Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #33
Using Behaviour Analysis and Behavioural Economics to Frame Messages Effectively
Friday, September 2, 2022
11:30 AM–12:20 PM
Area: CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Deisy das Graças De Souza (Universidade Federal de São Carlos)
CE Instructor: Louise A McHugh, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: LOUISE A MCHUGH (University College Dublin)

We face many societal challenges that require a group level response. Education and insight alone do not motivate behaviour change for individuals to support the group. Integrating techniques from Behaviour Analysis and Behavioural Economics has a lot to offer in terms of enhancing motivation towards behaviour for societal good. Behavioural Economics tells us that messages framed in terms of losses are more motivationally impactful than the equivalent messages framed in terms of gains. Adherence to guidelines that would be beneficial at the individual level (e.g., medication adherence) or societal level (e.g., climate change) can be low when people perceive the messaging as coercive, irrelevant or unfair resulting in counterproductive resistance. This is a common response to warning messages framed in terms of potential risks and costs. Fortunately, a wide range of evidence-based behavioural techniques are specifically designed to reduce counterproductive resistance. These techniques are designed to help individuals clarify their own motivators for behavioural change; and to teach psychological skills that can motivationally enhance messages. The current talk will provide insight into how to adopt behaviour analytic principles to support the development of more effective messaging to motivate effective behaviour change that will support individuals and groups.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Academics and practitioners interested in effective messaging to change behavior at individual or group levels.

Learning Objectives: 1. At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Describe the latest message reframing advancements in RFT research; (2) Discuss the implications of RFT for behaviour change in public messaging and beyond; (3) Identify the needs for future research in Behavior Analysis and public messaging.
LOUISE A MCHUGH (University College Dublin)
Louise McHugh is a Professor of Psychology at University College Dublin. She is a world leading expert in Contextual Behavioural Science (CBS) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She has published over 100 papers and her H index is 40. Her work has been funded by national and international funding bodies such as the Irish Research Council, the Health Research Board, FP7, the British Academy, the ESRC and the Leverhulme Trust. Louise has been a Fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science since 2014. Prof. McHugh is the Director of the UCD CBS lab. Ongoing research projects in the CBS lab involve behavioural interventions for people experiencing homelessness (funded by the IRC), smoking cessation (funded by the IRC and the HRB) and interventions for patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (in Collaboration with St Vincent’s University Hospital Dublin). Prof McHugh 2015 I have been an Associate Editor for the Journal of Contextual Behavioural Science.



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