: the multiple processes by which past behavior predicts future behavior
  1. A potential point of failure is long-term only rewards rather than short-term.
Ouellette, Judith A., and Wendy Wood. “Habit and intention in everyday life: the multiple processes by which past behavior predicts future behavior.” Psychological bulletin 124.1 (1998): 54.
The relation of strength of stimulus to rapidity of habit-formation
  1. An intermediate range of intensity of stimulation proved to be most favorable to the acquisition of a habit.
Yerkes, Robert M., and John D. Dodson. “The relation of strength of stimulus to rapidity of habit‐formation.” Journal of comparative neurology and psychology 18.5 (1908): 459-482.

 

4. Shape your environment

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Exercise habit formation in new gym members: a longitudinal study
  1. Environment significantly predicted changes in habit formation over time.
Kaushal, Navin, and Ryan E. Rhodes. “Exercise habit formation in new gym members: a longitudinal study.” Journal of behavioral medicine 38.4 (2015): 652-663.
Making Choices Impairs Subsequent Self-Control: A Limited-Resource Account of Decision Making, Self-Regulation, and Active Initiative
  1. Making choices led to reduced self-control. Choosing is more depleting than merely deliberating and forming preferences about options and more depleting than implementing choices made by someone else. Anticipating the choice task as enjoyable can reduce the depleting effect for the first choices but not for many choices.
Vohs, Kathleen D., et al. “Making choices impairs subsequent self-control: a limited-resource account of decision making, self-regulation, and active initiative.” (2014): 19.
How do people adhere to goals when willpower is low? The profits (and pitfalls) of strong habits
  1. Willpower depletion increases habit performance, both desirable and undesirable habits.
Neal, David T., Wendy Wood, and Aimee Drolet. “How do people adhere to goals when willpower is low? The profits (and pitfalls) of strong habits.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 104.6 (2013): 959.
How do habits guide behavior? Perceived and actual triggers of habits in daily life
  1. Strong habits are influenced by context cues associated with past performance (e.g., locations). Specifically, performance contexts—but not goals—automatically triggered strongly habitual behaviors in memory and triggered overt habit performance.
Neal, David T., et al. “How do habits guide behavior? Perceived and actual triggers of habits in daily life.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48.2 (2012): 492-498.
Unsure What the Future Will Bring? You May Over-Indulge: Uncertainty Increases the Appeal of Wants over Shoulds
  1. Reducing uncertainty in a decision maker’s environment improves self-control resources and increases individuals’ tendency to favor ‘should’ options over ‘want’ options.
Milkman, Katherine L. “Unsure what the future will bring? You may overindulge: Uncertainty increases the appeal of wants over shoulds.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 119.2 (2012): 163-176.
Economic instruments for obesity prevention: results of a scoping review and modified delphi survey
  1. Weight outcomes are responsive to food and beverage prices.
Faulkner, Guy EJ, et al. “Economic instruments for obesity prevention: results of a scoping review and modified Delphi survey.” International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 8.1 (2011): 1.
Experiences of habit formation: A qualitative study
  1. Habits were typically formed in work-based contexts. Weekends and vacations temporarily disrupted performance due to absence of associated cues, but habits were reinstated on return to work.
Lally, Phillippa, Jane Wardle, and Benjamin Gardner. “Experiences of habit formation: A qualitative study.” Psychology, health & medicine 16.4 (2011): 484-489.
The Restraint Bias: How the Illusion of Self-Restraint Promotes Impulsive Behavior
  1. Restraint bias is a tendency for people to overestimate their capacity for impulse control. This biased perception of restraint had important consequences for people’s self-control strategies. Inflated impulse-control beliefs led people to overexpose themselves to temptation, thereby promoting impulsive behavior.
Nordgren, Loran F., Frenk Van Harreveld, and Joop Van der Pligt. “The restraint bias: How the illusion of self-restraint promotes impulsive behavior.” Psychological Science 20.12 (2009): 1523-1528.
Kitchenscapes, Tablescapes, Platescapes, and Foodscapes
  1. Environments influence the type and amount of food consumed.
Sobal, Jeffery, and Brian Wansink. “Kitchenscapes, tablescapes, platescapes, and foodscapes influences of microscale built environments on food intake.” Environment and Behavior 39.1 (2007): 124-142.
Mindless Eating The 200 Daily Food Decisions We Overlook
  1. We are either unaware of how our environment influences food decisions or we are unwilling to acknowledge it.
Wansink, Brian, and Jeffery Sobal. “Mindless eating the 200 daily food decisions we overlook.” Environment and Behavior 39.1 (2007): 106-123.
Interventions to Break and Create Consumer Habits
  1. We need to disrupt the environmental factors that automatically cue habits. “Downstream-plus” interventions provide informational input at points when habits are vulnerable to change (e.g., moving households, changing jobs). “Upstream” interventions occur before habit performance and disrupt old environmental cues and establish new ones.
Verplanken, Bas, and Wendy Wood. “Interventions to break and create consumer habits.” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 25.1 (2006): 90-103.
The office candy dish: proximity’s influence on estimated and actual consumption
  1. The proximity and visibility of a food can consistently increase an adult’s consumption of it. In addition, people may be biased to overestimate the consumption of foods that are less proximate, and to underestimate those that are more proximate.
Wansink, Brian, James E. Painter, and Yeon-Kyung Lee. “The office candy dish: proximity’s influence on estimated and actual consumption.” International journal of obesity 30.5 (2006): 871-875.
Bad Popcorn in Big Buckets: Portion Size Can Influence Intake as Much as Taste
  1. Even when foods are not palatable, large packages and containers can lead to overeating.
Wansink, Brian, and Junyong Kim. “Bad popcorn in big buckets: portion size can influence intake as much as taste.” Journal of nutrition education and behavior 37.5 (2005): 242-245.
Changing Circumstances, Disrupting Habits
  1. When environment changes, habits cannot be cued by the same stimuli, and performance can be disrupted. Habits were found to survive environment changes only when aspects of the performance context did not change (e.g., participants continued to read the paper with others). In some cases, the disruption in habits also placed behavior under intentional control so that participants acted on their current intentions.
Wood, Wendy, Leona Tam, and Melissa Guerrero Witt. “Changing circumstances, disrupting habits.” Journal of personality and social psychology 88.6 (2005): 918.
Environmental factors that increase the food intake and consumption volume of unknowing consumers
  1. Small structural changes in personal environments can reduce the unknowing overconsumption of food, including package size, plate shape, lighting, socializing, and variety.
Wansink, Brian. “Environmental factors that increase the food intake and consumption volume of unknowing consumers*.” Annu. Rev. Nutr. 24 (2004): 455-479.
Forgetting of Intentions in Demanding Situations Is Rapid
  1. Demanding conditions as well as interruptions revealed rapid forgetting of intentions at levels that would be considered significant in applied settings.
Einstein, Gilles O., et al. “Forgetting of intentions in demanding situations is rapid.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 9.3 (2003): 147.
What does a one-month free bus ticket do to habitual drivers? An experimental analysis of habit and attitude change
  1. Temporary structural change, such as offering auto drivers a temporary free bus ticket, can change behaviors.
Fujii, Satoshi, and Ryuichi Kitamura. “What does a one-month free bus ticket do to habitual drivers? An experimental analysis of habit and attitude change.” Transportation 30.1 (2003): 81-95.
The automated will: Nonconscious activation and pursuit of behavioral goals
  1. Nonconsciously activated goals effectively guide action, enabling adaptation to ongoing situational demands.
Bargh, John A., et al. “The automated will: nonconscious activation and pursuit of behavioral goals.” Journal of personality and social psychology 81.6 (2001): 1014.
Counteractive Self-Control in Overcoming Temptation
  1. Short-term costs elicit self-control strategies for self rather than others, before rather than after behavior, when long-term benefits are important rather than unimportant, and when the costs are moderate rather than extremely small or large.
Trope, Yaacov, and Ayelet Fishbach. “Counteractive self-control in overcoming temptation.” Journal of personality and social psychology 79.4 (2000): 493.
Self-regulation and depletion of limited resources: Does self-control resemble a muscle?
  1. Coping with stress, regulating negative affect, and resisting temptations require self-control, and after such self-control efforts, subsequent attempts at self-control are more likely to fail.
Muraven, Mark, and Roy F. Baumeister. “Self-regulation and depletion of limited resources: Does self-control resemble a muscle?.” Psychological bulletin 126.2 (2000): 247.
Ego Depletion: Is the Active Self a Limited Resource?
  1. The self’s capacity for active volition is limited and a range of seemingly different, unrelated acts share a common resource.
Baumeister, Roy F., et al. “Ego depletion: is the active self a limited resource?.” Journal of personality and social psychology 74.5 (1998): 1252.
Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and stereotype activation on action
  1. Evidence of an automatic behavior priming effect for self-fulfilling prophecies.
Bargh, John A., Mark Chen, and Lara Burrows. “Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and stereotype activation on action.” Journal of personality and social psychology 71.2 (1996): 230.
Ironic processes of mental control
  1. Under conditions that reduce capacity, the monitoring process may enhance a person’s sensitivity to mental contents that are the ironic opposite of those that are intended.
Wegner, Daniel M. “Ironic processes of mental control.” Psychological review 101.1 (1994): 34.
Environmental control of goal-directed action: automatic and strategic contingencies between situations and behavior
  1. Goal-directed action can be triggered directly by environmental stimuli, without the need for conscious involvement.
Bargh, John A., and Peter M. Gollwitzer. “Environmental control of goal-directed action: automatic and strategic contingencies between situations and behavior.” (1994).

