Government behaviour change policies often build on the assumption that citizens make decisions rationally. In practice however many social psychological processes subconsciously influence behaviour. These subconscious influences, which in this study are referred to as ‘intermediary factors’, may mediate the effects of behaviour change policies. A policy and behaviour change framework is introduced, based on which is explored to what extent government behaviour change policies take into account such subconscious influences. Document research and interviews were conducted to identify how policy instruments were used to tackle three specific societal problems (concerning respectively health, mobility and finances), and to gain insight in the way intermediary factors could have affected effectiveness. Two types of such effects were identified: (1) subconscious influences (e.g. social norms) may undermine government practices to change behaviour and (2) government practices to change behaviour themselves may indirectly bring about undesirable subconscious processes (e.g. resistance) that affect behaviour.
|Journal||Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|