Behavioral change through short videos

Behavioural change is difficult to achieve and educational programmes, even if they have an effect, are modest and short-lived. Firdaus Kharas, an interesting film maker has taken short videos into a whole new world in trying to get people to alter their behaviours. The characters in his cartoon videos have no identifiable race or religion and thus are amenable to audiences everywhere. Here are some of his videos, most are fairly brief. These videos concern ‘The Three Amigo’, of which there are 20 episodes that have been translated into many languages. He has many more on other topics that are effective. Look him up online and find many more.

A spot from the three Amigos HIV/AIDS prevention program

Ebola: A poem from the living

This one, also produced by Firdaus Kharas, which is rather touching, deals with Ebola. It is an effort at education in African countries where Ebola has been rampant.

The battle of changing your behavior

Eric Zimmer | TEDxColumbus

Behavioural change is tough, but it can be done through baby steps, focus efforts and social support. Eric Zimmer provides an interesting perspective to behavioural change that might be of value to each of us.

A simple way to break a bad habit

Judson Brewer

Here we see how reinforcement can promote behavioural change. Can mindfulness training be effective, and how does the brain help us in this respect?

Three myths of behavior change - What you think you know that you don't

Jeni Cross at TEDxCSU

So, you think you know a lot about a lot. In fact, you are probably a victim of myths that get you on the wrong route in making changes. The trick to creating behavioural change is to make the information tangible, make it personal and social interaction is essential for making change. People are also ‘loss averse’, so tell people what they lose by behaving in certain ways, rather than tell them what they will gain if they change their behaviour.

How to change your behavior for the better

Dan Ariely

As always, Dan Ariely is terrific, in this case he tells us how to promote behavioural change as well as what approaches not to use. An entertaining and insightful approach – change the environment, not the behaviour. Focus on loss aversion (watch the video and you will see what this means) and creating a bit of guilt can be effective. But there may be a better approach, namely using more meaningful motivational sources to alter behaviour.


Bridge over diagnosis - A parody of bridge over troubled water

Illness diagnosis is fundamental for appropriate treatments to be administered. But in their zest to get things just right, or perhaps to avoid lawsuits, there may be a tendency for conducting too many tests. With each test conducted there is a risk for something showing up that is not real (false-positive) as well as a constellation of other problems. This James McCormack song, ‘Bridge over diagnosis’ (modelled after ‘Bridge over trouble water’) is a jewel.

Do more screening tests lead to better health? Choosing Wisely

In this serious video the issue of over-diagnosis is discussed and what it may mean for each of us. Given the current movement to over testing, we can reasonably expect over-diagnosis.

Flu shot: doing nothing is easier than doing something

With respect to vaccinations, you might find the information in this Risk Bites link much more convincing. Believe me, you will want to see this.

What’s our greatest danger?

We face lots of threats. If you have ever read Friedman’s book, Hot, Flat and Crowded, you would know that one of the greatest threats to human well-being is overpopulation. Each person needs food, energy, space, and 7 billion people create lots of pollution that can influence our health. This SciShow video shows some of these dangers.

Don’t pee in the pool

This might sound tongue and cheek, and might not seem particularly important. But it has implications beyond peeing in the pool. Here is a view from Risk Bites that is delves into this topic. When certain chemicals appear in the environment (such as pee in the pool) chemical interactions can occur that can, in fact, have serious health consequences. If a bit of pee can do this, what other risks are humans facing by small amounts of pollutants?

An important lesson from ‘Nudge’ | Richard Thaler

Producing behavioural change is often exceedingly difficult for individuals and for groups. This video shows how behaviour of groups can slowly be modified by nudging them in a desired direction. For his contributions to behavioural economics, Richard Thaler received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2017.

Sunk costs

Admit it. We all do some pretty dopey things. As Kahneman informed us, our decision-making abilities are sometimes flawed. It is not uncommon for people to adopt a ‘sunk costs’ perspective (e.g. ‘I’ve read half of this trashy book, I might as well read the rest, since I paid for it’). This might not sound like much, but put this into other perspectives (e.g. ‘I’ve already invested so much in this project, I might as well keep going even if it looks like things won’t pan out’, ‘I’ve been using these cruddy coffee beans that Dr Oz recommended for three months, so I might as well suffer through a few more months in the hope that I’ll lose weight’). This Dnews video does an excellent job of illustrating how our brain makes fundamental errors, including a couple of others that I will let you find out about by watching the video.