 

5. Track & monitor

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Social embeddedness in an online weight management programme is linked to greater weight loss
  1. Adherence to self-monitoring is significantly correlated with weight loss.
Poncela-Casasnovas, Julia, et al. “Social embeddedness in an online weight management programme is linked to greater weight loss.” Journal of The Royal Society Interface 12.104 (2015): 20140686.
Wearable Devices as Facilitators, Not Drivers, of Health Behavior Change
  1. Barriers to success with wearables include: high prices, potential inaccuracy of metrics, inconsistency of use, and difficulties in sustaining motivation.
  2. Successful use of wearable health devices will depend more on the design of engagement strategies than the technology itself.
Patel, Mitesh S., David A. Asch, and Kevin G. Volpp. “Wearable devices as facilitators, not drivers, of health behavior change.” Jama 313.5 (2015): 459-460.
Dietary restraint and self-regulation in eating behavior
  1. A sustained effort to monitor and control food intake characterizes successful long-term weight maintenance.
Johnson, Fiona, Michelle Pratt, and Jane Wardle. “Dietary restraint and self-regulation in eating behavior.” International journal of obesity 36.5 (2012): 665-674.
Self-Monitoring and Eating-Related Behaviors Associated with 12-Month Weight Loss in Postmenopausal Overweight-to-Obese Women
  1. Completing more food journals was associated with a greater percent weight loss.
Kong, Angela, et al. “Self-monitoring and eating-related behaviors are associated with 12-month weight loss in postmenopausal overweight-to-obese women.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 112.9 (2012): 1428-1435.
Can’t Control Yourself? Monitor Those Bad Habits
  1. Vigilant monitoring aids habit control, not by changing the strength of the habit memory trace, but by heightening inhibitory, cognitive control processes.
Quinn, Jeffrey M., et al. “Can’t control yourself? Monitor those bad habits.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 36.4 (2010): 499-511.
Effect of pedometer-based physical activity interventions: a meta-analysis
  1. The use of pedometers has a moderate and positive effect on the increase of physical activity.
Kang, Minsoo, et al. “Effect of pedometer-based physical activity interventions: a meta-analysis.” Research quarterly for exercise and sport 80.3 (2009): 648-655.
Effective techniques in healthy eating and physical activity interventions: A meta-regression
  1. Interventions that combined self-monitoring with at least one other technique derived from control theory were significantly more effective than other interventions.
Michie, Susan, et al. “Effective techniques in healthy eating and physical activity interventions: a meta-regression.” Health Psychology 28.6 (2009): 690.
Experiences of Self-Monitoring: Successes and Struggles during Treatment for Weight Loss
  1. We need to consider individualizing self-monitoring strategies to improve adherence.
Burke, Lora E., et al. “Experiences of self-monitoring: successes and struggles during treatment for weight loss.” Qualitative health research (2009).
Long-term weight loss maintenance
  1. To maintain their weight loss, members report self-monitoring weight.
Wing, Rena R., and Suzanne Phelan. “Long-term weight loss maintenance.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 82.1 (2005): 222S-225S.
Using checklists and reminders in clinical pathways to improve hospital inpatient care
  1. Significant improvements in the quality of patient care can be achieved by incorporating checklists into clinical pathways.
Wolff, Alan M., Sally A. Taylor, and Janette F. McCabe. “Using checklists and reminders in clinical pathways to improve hospital inpatient care.” Medical Journal of Australia 181 (2004): 428-431.

 

6. Script safeguards

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
How do habits guide behavior? Perceived and actual triggers of habits in daily life
  1. Strong habits are influenced by context cues associated with past performance (e.g., locations). Specifically, performance contexts—but not goals—automatically triggered strongly habitual behaviors in memory and triggered overt habit performance.
Neal, David T., et al. “How do habits guide behavior? Perceived and actual triggers of habits in daily life.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48.2 (2012): 492-498.
Getting a bigger slice of the pie. Effects on eating and emotion in restrained and unrestrained eaters
  1. Proof of the ‘What The Hell’ effect. Manipulated perceptions of the portion size of food influence subsequent eating by restrained and unrestrained eaters.
Polivy, Janet, C. Peter Herman, and Rajbir Deo. “Getting a bigger slice of the pie. Effects on eating and emotion in restrained and unrestrained eaters.” Appetite 55.3 (2010): 426-430.
How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
  1. Missing once did not materially affect the habit formation process.
Lally, Phillippa, et al. “How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world.” European journal of social psychology 40.6 (2010): 998-1009.
Beyond behavioural intentions: Planning mediates between intentions and physical activity
  1. Action planning appears to predict behaviour only when intentions are high. Coping planning represents a critical self-regulation strategy to maintain physical activity levels.
Scholz, Urte, et al. “Beyond behavioural intentions: Planning mediates between intentions and physical activity.” British journal of health psychology 13.3 (2008): 479-494.
Implementation Intentions and Shielding Goal Striving From Unwanted Thoughts and Feelings
  1. Goal shielding was supported by implementation intentions geared at controlling potentially interfering inner states.
Achtziger, Anja, Peter M. Gollwitzer, and Paschal Sheeran. “Implementation intentions and shielding goal striving from unwanted thoughts and feelings.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 34.3 (2008): 381-393.
Modeling Health Behavior Change: How to Predict and Modify the Adoption and Maintenance of Health Behaviors
  1. The main addition of the Health Action Process Approach to previous models lies in the inclusion of two volitional factors: volitional self-efficacy (either maintenance or recovery self-efficacy) and strategic planning (either action or coping planning).
Schwarzer, Ralf. “Modeling health behavior change: How to predict and modify the adoption and maintenance of health behaviors.” Applied Psychology 57.1 (2008): 1-29.
Relapse prevention in a national smoking cessation contest: Effects of coping planning
  1. The coping planning intervention increased conservative 7-month continuous abstinence rates.
Osch, Liesbeth, et al. “Relapse prevention in a national smoking cessation contest: Effects of coping planning.” British journal of health psychology 13.3 (2008): 525-535.
Action planning and coping planning for long-term lifestyle change: Theory and assessment
  1. Action plans were more influential early in the rehabilitation process, whereas coping plans were more instrumental later on.
Sniehotta, Falko F., et al. “Action planning and coping planning for long‐term lifestyle change: theory and assessment.” European Journal of Social Psychology 35.4 (2005): 565-576.

