“Behavior Change,” Angela Duckworth, UPenn
BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES WORKSHOP
Abstract: Despite rapid growth in the empirical research on behavior change, modern science has yet to produce a coherent set of recommendations for individuals and organizations eager to align everyday actions with enduringly valued goals. We propose the process model of behavior change as a parsimonious framework for organizing strategies according to where they have their primary impact in the generation of behavioral impulses. To begin, individuals exist in objective situations, only certain features of which attract attention, which in turn lead to subjective appraisals, then finally give rise to response tendencies. Unhealthy habits develop when conflicting impulses are consistently resolved in favor of momentary temptations instead of valued goals. To change behavior for the better, we can strategically modify objective situations, where we pay attention, how we construct appraisals, and how we enact responses. Crucially, behavior change strategies can be initiated either by the individual (i.e., self-control) or by others (e.g., a benevolent employer).
Angela Duckworth is the founder and CEO of Character Lab, whose mission is to advance scientific insights that help children thrive. She is also the Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, faculty co-director of the Penn-Wharton Behavior Change For Good Initiative, and faculty co-director of Wharton People Analytics. Previously, Angela founded a summer school for underserved children that was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study and, in 2018, celebrated its 25th anniversary. She has also been a McKinsey management consultant and a public school math and science teacher. Her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a #1 New York Times best seller. She is also co-host, with Stephen Dubner, of the podcast No Stupid Questions.
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Cosponsored by the Center for the Study of American Politics (CSAP) and the School of Management’s International Center for Finance and the Lynne & Andrew Redleaf Foundation.