on behaviour change 1


the other thing that caught my eye in Attitudes to cycling was the behaviour change section. These behaviour change models have always struck me as pretty wishy washy stuff that contribute little to our understanding of the problem or its solutions, and this one seems to demonstrate excellently the problem with them. People who "have given it some thought but are not going to do it" are considered "pre-primed", people who "have started doing this but are finding it difficult" are categorised as in "change", and people who "were doing this but couldn???t stick to it" are considered "primed". In fact, these groups should go together to make up the category of people who would like to use a bicycle for more of their journeys but are terrified by the environment in which it is expected to take place. But they're not, one set is dismissed as no hopers lacking interest in cycling, one set is celebrated for their achievement, and one set is targeted as needing a bit of help.

I'm open to persuasion otherwise if any fans of this stuff want to try to convince me, or at least, point me to good resources on the subject…

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One thought on “on behaviour change

  • Martin Parkinson

    Hi Joeplease, I’m definitely *not* a "fan of this stuff" – or at least not in the sense of thinking that, of itself, it is going to actually do anything substantial. Behaviour is massively complicated and programmes of ‘education’ and ‘communcation’ could function, I have come to conclusion, like lubrication rather than having any motive power in themselves. Having said, that, any mechanical engineer will tell you that lubrication is *not* trivial – especially when things are stuck. Therefore, even though thinking about the sociology and psychology of active transport should clearly be secondary to pushing for "let’s just learn from the netherlands!" it makes sense to at least take a look at what the behaviour-geeks have to say. (see also http://www.martinparkinson.net/greenpsy.html – does posterous take HTML – doesn’t look as if it does)The resource I found useful when I was reading around this area myself (quite a few years ago now) was Tim Jacksons "motivating sustainable behaviour". (http://www.c2p2online.com/documents/MotivatingSC.pdf ). The reason I like this as a starting point is that a large part of it is just a summary of every single "behaviour" theory you can think of, right the way from economics to social anthropology – it therefore acts as an introduction to the subject. Btw, I notice you write about Bristol quite a bit but you seem to live in London – any special connection with Bris?