 

1. Install foundational habits

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Does a 20-week aerobic exercise training programme increase our capabilities to buffer real-life stressors? A randomized, controlled trial using ambulatory assessment
  1. Exercise appears to be a useful preventive strategy to buffer the effects of stress.
von Haaren, Birte, et al. “Does a 20-week aerobic exercise training programme increase our capabilities to buffer real-life stressors? A randomized, controlled trial using ambulatory assessment.” European Journal of Applied Physiology 116.2 (2016): 383-394.
Physical Exercise Performed Four Hours after Learning Improves Memory Retention and Increases Hippocampal Pattern Similarity during Retrieval
  1. Performing aerobic exercise 4 hr after learning improved associative memory.
van Dongen, Eelco V., et al. “Physical Exercise Performed Four Hours after Learning Improves Memory Retention and Increases Hippocampal Pattern Similarity during Retrieval.” Current Biology (2016).
Clinical Trial of a Mobile Health Intervention for Simultaneous versus Sequential Diet and Activity Change
  1. A mobile health intervention produced sustained improvements in multiple diet and activity lifestyle behaviors regardless of whether physical activity is targeted simultaneously or sequentially with other diet and activity behaviors.
Spring, Bonnie, et al. “Clinical Trial of a Mobile Health Intervention for Simultaneous versus Sequential Diet and Activity Change.” CIRCULATION. Vol. 132. No. 23. TWO COMMERCE SQ, 2001 MARKET ST, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103 USA: LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2015.
Ideal Cardiovascular Health and Employee Productivity
  1. Self-reported higher cardiovascular health was strongly associated with better employee productivity as measured by fewer sick days and better concentration at work.
Driver, Steven, et al. “Ideal Cardiovascular Health and Employee Productivity.” Circulation 132.Suppl 3 (2015): A19252-A19252.
Mindful Attention Prevents Mindless Impulses
  1. Mindful attention prevents impulses toward attractive food.
Papies, Esther K., Lawrence W. Barsalou, and Ruud Custers. “Mindful attention prevents mindless impulses.” Social Psychological and Personality Science 3.3 (2012): 291-299.
Multiple behavior changes in diet and activity: a randomized controlled trial using mobile technology
  1. Targeting fruits/vegetables and sedentary leisure together maximizes overall adoption and maintenance of multiple healthy behavior changes.
Spring, Bonnie, et al. “Multiple behavior changes in diet and activity: a randomized controlled trial using mobile technology.” Archives of internal medicine 172.10 (2012): 789-796.
Improvements in self-control from financial monitoring
  1. Repeated practice of self-control improved regulatory strength over time.
Oaten, Megan, and Ken Cheng. “Improvements in self-control from financial monitoring.” Journal of Economic Psychology 28.4 (2007): 487-501.
The Effect of a Single Aerobic Training Session on Cognitive Flexibility in Late Middle-Aged Adults
  1. Partial support for the benefit of acute aerobic exercise on cognitive flexibility.
Netz, Y., et al. “The effect of a single aerobic training session on cognitive flexibility in late middle-aged adults.” International journal of sports medicine 28.01 (2007): 82-87.
Longitudinal gains in self-regulation from regular physical exercise
  1. The uptake and maintenance of an exercise programme over a 2-month period produced significant improvements in a wide range of regulatory behaviours.
Oaten, Megan, and Ken Cheng. “Longitudinal gains in self‐regulation from regular physical exercise.” British journal of health psychology 11.4 (2006): 717-733.
Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults a meta-analytic study
  1. Fitness training was found to have robust but selective benefits for cognition, with the largest fitness-induced benefits occurring for executive-control processes.
Colcombe, Stanley, and Arthur F. Kramer. “Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults a meta-analytic study.” Psychological science 14.2 (2003): 125-130.
Physical Activity Behavior Change: Issues in Adoption and Maintenance
  1. A summary of what is known about the maintenance of physical activity behavior in adults and youth and how physical activity behavior relates to other health behaviors such as smoking.
Marcus, Bess H., et al. “Physical activity behavior change: issues in adoption and maintenance.” Health Psychology 19.1S (2000): 32.
Lifestyle modification with heavy alcohol drinkers: Effects of aerobic exercise and meditation
  1. Subjects in the exercise condition significantly reduced their alcohol consumption compared to the no-treatment control condition.
Murphy, Timothy J., Robert R. Pagano, and G. Alan Marlatt. “Lifestyle modification with heavy alcohol drinkers: effects of aerobic exercise and meditation.” Addictive behaviors 11.2 (1986): 175-186.
Relationships between exercise or physical activity and other health behaviors
  1. Physical activity may indirectly influence health behaviors such as overeating, smoking, substance abuse, stress management, risk taking, and others.
Blair, Steven N., David R. Jacobs Jr, and Kenneth E. Powell. “Relationships between exercise or physical activity and other health behaviors.” Public health reports 100.2 (1985): 172.

 

