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Table 1 Socio-technical behaviour change process model for energy saving

From: Designing an integrated socio-technical behaviour change system for energy saving

Behaviour Change Stage Theories examining psychological processes occurring at this stage Incentive mechanisms/ persuasive technology to activate the processes
Pre-contemplation -people are unaware of the need for change, have no intention to change behaviour, behaviour performed habitually, without conscious thought. Norm activation theory (Schwartz 1977): personal norm activated when people become aware of harmful consequences their behaviour has for other people and the environment (awareness of consequences) and accept personal responsibility for that (ascription of responsibility). Social norm (Ajzen 2001): can influence attitudes, e.g. through activation of social disapproval ∙ Feedback mechanisms (comparison of energy consumption to historical consumption, social comparison to other households) ∙ Impact visualizations showing possible negative impact of own energy consumption.
Contemplation -people are unaware of the need for change and ready to act, but situational factors can postpone energy saving behaviour -factual knowledge about energy saving and other information that can help “tip the balance in favor of change” is needed Theory of planned behaviour: activating feeling of behavioural control (Ajzen 2002) increases likeliness for acting in new ways Goal setting theory (Ling et al. 2005): setting specific goals increases persistence and belief in ability to complete a task Goal framing theory (Lindenberg and Steg 2007): user propensity to act can be stimulated by showing how hedonic values (e.g. comfort, enjoyment) need not be impacted by energy saving, or can be achieved with small comfort reduction (e.g. one minute shorter shower) ∙ Tips on how to save energy can activate the feeling of behavioural control ∙ Goal setting to reduce consumption by a specific degree supports saving ∙ Comfort feedback visualization relating energy savings to the maintained comfort level can be used to demonstrate that energy saving can work while preserving comfort.
Action -take first actions and require continuous reinforcements against slipping back. Self-efficacy theory (Bandura 1977): a person’s belief in their ability to perform and maintain a difficult behaviour supports action Coping planning (Schwarzer 2008): ability to foresee ways to cope with scenarios that can hinder the realization of the action Reinforcement theory (Skinner 1957): positive reinforcements (e.g. rewards) can stimulate people to keep acting in new ways ∙ Personalized recommendations to reduce energy consumption ∙ Virtual and physical rewards to stimulate energy saving behaviour ∙ Motivational messages to indicate if users are on the right track to achieve their energy savings goal
Monitoring -need to ensure that behaviour persists over time and people don’t slip to old behaviour. Recovery self-efficacy (Schwarzer 2008): individual’s confidence in being capable of resuming a difficult behaviour after a relapse has a positive influence on sustained change. Fogg’s behaviour model (Fogg 2009): to sustain change, sufficient motivation and ability need to exist after the intervention, and need to be triggered appropriately. ∙ Reminders and notifications can reinforce positive behaviours long after the intervention is over (e.g. sending reminders at regular intervals or specific occasions) ∙ Card or board games as objects integrated with existing habits can serve as reminders in daily life