Is this specific enough?

Is this specific enough?


Shaping Pro-Environment Behaviors Certain Messages Work, Don't Work
2006 American Psychological Association

Psychologists are researching how the wording of messages/signs can change behaviour or establish compliance.

Researchers from the Arizona State University tried to find out which messages guests responded better when asked to reuse their towels. The message asking guests to identify with fellow citizens (please see article for exact wording) worked better than the message asking guests to help the hotel save energy.

A similar experiment was conduct by the USDA Forest Service. The right message, asking people not to go off the path, had a 95% compliance rate, and when there were no messages +30% people went off the path. (Please see the article for details.)

What works is the right specific message. An injunctive-proscriptive message works better than a injunctive-prescriptive message.

----Please read the article for the facts. This is a very interesting story, but you must read the details. And I don’t want to include more details beyond what is reasonable to reproduce here. ---
-Hotel experiment:
the right message had a 40.1% compliance rate.
the wrong message had 5% compliance.
- Forest Experiment:
the right message had a 95% compliance rate.
no message at all had about 70% compliance.

Language Issues:
- Language does influence how we behave, but it must be the right sort of language.
- The language must also convey the right sort of information we can identify with.
- The right sort of language can be used to convey the message that changing one’s behaviour for the good of society can still represent a win/win strategy. If everyone recycled the towels, then no one will be worse off, but we also get to do our bit for the environment; which affects us all in the end.

- Why was there a small percentage that chose not to cooperate? We know that the right message worked well. Was it because they did not understand the message or because they felt they can get away with it?
- Is compliance the same as changing behaviour? It seems to me that changing behaviour is more cost effective, since one does not need to reinforce the message. In the long run it should cost us mush less since the desired action becomes second nature. Whereas compliance seems to require regular investment to maintain the effect. For me, compliance does not imply an action done as a second nature.
- In the two experiments, people were being asked to do something they can actually comply with at no special inconvenience to them: reuse towels, keep to the path. Maybe asking people to save the environment is too much of a handful for most of us.

Small acorns make big oak trees.

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