2. Install foundational mindsets

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
The role of gratitude in spiritual well-being in asymptomatic heart failure patients.
  1. Gratitude and spiritual well-being are related to better mood and sleep, less fatigue, and more self-efficacy, and that gratitude fully or partially mediates the beneficial effects of spiritual well-being on these endpoints. Efforts to increase gratitude may be a treatment for improving well-being in HF patients’ lives and be of potential clinical value.
Mills, Paul J., et al. “The role of gratitude in spiritual well-being in asymptomatic heart failure patients.” Spirituality in clinical practice 2.1 (2015): 5.
Optimism and Cardiovascular Health: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)
  1. We offer evidence for a cross-sectional association between optimism and cardiovascular health.
Hernandez, Rosalba, et al. “Optimism and cardiovascular health: multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA).” Health behavior and policy review 2.1 (2015): 62-73.
“I Don’t” versus “I Can’t”: When Empowered Refusal Motivates Goal-Directed Behavior
  1. The language we use to describe our choices serves as a feedback mechanism that either enhances or impedes our goal-directed behavior. Specifically, this paper investigates the influence of a linguistic element of self-talk, in which a refusal may be framed as “I don’t” (vs. “I can’t”), on resisting temptation and motivating goal-directed behavior.
Patrick, Vanessa M., and Henrik Hagtvedt. ““I Don’t” versus “I Can’t”: When Empowered Refusal Motivates Goal-Directed Behavior.” Journal of Consumer Research 39.2 (2012): 371-381.
Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Well-Being
  1. Self-compassion provides greater emotional resilience and stability than self-esteem.
Neff, Kristin D. “Self‐compassion, self‐esteem, and well‐being.” Social and personality psychology compass 5.1 (2011): 1-12.
I forgive myself, now I can study: How self-forgiveness for procrastinating can reduce future procrastination
  1. Students reporting high levels of self-forgiveness for procrastinating on studying for the first examination reduced procrastination on preparing for the subsequent examination.
Wohl, Michael JA, Timothy A. Pychyl, and Shannon H. Bennett. “I forgive myself, now I can study: How self-forgiveness for procrastinating can reduce future procrastination.” Personality and Individual Differences 48.7 (2010): 803-808.
The voice of self-control: Blocking the inner voice increases impulsive responding
  1. The inner voice helps us to exert self-control by enhancing our ability to restrain our impulses.
Tullett, Alexa M., and Michael Inzlicht. “The voice of self-control: Blocking the inner voice increases impulsive responding.” Acta psychologica 135.2 (2010): 252-256.
Self-Affirmation and Self-Control: Affirming Core Values Counteracts Ego Depletion
  1. A psychological intervention—self-affirmation—facilitates self-control when the resource has been depleted.
Schmeichel, Brandon J., and Kathleen Vohs. “Self-affirmation and self-control: affirming core values counteracts ego depletion.” Journal of personality and social psychology 96.4 (2009): 770.
Modeling Health Behavior Change: How to Predict and Modify the Adoption and Maintenance of Health Behaviors
  1. The main addition of the Health Action Process Approach to previous models lies in the inclusion of two volitional factors: volitional self-efficacy (either maintenance or recovery self-efficacy) and strategic planning (either action or coping planning).
Schwarzer, Ralf. “Modeling health behavior change: How to predict and modify the adoption and maintenance of health behaviors.” Applied Psychology 57.1 (2008): 1-29.
The Development and Validation of a Scale to Measure Self-Compassion
  1. Self-compassion is significantly correlated with positive mental health outcomes such as less depression and anxiety and greater life satisfaction.
Neff, Kristin D. “The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion.” Self and identity 2.3 (2003): 223-250.
Thought Suppression
  1. Thought suppression can be counterproductive, helping assure the very state of mind one had hoped to avoid.
Wenzlaff, Richard M., and Daniel M. Wegner. “Thought suppression.” Annual review of psychology 51.1 (2000): 59-91.
The Effects of Behavioral Inhibition: Integrating Internal Cues, Cognition, Behavior, and Affect
  1. Suppression might produce health problems, negative affect, cognitive disruption, and eventual behavioral excess.
Polivy, Janet. “The effects of behavioral inhibition: Integrating internal cues, cognition, behavior, and affect.” Psychological Inquiry 9.3 (1998): 181-204.
Personal Accounts of Successful Versus Failed Attempts at Life Change
  1. Attributions of internal control and blaming external events for failure were strongly associated with reports of successful change.
Heatherton, Todd F., and Patricia A. Nichols. “Personal accounts of successful versus failed attempts at life change.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 20.6 (1994): 664-675.
Paradoxical Effects of Thought Suppression
  1. Attempted thought suppression has paradoxical effects as a self-control strategy, perhaps even producing the very obsession or preoccupation that it is directed against.
Wegner, Daniel M., et al. “Paradoxical effects of thought suppression.” Journal of personality and social psychology 53.1 (1987): 5.
The Role of Self-Efficacy in Achieving Health Behavior Change
  1. Strong relationships between self-efficacy and health behavior change and maintenance.
Strecher, Victor J., et al. “The role of self-efficacy in achieving health behavior change.” Health Education & Behavior 13.1 (1986): 73-92.
The role of expectations and attributions in the alleviation of learned helplessness
  1. A procedure which taught the helpless children to take responsibility for failure and to attribute it to lack of effort resulted in maintained or improved performance after failure, and showed an increase in the degree to which they emphasized insufficient motivation versus ability as a determinant of failure.
Dweck, Carol S. “The role of expectations and attributions in the alleviation of learned helplessness.” Journal of personality and social psychology 31.4 (1975): 674.

 

1. Create accountability

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Supportive Accountability: A Model for Providing Human Support to Enhance Adherence to eHealth Interventions
  1. Human support increases adherence through accountability to a coach who is seen as trustworthy, benevolent, and having expertise. Accountability should involve clear, process-oriented expectations that the patient is involved in determining. Reciprocity in the relationship, through which the patient derives clear benefits, should be explicit.
Mohr, David, Pim Cuijpers, and Kenneth Lehman. “Supportive accountability: a model for providing human support to enhance adherence to eHealth interventions.” Journal of medical Internet research 13.1 (2011): e30.
Accounting for the effects of accountability
  1. This article reviews the now extensive research literature addressing the impact of accountability on a wide range of social judgments and choices.
Lerner, Jennifer S., and Philip E. Tetlock. “Accounting for the effects of accountability.” Psychological bulletin 125.2 (1999): 255.

 

