Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What is your strategy?

I was watching this video as part of my consolidation of the taught material for the behavioral change module. At the end I was informed that if I signed up for an audible account I would receive a free audiobook. Having just finished reading Cialdini’s book “Influence” I noticed that this (free) gift could instead be reframed as a compliance tool, intended to trigger the automatic principle of reciprocity. Furthermore, the opt out tactic whereby I would have to actively delete my audible account in order to avoid an unpleasant bill, seemed to take advantage of the default effect. This describes how when presented with a set of options most people choose the default, which requires no effort on their part.

However, I propose an alternative strategy. You download the free book, set a reminder on your phone or calendar to delete the audible account in a months’ time and then take advantage of the second (free) audiobook that is likely to be offered as an incentive, intended to persuade you to stay.


Cialdini, R. B. (2007). Influence: The psychology of persuasion. New York: Collins.

Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. L., & Thaler, R. H. (1991). Anomalies: The endowment effect, loss aversion, and status quo bias. Journal of Economic perspectives, 5(1), 193-206.

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