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Visiting experts

Visiting expert: Bas Verplanken

If you don’t understand habits, how can you hope to change them?

Why do we behave the way we do? Why does it seem so difficult to change behaviour? Common sense suggests, and many behaviour change programs optimistically assume, that we weigh up the pros and cons of a behaviour before we decide to perform it.

But in reality, many of the behaviours that we undertake in our daily lives are ‘habits’ which are performed without much conscious thought or deliberation. As a result, conventional approaches to influencing behaviour (e.g., information and incentives) are less likely to be effective when behaviours are habitual.

In this seminar, one of the world’s leading experts on habits, Professor Bas Verplanken from the University of Bath (UK), discusses the importance of understanding habits when developing interventions to influence behaviour, with a particular focus on environmental sustainability. He highlights how habits can be measured, broken and created and offers guidance on timing interventions at key ‘moments of change’ when habits are particularly vulnerable.

Professor Verplanken argues that habits can serve as barriers as well as opportunities, and should take centre stage in behaviour change interventions. Full seminar recorded (45+ mins).

PowerPoint slides here.