2. Establish support

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Social embeddedness in an online weight management programme is linked to greater weight loss
  1. Social networking is significantly correlated with weight loss. Remarkably, greater embeddedness in the network was the variable with the highest statistical significance in our model for weight loss.
Poncela-Casasnovas, Julia, et al. “Social embeddedness in an online weight management programme is linked to greater weight loss.” Journal of The Royal Society Interface 12.104 (2015): 20140686.
Integrating technology into standard weight loss treatment: a randomized controlled trial
  1. The addition of a personal digital assistant and telephone coaching can enhance short-term weight loss in combination with an existing system of care.
Spring, Bonnie, et al. “Integrating technology into standard weight loss treatment: a randomized controlled trial.” JAMA internal medicine 173.2 (2013): 105-111.
Behavioral economics holds potential to deliver better results for patients, insurers, and employers
  1. Peer mentorship is a lever for behavior change.
Loewenstein, George, David A. Asch, and Kevin G. Volpp. “Behavioral economics holds potential to deliver better results for patients, insurers, and employers.” Health Affairs 32.7 (2013): 1244-1250.
Disclosing information about the self is intrinsically rewarding
  1. Individuals place high subjective value on opportunities to communicate their thoughts and feelings to others, and doing so engages neural and cognitive mechanisms associated with reward.
Tamir, Diana I., and Jason P. Mitchell. “Disclosing information about the self is intrinsically rewarding.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109.21 (2012): 8038-8043.
Effective weight management practice: a review of the lifestyle intervention evidence
  1. This review highlights the value of multi-component interventions that are delivered over the longer term, and reinforces the role of health care professionals.
Kirk, S. F. L., et al. “Effective weight management practice: a review of the lifestyle intervention evidence.” International journal of Obesity 36.2 (2012): 178-185.
Multiple behavior changes in diet and activity: a randomized controlled trial using mobile technology
  1. Remote coaching supported by mobile technology holds promise to improve diet and activity.
Spring, Bonnie, et al. “Multiple behavior changes in diet and activity: a randomized controlled trial using mobile technology.” Archives of internal medicine 172.10 (2012): 789-796.
Peer Mentoring and Financial Incentives to Improve Glucose Control in African American Veterans: A Randomized, Controlled Trial
  1. Peer mentorship improved glucose control better than a financial incentive in a cohort of African American veterans with diabetes.
Long, Judith A., et al. “Peer mentoring and financial incentives to improve glucose control in African American veterans: a randomized trial.” Annals of internal medicine 156.6 (2012): 416-424.
Supportive Accountability: A Model for Providing Human Support to Enhance Adherence to eHealth Interventions
  1. Human support increases adherence through accountability to a coach who is seen as trustworthy, benevolent, and having expertise.
Mohr, David, Pim Cuijpers, and Kenneth Lehman. “Supportive accountability: a model for providing human support to enhance adherence to eHealth interventions.” Journal of medical Internet research 13.1 (2011): e30.
Community-based peer-led diabetes self-management a randomized trial
  1. People with diabetes without elevated A1C can benefit from a community-based, peerled diabetes program.
Lorig, Kate, et al. “Community-based peer-led diabetes self-management a randomized trial.” The Diabetes Educator 35.4 (2009): 641-651.
Efficacy of Lifestyle Modification for Long-Term Weight Control
  1. Long-term weight control is facilitated by continued patient-therapist contact, whether provided in person or by telephone, mail, or e-mail.
Wadden, Thomas A., Meghan L. Butryn, and Kirstin J. Byrne. “Efficacy of lifestyle modification for long‐term weight control.” Obesity research 12.S12 (2004): 151S-162S.
The Internet and Social Life
  1. We place the Internet in its historical context, and then examine the effects of Internet use on the user’s psychological well-being, the formation and maintenance of personal relationships, group memberships and social identity, the workplace, and community involvement.
Bargh, John A., and Katelyn YA McKenna. “The Internet and social life.” Annu. Rev. Psychol. 55 (2004): 573-590.
Can You See the Real Me? Activation and Expression of the “True Self” on the Internet
  1. People randomly assigned to interact over the Internet (vs. face to face) were better able to express their true-self qualities to their partners.
Bargh, John A., Katelyn YA McKenna, and Grainne M. Fitzsimons. “Can you see the real me? Activation and expression of the “true self” on the Internet.” Journal of social issues 58.1 (2002): 33-48.
Social support at work, heart rate, and cortisol: a self-monitoring study
  1. Low social support at work was associated with elevated heart rate during the daytime and evening of work days. Work social support was not related to cortisol on work days, but on leisure days cortisol was elevated among individuals reporting high social support.
Evans, Olga, and Andrew Steptoe. “Social support at work, heart rate, and cortisol: a self-monitoring study.” Journal of occupational health psychology 6.4 (2001): 361.
Benefits of recruiting participants with friends and increasing social support for weight loss and maintenance
  1. Participants recruited with friends had greater weight losses at the end of the 4-month treatment and at Month 10 follow-up.
Wing, Rena R., and Robert W. Jeffery. “Benefits of recruiting participants with friends and increasing social support for weight loss and maintenance.” Journal of consulting and clinical psychology 67.1 (1999): 132.
Differential weighting in choice versus advice: I’ll do this, you do that
  1. When individuals make a decision for themselves they weight attributes more uniformly compared to when they give advice.
Kray, Laura, and Richard Gonzalez. “Differential weighting in choice versus advice: I’ll do this, you do that.” Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 12.3 (1999): 207.
Social networking technologies as emerging tools for HIV prevention: A Cluster Randomized Trial
  1. Discussing preventive health behaviors in a semi-anonymous Facebook group composed of similar peers improved use of the preventive health behaviors and overall group engagement.
Chartrand, Tanya L., and John A. Bargh. “The chameleon effect: The perception–behavior link and social interaction.” Journal of personality and social psychology 76.6 (1999): 893.
Personal Accounts of Successful Versus Failed Attempts at Life Change
  1. Social support was strongly associated with reports of successful change.
Heatherton, Todd F., and Patricia A. Nichols. “Personal accounts of successful versus failed attempts at life change.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 20.6 (1994): 664-675.

 

3. Shape your inner circle

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Are we aware of the external factors that influence our food intake?
  1. The presence and behavior of others impacts our behaviors, and we are not aware of it.
Vartanian, Lenny R., C. Peter Herman, and Brian Wansink. “Are we aware of the external factors that influence our food intake?.” Health Psychology 27.5 (2008): 533.
Health concordance within couples: A systematic review
  1. There is overwhelming evidence for concordant mental and physical health, as well as health behaviors among couples.
Meyler, Deanna, Jim P. Stimpson, and M. Kristen Peek. “Health concordance within couples: a systematic review.” Social science & medicine 64.11 (2007): 2297-2310.
Thinking of you: Nonconscious pursuit of interpersonal goals associated with relationship partners
  1. Interpersonal goals are component features of relationship representations and that mere activation of those representations, even in the partner’s physical absence, causes the goals to become active and to guide behavior nonconsciously within the current situation.
Fitzsimons, Gráinne M., and John A. Bargh. “Thinking of you: nonconscious pursuit of interpersonal goals associated with relationship partners.” Journal of personality and social psychology 84.1 (2003): 148.
Predicting Exercise and Health Behavioral Intentions: Attitudes, Subjective Norms, and Other Behavioral Determinants
  1. Health behaviors are particularly likely to be influenced by subjective norms, and those that are relatively normatively influenced are intended to be performed more than those that are not. However, neither was true of exercise behaviors.
Finlay, Krystina A., David Trafimow, and Aimee Villarreal. “Predicting Exercise and Health Behavioral Intentions: Attitudes, Subjective Norms, and Other Behavioral Determinants1.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 32.2 (2002): 342-356.
The automated will: Nonconscious activation and pursuit of behavioral goals
  1. Nonconsciously activated goals effectively guide action, enabling adaptation to ongoing situational demands.
Bargh, John A., et al. “The automated will: nonconscious activation and pursuit of behavioral goals.” Journal of personality and social psychology 81.6 (2001): 1014.
The perception-behavior expressway: Automatic effects of social perception on social behavior
  1. Social perception refers to the activation of a perceptual representation, which generally has a direct effect on social behavior. Perceptual inputs are translated automatically into corresponding behavioral outputs.
Dijksterhuis, Ap, and John A. Bargh. “The perception-behavior expressway: Automatic effects of social perception on social behavior.” Advances in experimental social psychology 33 (2001): 1-40.
The chameleon effect: The perception–behavior link and social interaction
  1. Due to ‘the chameleon effect’, one’s behavior passively and unintentionally changes to match that of others in one’s current social environment.
Chartrand, Tanya L., and John A. Bargh. “The chameleon effect: The perception–behavior link and social interaction.” Journal of personality and social psychology 76.6 (1999): 893.
Coming out in the age of the Internet: Identity” demarginalization” through virtual group participation
  1. Internet groups obey general principles of social group functioning and have real-life consequences for the individual.
McKenna, Katelyn YA, and John A. Bargh. “Coming out in the age of the Internet: Identity” demarginalization” through virtual group participation.” Journal of personality and social psychology 75.3 (1998): 681.
Control and automaticity in social life
  1. Examines the role of control and automaticity in social life. The question of when and how people control their behavior, and the related but not identical questions of when and how behavior occurs automatically is reviewed.
Wegner, Daniel M., and John A. Bargh. “Control and automaticity in social life.” (1998).
Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and stereotype activation on action
  1. Evidence of an automatic behavior priming effect for self-fulfilling prophecies.
Bargh, John A., Mark Chen, and Lara Burrows. “Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and stereotype activation on action.” Journal of personality and social psychology 71.2 (1996): 230.

