Health goal priming as a situated intervention tool: how to benefit from nonconscious motivational routes to health behavior

Papies, E. K. (2016) Health goal priming as a situated intervention tool: how to benefit from nonconscious motivational routes to health behavior. Health Psychology Review, 10(4), pp. 408-424. (doi:10.1080/17437199.2016.1183506) (PMID:27144729)

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Abstract

Recent research has shown the limited effects of intentions on behavior, so that novel methods to facilitate behavior change are needed that do not rely on conscious intentions. Here, it is argued that nonintentional effects on health behavior, such as the effects of habits, impulses, and nonconscious goals, occur through the activation of cognitive structures by specific situations. Interventions should therefore be situated to change these effects, either by changing the critical cognitive structures (training interventions), or by changing which cognitive structures get activated (cueing interventions). The current article presents this framework for situated interventions, as well as examples of interventions of each type. Then, it introduces goal priming as a cueing intervention tool to activate health goals and thus facilitate healthier behavior, even in tempting situations that typically activate short-term hedonic goals. Following a review of empirical evidence, five principles for the effective application of health goal primes are proposed, namely 1) to target individuals who value the primed goals, 2) by activating their specific motivation 3) through effective cues 4) that attract attention at the right time. Finally, 5) an effective goal-directed behavior needs to be known and accessible to the primed individual. These principles are illustrated with examples of different health behaviors in order to facilitate their application for successful behavior change.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Behavior change, priming, nudging, intervention, self-regulation, nonconscious processes.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Papies, Dr Esther
Authors: Papies, E. K.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Health Psychology Review
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1743-7199
ISSN (Online):1743-7202
Published Online:19 May 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Author
First Published:First published in Health Psychology Review 10(4): 408-424
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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