Behaviour works as usual
** This page is being updated as new information comes to hand.
Human behaviour is at the core of the Covid-19 crisis and many other health, social and environmental challenges.
As the pandemic – and our reactions to it – unfolds, the behaviours we want to see are becoming much harder to regulate. Sustained behaviour change is now the goal.
To assist policymakers and leaders, we’re working on a number of projects and delivering insights to ensure the rules and regulations that are being put in place to protect us are underpinned by behavioural science and evidence.
Apart from the following projects, we’re also doing a lot of media outreach and we’re also ramping up our training program to support our partners.
Contact us if we can assist you in any way: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re leading the Australian chapter of the Survey of COVID-19 Responses to Understand Behaviour (SCRUB) project. This ‘living survey’ surveillance system looks at why citizens do – or do not – enact key public health behaviours and messages. The project is supported by the Victorian Government.
We have also recently:
- Workshopped sensitive and effective communications of key messages during the crisis with a State Government agency.
- Worked with a group of behavioural scientists to develop the website: StandAgainstCorona.The website presents a list of four actions that people can commit to in order to prevent infection.
- Conducted an online hackathon to help the Office of Innovation in the State of New Jersey (US) understand COVID-19 screening behaviours. The office has adopted our website interventions, which encourage honesty in filling out the form (to reduce the number of people trying to fast track being tested) and joining up for a flu tracker (which has tens of thousands signed up). The site received over 600,000 hits in the first 12 hours.
- Designed processes for even more Rapid Reviews and scans with a 24-48 hour turnaround for urgent behavioural questions.
- With AustralianSuper we are exploring, as part of a wider research study, how the current crisis is affecting retirement confidence.
BehaviourWorks’s researchers have been highly active in their media and policy outreach work.
To date, our researchers have written the following articles, or participated in media interviews:
- 2 October: COVID-19: How to maintain those good routines after lockdown, Monash Lens.
- 9 September. Breanna Wright in The Conversation. Worried you might test positive and put a spanner in Victoria’s COVID roadmap? Here’s why you should get tested anyway.
- 13 August. Peter Slattery. ABC Western Australia. Hand washing and social distancing decline in WA, sparking warnings of complacency
- 7 August: Prof Liam Smith and Dr Jim Curtis. Can Victorians stick to the stage 4 rules? Our perception of what others are doing might be the key
- 21 July: Kim Borg in the international packaging news outlet, NS Packaging: Has Covid-19 pushed the plastic waste agenda backwards?
- 17 July: We asked multicultural communities how best to communicate COVID-19 advice. Here’s what they told us.
- 10 July: Dr Brea Kunstler interviewed by multilple media channels about her paper, Physical activity and sedentary behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic: An Australian population study.
- 8 July: Prof Liam Smith interviewed by Dr Norman Swan on ABC TV 7.30. How will Melburnians respond to being told to lockdown for a second time?
- 24 June: In The Conversation. Avoiding single-use plastic was becoming normal, until coronavirus. Here’s how we can return to good habits.
- 10 June. For the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, BWA Director, Liam Smith, writes: How behavioural science can inform COVID-19 policy.
- 5 June. BWA Director, Liam Smith – webinar hosted by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government. Why do people comply: exploring regulation during Covid-19.
- 5 June: Liam Smith and Celine Klemm talk to ABC Radio’s Cassie McCullagh about the SCRUB study – see left (approx. 40 mins in).
- 2 June. In Monash Lens: Getting the most out of your telehealth consultations during COVID-19.
- 1 June Interviews on ABC TV and Radio, plus this Monash Lens piece: SCRUB project digs deep into people’s COVID-related behaviours.
- 20 May: Emerging from COVID-19 lockdown: What former prisoners can teach us.
- 1 May. Is school closure necessary to combat COVID-19?
- 14 April. In Monash Lens: COVID-19: Times of great change can be the best times to make … change.
- 7 April. In The Conversation. More Australians are worried about a recession and an increasingly selfish society than about coronavirus itself.
- 31 March. In The Conversation, Coronavirus is a wake-up call: our war with the environment is leading to pandemics.
- 27 March. In The Conversation. “Stay positive, Scott Morrison: when you berate people for bad behaviour, they do it more”.
- 25 March. In The Conversation, Coronavirus and you: how your personality affects how you cope and what you can do about it.
- 24 March. Monash Lens. COVID-19: Emotional and behavioural reactions to the unexpected.
- 24 March. in The Conversation. Why are we calling it ‘social distancing’? Right now, we need social connections more than ever.
- 24 March. ABC Radio 774. BWA Research Fellow, Mark Boulet, warns listeners about the impact that hygiene and health products can have on the waste system.
- 21 March. Dr Peter Slattey interviewed by the BBC on why some people stick to social distancing yet others don’t.
- 13 March. Monash Lens. COVID-19: Toilet paper panic trickle-down effect (warning of the risk that toilet paper alternatives such as wet wipes, napkins and thicker paper may lead to another major “monster” waste issue).
- March 5. In The Guardian, a behavioural science perspective on The Great #toiletpapercrisis of 2020 (Even as behavioural researchers we couldn’t resist the urge to buy toilet paper). The story was picked up by dozens of media outlets and BWA Director, Liam Smith, was interviewed by the BBC.