 

1. Prepare to be wrong

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Reinforcement Learning and Savings Behavior
  1. Individuals over-extrapolate from their personal experience when making decisions.
Choi, James J., et al. “Reinforcement learning and savings behavior.” The Journal of finance 64.6 (2009): 2515-2534.
Failing to Learn and Learning to Fail (Intelligently): How Great Organizations Put Failure to Work to Innovate and Improve
  1. Organizations are widely encouraged to learn from their failures, but it is something most find easier to espouse than to effect. This article synthesizes the authors’ wide research in this field to offer a strategy for achieving the objective. Their framework relates technical and social barriers to three key activities – identifying failure, analyzing failure and deliberate experimentation – to develop six recommendations for action.
Cannon, Mark D., and Amy C. Edmondson. “Failing to learn and learning to fail (intelligently): How great organizations put failure to work to innovate and improve.” Long Range Planning 38.3 (2005): 299-319.
Affective agents: Sustaining motivation to learn through failure and a state of stuck
  1. This paper describes work in progress exploring how characteristics of affective agents can influence perseverance in the face of failure.
Burleson, Winslow, and R. W. Picard. “Affective agents: Sustaining motivation to learn through failure and a state of stuck.” Workshop on Social and Emotional Intelligence in Learning Environments. 2004.
The neural basis of human error processing: Reinforcement learning, dopamine, and the error-related negativity.
  1. The existence of an error-processing system has been inferred from the error-related negativity (ERN), a component of the event-related brain potential elicited when human participants commit errors in reaction-time tasks.
Holroyd, Clay B., and Michael GH Coles. “The neural basis of human error processing: reinforcement learning, dopamine, and the error-related negativity.” Psychological review 109.4 (2002): 679.
Double-Loop Learning
  1. Learning occurs whenever errors are detected and corrected. An error is any mismatch between intentions and actual consequences.
Argyris, Chris. “Double‐Loop Learning.” Wiley Encyclopedia of Management (2000).
Learning from error and the design of task environments
  1. Errors constitute a major source of information for the learner while practising an unfamiliar task.
Ohlsson, Stellan. “Learning from error and the design of task environments.” International Journal of Educational Research 25.5 (1996): 419-448.

 

1. Intervention strategies

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Smartphone applications to support weight loss: current perspectives
  1. Whereas the conventional wisdom about behavior change asserts that more is better (with respect to the number of behavior change techniques involved), this model suggests that less may be more because extra techniques may add burden and adversely impact engagement.
Pellegrini, Christine A., et al. “Smartphone applications to support weight loss: current perspectives.” Adv Health Care Technol 1 (2015): 13-22.
The Effects of Two Influential Early Childhood Interventions on Health and Healthy Behaviors
  1. This paper examines the long-term impacts on health and healthy behaviors of two of the oldest and most widely cited U.S. early childhood interventions with long-term follow-up: the Perry Preschool Project (PPP) and the Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC).
Conti, Gabriella, James J. Heckman, and Rodrigo Pinto. The effects of two influential early childhood interventions on health and healthy behaviors. No. w21454. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2015.
Dueling with Desire: A Synthesis of Past Research on Want/Should Conflict
  1. Even minor interventions can shift behaviors in beneficial directions.
  2. Potential interventions include: altering choice timing, reducing cognitive load, construing should behaviors at an abstract level, evaluating should options jointly, facilitating positive mood, reducing licensure feelings that justify wants, feeling closer to future self, providing fresh starts, prompting plan making, using commitment devices / incentives, utilizing temptation bundling.
Bitterly, T. Bradford, et al. “Dueling with Desire: A Synthesis of Past Research on Want/Should Conflict.” Should Conflict (February 28, 2014) (2014).
Promoting habit formation
  1. When designing behavior change interventions, it is important to focus both on disrupting existing undesirable habits and developing new desirable habits.
  2. Effective strategies include self-monitoring, planning, salient cues, positive feedback, and mentor support.
  3. Unwanted habits can be broken by restructuring personal environments, or programming new responses to existing environments.
Lally, Phillippa, and Benjamin Gardner. “Promoting habit formation.” Health Psychology Review 7.sup1 (2013): S137-S158.
The Behavior Change Technique Taxonomy (v1) of 93 hierarchically-clustered techniques: building an international consensus for the reporting of behavior change interventions
  1. “BCT taxonomy v1,” an extensive taxonomy of 93 consensually agreed, distinct BCTs, offers a step change as a method for specifying interventions.
Michie, Susan, et al. “The behavior change technique taxonomy (v1) of 93 hierarchically clustered techniques: building an international consensus for the reporting of behavior change interventions.” Annals of behavioral medicine 46.1 (2013): 81-95.
Effective weight management practice: a review of the lifestyle intervention evidence
  1. This review highlights the value of multi-component interventions that are delivered over the longer term, and reinforces the role of health care professionals.
Kirk, S. F. L., et al. “Effective weight management practice: a review of the lifestyle intervention evidence.” International journal of Obesity 36.2 (2012): 178-185.
Sequential priming measures of implicit social cognition a meta-analysis of associations with behavior and explicit attitudes
  1. Sequential priming—one of the earliest methods of investigating implicit social cognition—continues to be a valid tool.
Cameron, C. Daryl, Jazmin L. Brown-Iannuzzi, and B. Keith Payne. “Sequential priming measures of implicit social cognition a meta-analysis of associations with behavior and explicit attitudes.” Personality and Social Psychology Review 16.4 (2012): 330-350.
Development of a taxonomy of behaviour change techniques used in individual behavioural support for smoking cessation
  1. Behavior change techniques (BCT’s) grouped into four functions: 1) directly addressing motivation e.g. providing rewards contingent on abstinence, 2) maximising self-regulatory capacity or skills e.g. facilitating barrier identification and problem solving, 3) promoting adjuvant activities e.g. advising on stop-smoking medication, and 4) supporting other BCTs e.g. building general rapport.
Michie, Susan, et al. “Development of a taxonomy of behaviour change techniques used in individual behavioural support for smoking cessation.” Addictive behaviors 36.4 (2011): 315-319.
Reflective and Automatic Processes in the Initiation and Maintenance of Dietary Change
  1. Decomposing action control and behavior change into a 2 (reflective, automatic) × 2 (initiation, maintenance) matrix suggests that different intervention strategies will be needed during different phases of behavior change.
Rothman, Alexander J., Paschal Sheeran, and Wendy Wood. “Reflective and automatic processes in the initiation and maintenance of dietary change.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 38.1 (2009): 4-17.
A taxonomy of behavior change techniques used in interventions
  1. Three systematic reviews yielded 195 published descriptions. Interventions were found to vary widely in the range and type of techniques employed, even when targeting the same behavior among similar participants.
Abraham, Charles, and Susan Michie. “A taxonomy of behavior change techniques used in interventions.” Health psychology 27.3 (2008): 379.
Designing interventions to improve tooth brushing
  1. The approach taken starts with a succinct overview of key theoretical features of behaviour change, which have been assembled into a process for intervention design. Different examples of interventions will be discussed, with the main distinction of group size and scale.
Claessen, Jean‐Paul, et al. “Designing interventions to improve tooth brushing.” International Dental Journal 58.S5 (2008): 307-320.
Internet-based chronic disease self-management: a randomized trial
  1. The Internet-based CDSMP proved effective in improving health statutes by 1 year and is a viable alternative to the small-group Chronic Disease Self Management Program.
Lorig, Kate R., et al. “Internet-based chronic disease self-management: a randomized trial.” Medical care 44.11 (2006): 964-971.
Long-term weight loss maintenance
  1. To maintain their weight loss, members report engaging in high levels of physical activity, eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet, eating breakfast regularly, self-monitoring weight, and maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends.
Wing, Rena R., and Suzanne Phelan. “Long-term weight loss maintenance.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 82.1 (2005): 222S-225S.
Incentives, Morality, Or Habit? Predicting Students’ Car Use for University Routes With the Models of Ajzen, Schwartz, and Triandis
  1. In the prediction of intention to use a car, results indicated that one variable from the Trinandis model—role beliefs—increased the explanatory power offered by the components of the Ajzen model. In the prediction of self-reported car use, one variable of the Triandis model—car use habit—significantly increased the predictive power of the Ajzen model. The central variable of the Schwartz model—personal norm—exerted no significant effect either on intention or on behavior.
Bamberg, Sebastian, and Peter Schmidt. “Incentives, morality, or habit? Predicting students’ car use for university routes with the models of Ajzen, Schwartz, and Triandis.” Environment and behavior 35.2 (2003): 264-285.
Self-management education: history, definition, outcomes, and mechanisms
  1. This article offers a short history of self-management. It presents three self-management tasks—medical management, role management, and emotional management—and six self-management skills—problem solving, decision making, resource utilization, the formation of a patient-provider partnership, action planning, and self-tailoring.
Lorig, Kate R., and Halsted R. Holman. “Self-management education: history, definition, outcomes, and mechanisms.” Annals of behavioral medicine 26.1 (2003): 1-7.
Patient Self-management of Chronic Disease in Primary Care
  1. Self-management education complements traditional patient education in supporting patients to live the best possible quality of life with their chronic condition, teaching problem-solving skills. A central concept in self-management is self-efficacy—confidence to carry out a behavior necessary to reach a desired goal.
Bodenheimer, Thomas, et al. “Patient self-management of chronic disease in primary care.” Jama 288.19 (2002): 2469-2475.
Long-term maintenance of weight loss: Current status
  1. Weight control research over the last 20 years has dramatically improved short-term treatment efficacy but has been less successful in improving long-term success. Interventions in preadolescent children show greater long-term efficacy than in adults. Extending treatment length and putting more emphasis on energy expenditure have modestly improved long-term weight loss in adults. Fresh ideas are needed to push the field forward.
Jeffery, Robert W., et al. “Long-term maintenance of weight loss: current status.” Health psychology 19.1S (2000): 5.
Psychological And Behavioral Treatment Of Insomnia:Update Of The Recent Evidence (1998-2004)
  1. Five treatments met criteria for empirically-supported psychological treatments for insomnia: Stimulus control therapy, relaxation, paradoxical intention, sleep restriction, and cognitive-behavior therapy.
Morin, Charles M., et al. “Psychological and behavioral treatment of insomnia: update of the recent evidence (1998-2004).” SLEEP-NEW YORK THEN WESTCHESTER- 29.11 (2006): 1398.

