19 Oct '11, 11am

Change hurts: Influencing behavior is a messy business

Change hurts: Influencing behavior is a messy business

Tidy Street. Jon Bird is a master of getting people to change their ways. A senior research associate at University College London who divides his time between the computer science and psychology departments, he recently designed a machine that helps beginners learn to play the violin by giving them the magic buzzer treatment whenever they make a mistake. "I had a vested interest," Bird says. "My son had just taken up the violin. It normally takes 700 hours to learn. I thought, 'If we could just cut back a little on that screeching ... '" Bird and his cronies also helped design a genius shopping cart that helps you find local, nutritious food. But when it comes to teaching people to conserve energy, he may have met his match. Last spring, Bird and his colleagues enlisted a group of 17 households on Tidy Street in Brighton, a seaside town south of London, who agreed to reco...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/energy-efficiency/2011-10-19-change-...

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