Can the Stimulation of Changes in Behavior Influence our Health and Well Being?
Have you ever thought that exercise could be fun if it were presented to you in a more positive and fun way? Well, we all know that most advertisers would agree that presentation is key in attracting consumers to a product. But why not have the same twisted idea for the delivery of every day exercise, and other things to promote personal well being?
Researchers from Volkswagen did a number of experiments that were performed to better overall health and the environment, by a simple change of behavior. Here are some of the experiments that they tried to promote a healthier living environment.
Stairway to Fitness
Picture your every day train station. It sees over a million people a day coming to and from work, doing errands, or possibly just travelling across town to visit a friend. But, when you are in the train station, what method of transport do you chose to get to the train; do you use the escalators or the stairways? Is the method you chose based on how late you are running that day or do you always make the same choice? Now, if you chose stairways, then great, you are making a positive choice, but if you chose the escalator would the way the stairs are being presented change your decision?
Volkswagen did a visual study to see if this were actually true. What they did was they took a typical stairway beside an escalator at a busy train station, and made the stairs into piano keys. If you stepped on each stair it would make the sound of the corresponding key on the piano. The idea was to see if there was an increase in numbers who would take the stairs with the keyboard as opposed to their regular choice of taking the escalator. After finishing the visual study, they found that there was an increase in 66% of people who chose the stairs over the escalator.
Does Mario Recycle?
Every day we walk past the green recycling bins that are put out to reduce the amount of litter. But, do most people pay attention to these things? Would you walk ten feet to throw something in the recycling bin, or are you more likely to throw it on the ground instead of going “that far” out of your way? If you said yes, then great, you are a part of the small percentage of people that recycle. Now, if you said no, if there was something that drew you to the recycling bin like a video game, would you be more inclined to walk the ten feet and recycle that bottle or can?
Volkswagen did a study to see if this would actually affect the behavior of humans. The idea was to see if people would recycle more by turning the recycling bin into a video game device, where each item thrown in the bin allowed for a certain number of points to be won. The more recycled material you put in the bin the more points you would receive. To add to it, the bin also made sound effects for each item thrown in. After a day of inspecting this new way of recycling, they found that a normal bin that would receive only a few items a day had 75% more recyclable materials in it with the addition of the game.
Now, what other ways can we change human behavior to benefit our world?! You decide!