Changing Behaviour

March 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm Leave a comment

All behaviour is based on the emotional reward or stimulus they get from it. They don’t perceive the behaviour as something negative as the response it provides is positive. The weird thing about human behaviour is that no matter how much we want to believe that we base our decisions on logic we actually base them on emotions. In fact the latest brain studies have shown that without the emotion behind decisions we are unable to learn from past experience – god or bad. This creates a problem for behavioural change as many try and change it via logic and that just doesn’t work.
I would also add that behaviour is intrinsic to the individual and we measure it extrinsically so that in itself causes a dissonance. To change behaviour we need to get inside the mind of the individual and how they perceive the situation and then plant the required seeds of change and nurture these. If the behaviour is seriously unsafe then the pain of contravening the safe system must be so great (in the mind of the person behaving badly) that it outweighs the pleasure of the aberrant behaviour.

Let me tell you a story about human behaviour. Behavioural scientists set up a couple of maze experiments. One for a rat and an identical one scaled up for humans. When each creature managed to reach the destination of the maze they were rewarded. The rat with food and the human with money, both from a machine. The experiment went well but when the reward was withdrawn the rat after only three attempts stopped travelling the maze – no reward no work. However, when the human reward was withdrawn it took six plus on average to stop travelling the maze. That in itself isn’t the whole story. When the reward was withdrawn the human was the only one to get angry at the machine – they actually kicked the machine in temper. The rat just stopped and found something else to do.



Entry filed under: Health and Safety Coaching.

Decrease Your Risk of Heart Disease Behavioural Safety – Counterfactual Reflections

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