Behavioral change refers to any transformation or modification of human behavior. It may also refer to a broad range of activities and approaches which focus on the individual, community, and environmental influences on behavior. In recent years, there has been increased interest in the application of behavioral change theories in the areas of health, education, criminology, energy and international development with the hope that understanding behavioral change will improve the services offered in these areas.
Behavioral Change aims to develop specific behavioral change instruments for Asians in order to make them adopt good habits (e.g. saving energy, planning early for retirement, and maintaining good dental care), and abandon bad habits (e.g. smoking and over-eating). Several projects undertaken with different government agencies will examine how environment (e.g. social norms/influences), knowledge (about the problem or the norm and the process of change), and incentives (intrinsic/extrinsic) can encourage formation of good habits. A primary goal is to develop low-cost but innovative field interventions that will lead to positive long-term outcomes.
Environment as a behavioral change instrument refers to changing the surroundings (e.g. introducing smoking bans) to change people’s bad habits (e.g. smoking) or using the impact of social norms to influence individuals to adopt good behaviors such as being environmentally friendly.
Knowledge refers to providing information or feedback about the issue (e.g. the negative health effects of diabetes), the norm or the process/steps to make the change (e.g. how to prevent or reduce the risk of getting diabetes) as a way to help people adopt good habits such as going for regular health screening and maintaining a healthy diet.
Incentives as an instrument of behavioral change refers to the use of intrinsic incentives (e.g. sense of accomplishment and well being) or extrinsic incentives (e.g. monetary rewards) to motivate people to persist in their efforts to change or improve their behaviors.
Professor Ho Teck Hua is Deputy President (Research & Technology) and Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore. He is a prominent behavioural scientist with a PhD in Decision Sciences from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Director of the Centre for Behavioural Economics and the NUS Global Asia Institute, a Board Member of the National University Health System and the National Environment Agency, a Fellow at the Singapore Civil Service College, and Chair of a Research Advisory Panel for the Singapore Land Transport Authority.
Prior to his role as Deputy President, Prof Ho was the William Halford Jr Family Professor of Marketing at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business. He was also Director of the Asia Business Center, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Haas School, and Chair of the Marketing Group. In 2015, he received the Williamson Award, the School's highest faculty award, named in honour of Oliver Williamson, the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences. He was awarded the prestigious Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award in 2010, and the Earl F Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004, 2005, and 2006.Prof Ho has published many significant works in the areas of economics, management science, and marketing. In 2014, a co-authored paper won the second place Wickham Skinner Best Paper Award from Production and Operations Management. He has also been a finalist for three of the most prestigious awards in marketing research, including the 2011 William F O'Dell Award, the 2006 John DC Little Best Paper Award, and the 2005 Paul Green Best Paper Award.He is the first non-US citizen to be Editor-in-Chief of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, and one of the top journals for management research.
Hang Wu joined the Global Asia Institute in 2014 after completing his PhD in economics from the University of Adelaide. His research focuses on behavioral game theory, industrial organization and competition, and experimental economics.