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Describe traditional economics.
- Rational actor
- People act to enhance own benefit; make decisions in own self-interest economically
Describe behavioral economics.
- Irrational elements of behavior
- Irrational in predictable ways
Describe how behavioral economics is applied to health behavior.
- Focus is on making choices among alternatives
- Alcohol use
- Tobacco use
- Food selection
- Physical activity
- Choices between consumer products
What are the ecological elements to the behavioral ecomonic perspective?
- Intra-personal elements: individual decision making process
- Environmental elements: external influences on decision making
What are the 3 basic behavioral ecomonics concepts?
- Reinforcements influence choice among alternatives
- People use reference points to choose behaviors
- People make cognitive errors - irrational in a predictable way
Describe how "reinforcements" influence choice among alternatives.
- SCT opperant conditioning
- What "reinforces" the behavior?
- Social acceptability / social group identification
- Stress relief / burst of feeling / pharmacologic effect of nicotine
- Association of pleasure of nicotine with other pleasant activities
- Enhance value of desired behavior
Describe how indentifying alternatives and their reinforcement values can influence behavior.
- Identify alternative sources of reinforcement
- What alternative could supply reinforcements?
- NRT, stress relief, meditation, yoga (physiologic response)
- Change in social group
- Food/beverage (association of pleasure with nicotine)
- Ads address glamour - no longer glamourous
- Ads that adjust descriptive norms (social acceptibility)
How can the concept of "alternative reinforcement" be applied to other behaviors?
- Low-nutrient food, such as regular soft drinks
- What reinforcement functions does the food supply? -- Taste
- What are the possible alternatives? -- Similar product with fewer calories, juices, etc.
Describe how people use "reference points" to choose behaviors.
- Reference points are derived from the world around us; what seems normal, fun, easy?
- Message framing (+ , -)
- Default decision making
- Cues the world gives us about ways to behave
Describe how norms influence behavioral ecomonics / reference points.
- Social norms (what others do)
- Other implied norms (what seems "normal" in a given environment; effect context)--environmental reference points
Describe environmental reference points for food consumption.
- Normal portion size (what we see around us; visual distortion caused by plates, glasses)
- Comparison to other choices (menu, cafeteria line, within a store, can all items been seen at once/menu - sequentially/cafeteria - sought out/store?
How do portion sizes give us a reference point?
- Typical portion sizes give us a reference point for how much is appropriate to eat/drink.
- Size of hamburger, soft drink
How does the way food is served give us a reference point?
- How food is served gives us a visual point for quantity
- Size/shape of plates, glasses, bowls
- Shape of food (cube/slices)
How does the way items are displayed give us a reference point?
- How items are displayed in a store influences the perception of what is normal to buy here.
- Location of items as you walk in, end caps, etc.
How does the quantity of food displayed give us a reference point?
A larger quantity of food on display give the impression of a purchasing "norm".
How does availability give us a reference point?
- What is available in cafeteria lines influence perception of what is normal to buy
- Compounded by not being able to see all alternatives at once.
Describe the impact of message framing.
- Sets a new norm - other things instead of "good health"
- What seems normal, fun, easy
- Physical Activity:
- Typical health education frame - regular physical activity is important for good health
- Typical commercial resource frame - join your friends in this great class; challenge yourself to a new you; hurry! there is limited space - implies everyone is doing it
Describe default decision making.
- People will make choices that are "easier"
- Structure situations to make healthier choices easier
- Examples: keep items near register, smaller convenience packs
What are the 5 ways people make cognitive errors?
- Avoidance of risk
- Delay discounting
- Inadequate information
- Influence of physiologic states, emotions, etc.
- Reasoning by "heuristics" (rules of thumb) rather than specific information (status quo bias)
Describe avoidance of risk.
- Most people are loss averse and will take steps to avoid loss even if it reduces probability of gain
- May be unwilling to risk experimenting with unfamiliar food or activity due to concern about loss
- Role model
- Free sample
- 30 day / 2 classes - free membership
- Money back guarantee, buddy
- Avoid loss by paying for it (don't go to waste)
- Coupon/groupon - assign value
Describe delay discounting.
- Value of small immediate reqard preferred to larger, delayed reward
- Pfreference for $10 today versus $100 a month from now; etc.
- Compare / relate to something else
- Package / preparation suggestions
Describe inadequate information.
Not knowing true price (per pound), not knowing health implications
Describe the influence of physioligic states, emotions, etc.
Hungry, stressed, sad
Describe reasoning by heuristics (rules of thumb) rather than specific infoamtion (status quo bias).
Easiest to follow old habits
Example: Should I buy ice cream or an apple with my lunch? The rational perspective says I should consider ...
- Dollar costs
- Long term consequences of consumption
- Quality of life issues; satisfaction
Example: Should I buy ice cream or an apple with my lunch? Consider Concept #1 - Reinforcement properties of alternatives ...
- What are possible reinforcement properties of these two choices?
- Solution: physiologic association / taste, self-satisfaction
- How could these reinforcement properties be restructured?
- Solution: peanut butter/apples, pick a healthier ice cream/frozen yogurt, reward property (if possible)
Example: Should I buy ice cream or an apple with my lunch? Consider Concept #2 - What are the reference points that influence my choice? How can those be modified?
- Message framing
- Default decision making (what is easiest)
- Solution: modify location, larger quantity, ice cream last available if in cafeteria
Example: Should I buy ice cream or an apple with my lunch? Consider Concept #3 - What are some of the "irrational" thinking aspects that might influence my choice?
- Delay discounting
- Risk avoidance
- Lack of information
- Physiologic state (make me feel better)
- Heuristics/habit (how parents buy groceries / always get what you get)
- Solution: pre-packaged or sliced
List the key concepts of behavioral economics.
- Behavioral economic perspective is not a single, unified theory of behavior - elements do not come together into a unified predictive or behavior change model
- Gives some ideas of how subtle environmental cues affect behavior
- Gives perspectives on some "irrational" patterns in human thinking
- Observations on how we make decisions
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