New study tests interventions to foster safer behavior

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The world relies on non-medical measures, such as ventilation, face masks and body distance, to keep us safe from disasters. With vaccination completing the toolbox, these measures and the accompanying public health message continue to play an important role.

Now a new study suggests that it is possible to test the effectiveness of activities designed to improve security conduct to reduce the spread of the virus.

A study by the Max Planck Center for Human Development in Germany, in collaboration with the University of Plymouth in the UK, and the IESE Business School in Spain, found that the most effective way is to get the message across. directly, which contains. rational reason, and should be clear and concise.

The study, published in Scientific Progressasked seven groups of 100 people each in a particular area of ​​the American population to participate in games designed to imitate. the spread of the virus.

How did the game work?

The game is presented in a neutral medium, which replaces the terms associated with diseases by displaying neutral colors. Blue players represent healthy people, and purple players are addicted to people.

All 100 players in each game started as blue; then eight players are suddenly selected and changed to purple (this represents the first explosion).

In each of the 25 rounds, players decide between two tasks: task G provides low risk and low reward (score 8) and task H provides high risk and high reward (40 points). All players were randomly included. Blue paired with blue hues can change to purple; The transmission probability was between 0.05 and 0.25 and was determined by the risk of both selective actions.

In the end, the stats in all rounds are translated to pay only for the blue players, at a value of £ 1 on 200 points – so if they take more risks and are able to become blue, they get a higher reward.

However, if they get ‘infected’ and become purple, they lose everything.

What is being tested?

The study tested different effects of interference to prevent risk factors.

The condition was deliberately chosen to differentiate COVID-19 to ensure that participants were at the same level of proficiency. Shishigin has implemented a number of road safety rules used by countries and the media around the world, and has found that people reduce their risk of risk as follows:

  • The most effective way is a simple simple message (i.e. order) with a behavioral statement: “Choose action G to protect your bonus money and other players”. On average, participants also received the highest amount of money in this situation.
  • The second most effective are examples of the diffusion effects of early dispersion.
  • The third most effective is the simulation tool which allows participants to observe the effects of simulations with different risk levels.
  • It has little effect on the number of cases (purple): Depending on the outcome, people did not expect a significant increase in dispersal and did not respond to the initial increase.
  • Worst of all is the communication of ‘descriptive principles’ that describe the behavior of other participants (e.g. 60 per cent of participants chose the safest option) – this actually resulted in a slight increase in risk behaviors.

Lead researcher Dr. Jan Woike, a professor of psychology at the University of Plymouth, says: “Non-pharmacological approaches — such as wearing masks, keeping body distance, and reducing contact — require major behavioral changes, which relying on the acceptance of personal cooperation behavioral psychology provide cognitive and communication tools to help, but the impact of approachable methods has never been tested in a controlled environment that still demonstrates the severity of an outbreak.

“What’s important about this system is that it allows you to test someone’s influence intervene before implementing it in a real pandemic with health consequences for the participants.

“It is interesting to note that the most important intervention is not the one that the participants prefer. The clear and consistent message worked best in reducing risk factors.

“We do not know when or where the next epidemic, or even the next one in terms of differences in this epidemic, may come, but policymakers need to know what activities can improve the social fabric of society. “And this is a step in the right direction.”

The full study, entitled “Dissemination: Testing of behaviors in an imitation-like epidemic,” is available for review in the journal. Scientific Progress.

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Learn more:
Jan K. Woike, Broadcast: Experimentation in cement-like plague, Scientific Progress (2022). DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abk0428.

hintHuman options in imitated diseases: New study tests interventions to improve safety characteristics (2022, February 25) Retrieved 25 February 2022 from choices-simulated-pandemic-interventions .html

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