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, March 21, 2018

Can Things Change People's Behaviour for the Better?

Design for Behaviour Change aims to understand people and then encourage them to ’do’ or ’not to do’ something. Nowadays, the most popular applications of design for behaviour change include design for sustainability, which will be described in the undermentioned post, crime prevention (Design against crime) or health (A local healthcare facility for patients suffering from dementia).

In this video, which is the bachelor thesis project, two students have used the method of redesigning the environment, social and human-object interaction in order to increase pro-ecological habits like saving water or energy and preventing people having to search for bottles in the trash.

This project provides an example of the mindful design approach to behaviour change. According to this idea, mindfulness relates to being open and alert in specific contexts. Mindful mindset also facilitates the creation of new categories. Thus, reconsidering actions and their consequences lead to the adjustment to the new conditions. Based on this,two processes have to take place in order to achieve the behaviour change effect in design. Firstly, the object creates awareness through a physical or symbolic disruption of its function, and secondly, the user mediates this disruption through the mindful experience (Niedderer, 2013). An example of mindful design in an environment is the first prototype of a sustainable washbasin, which reflects the water usage in the mirror. When washing hands reaches the proper amount, the reflection stops at the eye level. The second project requires social interaction between the users in order to fill and then to empty the same bottle holder. The last design, which is the reading lamp, is based on human-object interaction. The light bulb located on the moving cable is burning only a certain amount of time, around 10 minutes. In order to extend the light, it is necessary to put the light bulb up once again. In summary, it exemplifies the way designers could influence people's behaviour for the better.


Niedderer, K. (2013, August). Mindful design as a driver for social behaviour change. In Proceedings of the IASDR Conference 2013.

Niedderer, K., Mackrill, J., Clune, S., Lockton, D., Ludden, G., Morris, A., ... & Hekkert, P. (2014). Creating sustainable innovation through design for behaviour change: full project report.

Natalia Bogacz

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