 

2. Barriers to adoption

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Behavior Matters
  1. A short list of barriers to change includes health literacy, emotional distress, social and economic factors, and system and policy factors.
Fisher, Edwin B., et al. “Behavior matters.” American journal of preventive medicine 40.5 (2011): e15-e30.
Transforming Consumer Health
  1. Three key barriers to adopting healthy habits: Understanding information / actions; Selecting the right behaviors; Maintenance of healthy behaviors.
  2. Need to talk to consumers to segment and identify unique sets of challenges.
Scammon, Debra L., et al. “Transforming consumer health.” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 30.1 (2011): 14-22.

 

3. Messaging

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Beyond Self-Tracking and Reminders: Designing Smartphone Apps That Support Habit Formation
  1. Positive reinforcement messaging was ineffective.
Stawarz, Katarzyna, Anna L. Cox, and Ann Blandford. “Beyond self-tracking and reminders: designing smartphone apps that support habit formation.” Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2015.
Put Your Imperfections Behind You: Temporal Landmarks Spur Goal Initiation When They Signal New Beginnings
  1. Emphasizing a temporal landmark (e.g., New Year) increases intentions to initiate goal pursuit. Strengthened motivation to begin pursuing aspirations following such temporal landmarks originates in part from the psychological disassociation these landmarks induce from a person’s past, imperfect self.
Dai, Hengchen, Katherine L. Milkman, and Jason Riis. “Put Your Imperfections Behind You Temporal Landmarks Spur Goal Initiation When They Signal New Beginnings.” Psychological science (2015): 0956797615605818.
The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior
  1. Aspirational behaviors (dieting, exercising, and goal pursuit) increase following temporal landmarks (e.g., the outset of a week/month/year; birthdays; holidays).
Dai, Hengchen, Katherine L. Milkman, and Jason Riis. “The fresh start effect: Temporal landmarks motivate aspirational behavior.” Management Science 60.10 (2014): 2563-2582.
A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of the “But You Are Free” Compliance-Gaining Technique
  1. The “but you are free” (BYAF) compliance-gaining technique is an effective means of increasing compliance rates in most contexts.
  2. Effectiveness diminished when the decision to enact the target behavior was not made immediately.
Carpenter, Christopher J. “A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of the “but you are free” compliance-gaining technique.” Communication Studies 64.1 (2013): 6-17.
Value from Regulatory Construal Fit: The Persuasive Impact of Fit between Consumer Goals and Message Concreteness
  1. Promotion-focused individuals are more likely to construe information at abstract, high levels, whereas those with a prevention focus are more likely to construe information at concrete, low levels.
Lee, Angela Y., Punam Anand Keller, and Brian Sternthal. “Value from regulatory construal fit: The persuasive impact of fit between consumer goals and message concreteness.” Journal of Consumer Research 36.5 (2010): 735-747.
Effectiveness of Corporate Well-Being Programs A Meta-Analysis
  1. Corporate well-being programs and marketing approaches should be tailored for size of company, gender, and other factors.
Keller, Punam Anand, Donald R. Lehmann, and Katherine J. Milligan. “Effectiveness of Corporate Well-Being Programs A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Macromarketing 29.3 (2009): 279-302.
Priming effects of television food advertising on eating behavior
  1. These experiments demonstrate the power of food advertising to prime automatic eating behaviors and thus influence far more than brand preference alone.
Harris, Jennifer L., John A. Bargh, and Kelly D. Brownell. “Priming effects of television food advertising on eating behavior.” Health psychology 28.4 (2009): 404.
Accounting for the role of habit in behavioural strategies for injury prevention
  1. When habits are weak, attitudes and intentions predict behaviours, but as behaviours turn into habits, they become better predictors of future behaviour than attitudes or intentions. Furthermore, where habits are strong, individuals are less likely to act on new information, evaluating counter-habitual information negatively.
Nilsen, Per, Michael Bourne, and Bas Verplanken. “Accounting for the role of habit in behavioural strategies for injury prevention.” International Journal of Injury Control & Safety Promotion 15.1 (2008): 33-40.
Designing effective health communications: a meta-analysis
  1. Message tactics have a significant influence on intentions toward health-related recommendations, so there is significant opportunity to tailor health communications more efficiently to different market segments.
Keller, Punam Anand, and Donald R. Lehmann. “Designing effective health communications: a meta-analysis.” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 27.2 (2008): 117-130.
Does Tailoring Matter? Meta-Analytic Review of Tailored Print Health Behavior Change Interventions
  1. Variables that were found to significantly moderate the effect included (a) type of comparison condition, (b) health behavior, (c) type of participant population (both type of recruitment and country of sample), (d) type of print material, (e) number of intervention contacts, (f) length of follow-up, (g) number and type of theoretical concepts tailored on, and (h) whether demographics and/or behavior were tailored on.
Noar, Seth M., Christina N. Benac, and Melissa S. Harris. “Does tailoring matter? Meta-analytic review of tailored print health behavior change interventions.” Psychological bulletin 133.4 (2007): 673.
Regulatory Focus and Efficacy of Health Messages
  1. Perceived ease is weighed more than perceived effectiveness when the focus is promotion; the reverse is true for a prevention focus.
Keller, Punam A. “Regulatory focus and efficacy of health messages.” Journal of Consumer Research 33.1 (2006): 109-114.
A Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Mediated Health Communication Campaigns on Behavior Change in the United States
  1. Mediated health campaigns have small measurable effects in the short-term. Campaigns with an enforcement component were more effective than those without
Snyder, Leslie B., et al. “A meta-analysis of the effect of mediated health communication campaigns on behavior change in the United States.” Journal of health communication 9.S1 (2004): 71-96.
Affect, Framing, and Persuasion
  1. Participants induced with a positive mood are more persuaded by the loss-framed message, whereas participants induced with a negative mood are more persuaded by the gain-framed message.
Keller, Punam Anand, Isaac M. Lipkus, and Barbara K. Rimer. “Affect, framing, and persuasion.” Journal of Marketing Research 40.1 (2003): 54-64.
Worry about health in smoking behaviour change
  1. Among smokers with high self-efficacy combined with strong disengagement beliefs, worry led to more quitting activity. Among ex-smokers with low self-efficacy combined with strong disengagement beliefs, worry led to more relapse.
Dijkstra, A., and J. Brosschot. “Worry about health in smoking behaviour change.” Behaviour research and therapy 41.9 (2003): 1081-1092.
Predicting Exercise and Health Behavioral Intentions: Attitudes, Subjective Norms, and Other Behavioral Determinants
  1. Health behaviors are particularly likely to be influenced by subjective norms, and those that are relatively normatively influenced are intended to be performed more than those that are not. However, neither was true of exercise behaviors.
Finlay, Krystina A., David Trafimow, and Aimee Villarreal. “Predicting Exercise and Health Behavioral Intentions: Attitudes, Subjective Norms, and Other Behavioral Determinants1.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 32.2 (2002): 342-356.
Converting the unconverted: the effect of inclination and opportunity to discount health-related fear appeals.
  1. The conventional wisdom for designing fear appeals, higher fear arousal, and a consequences–recommendations ordering, was more persuasive for adherents, or those who were already following the advocated recommendations. Lowering the level of fear arousal and reversing the order of the consequences and recommendations were more effective for persuading the unconverted.
Keller, Punam Anand. “Converting the unconverted: the effect of inclination and opportunity to discount health-related fear appeals.” Journal of Applied Psychology 84.3 (1999): 403.
Beyond Protection Motivation: An Integrative Theory of Health Appeals
  1. For people in different stages of readiness to change (i.e., precontemplation, contemplation, and action), the main motivators to change behavior are vulnerability, severity, and efficacy (response and self), respectively.
Block, Lauren G., and Punam Anand Keller. “Beyond protection motivation: An integrative theory of health appeals.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 28.17 (1998): 1584-1608.
Protection motivation theory
  1. The intention to protect oneself depends upon four factors: 1) The perceived severity of a threatened event (e.g., a heart attack) 2) The perceived probability of the occurrence, or vulnerability (in this example, the perceived vulnerability of the individual to a hear attack) 3) The efficacy of the recommended preventive behavior (the perceived response efficacy) 4) The perceived self-efficacy (i.e., the level of confidence in one’s ability to undertake the recommended preventive behavior)
Rogers, Ronald W., and Steven Prentice-Dunn. “Protection motivation theory.” (1997).
Increasing the persuasiveness of fear appeals: The effect of arousal and elaboration
  1. When a low level of fear is ineffective, it is because there is insufficient elaboration of the harmful consequences of engaging in the destructive behavior. By contrast, when appeals arousing high levels of fear are ineffective, it is because too much elaboration on the harmful consequences interferes with processing of the recommended change in behavior.
Keller, Punam Anand, and Lauren Goldberg Block. “Increasing the persuasiveness of fear appeals: The effect of arousal and elaboration.” Journal of consumer research (1996): 448-459.
When to accentuate the negative: The effects of perceived efficacy and message framing on intentions to perform a health-related behavior
  1. For ‘low-efficacy’ recommendations, negative frames are more persuasive than positive ones. In contrast, for ‘high-efficacy / certainty’ recommendations, positive and negative frames are equally persuasive.
Block, Lauren G., and Punam Anand Keller. “When to accentuate the negative: The effects of perceived efficacy and message framing on intentions to perform a health-related behavior.” Journal of marketing research (1995): 192-203.
The theory of reasoned action: A meta-analysis of past research with recommendations for modifications and future research
  1. The Fishbein and Ajzen model has strong predictive utility.
  2. Individuals’ attitudes and subjective norms predicted their intentions better than their estimates of performance.
  3. Prediction of behaviors was superior to the prediction of goals.
  4. The model performed better when used to study activities involving choice.
Sheppard, Blair H., Jon Hartwick, and Paul R. Warshaw. “The theory of reasoned action: A meta-analysis of past research with recommendations for modifications and future research.” Journal of consumer research 15.3 (1988): 325-343.
The Elaboration Likelihood Model Of Persuasion
  1. Two routes of persuasive influence: central and peripheral. The key variable in route determination is involvement, the extent to which an individual is willing and able to ‘think’ about the position advocated and its supporting materials. When people are motivated and able to think about the content of the message, elaboration is high and central influence is key.
Petty, Richard E., and John T. Cacioppo. “The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion.” Communication and persuasion. Springer New York, 1986. 1-24.

 

4. Product selection

Title TL;DR Takeaways Citation
Simplification and Saving
  1. A low-cost intervention that substantially simplifies the participation decision, allowing individuals to collapse a multidimensional problem into a binary choice between the status quo and the pre-selected alternative, increases participation rates by 10–20 percentage points.
KBeshears, John, et al. “Simplification and saving.” Journal of economic behavior & organization 95 (2013): 130-145.
Enhanced active choice: A new method to motivate behavior change
  1. Enhanced Active Choice (i.e., 1) there is no default; 2) decision makers are required to make a choice; 3) decision context favors one alternative by highlighting losses incumbent in the in the non-preferred alternative) can be used as a complement to automatic enrollment, or when automatic enrollment is infeasible or unethical.
Keller, Punam Anand, et al. “Enhanced active choice: A new method to motivate behavior change.” Journal of Consumer Psychology 21.4 (2011): 376-383.
Placebo effects of marketing actions: Consumers may get what they pay for
  1. Marketing actions, such as pricing, can alter the actual efficacy of products to which they are applied. These placebo effects stem from activation of expectancies about the efficacy of the product, a process that appears not to be conscious.
Shiv, Baba, Ziv Carmon, and Dan Ariely. “Placebo effects of marketing actions: Consumers may get what they pay for.” Journal of marketing Research 42.4 (2005): 383-393.
The effects of incomplete information on consumer choice
  1. A tendency to give more weight to attributes on which all considered options have values (common attributes), compared with attributes for which not all options have values (unique attributes), can often lead to irrational preferences.
  2. Buyers tend to interpret missing attribute values in a way that supports the purchase of the option that is superior on the common attribute.
Kivetz, Ran, and Itamar Simonson. “The effects of incomplete information on consumer choice.” Journal of Marketing Research 37.4 (2000): 427-448.
Differences in the relative influence of product attributes under alternative processing conditions: Attribute importance versus attribute ease of imagability
  1. More easily imagined attributes may have a disproportionate influence when subjects use imagery in the evaluation, but not when they engage in more analytical processing.
Keller, Punam Anand, and Ann L. McGill. “Differences in the relative influence of product attributes under alternative processing conditions: Attribute importance versus attribute ease of imagability.” Journal of Consumer Psychology 3.1 (1994): 29-49.
Choice under conflict: The dynamics of deferred decision
  1. The option to delay choice or seek new alternatives is more likely to be selected when conflict is high than when it is low.
  2. The tendency to defer decision, search for new alternatives, or choose the default option can be increased when the offered set is enlarged or improved, contrary to the principle of value maximization.
Tversky, Amos, and Eldar Shafir. “Choice under conflict: The dynamics of deferred decision.” Psychological science 3.6 (1992): 358-361.