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Evolving behaviour change

By Paul Tanner

Paul Tanner

Science evolves. Science changes. Science looks at the past and the present and comes up with alternative paths for the future.

This is one of the reasons why I love my job: I have the privilege of seeing the impact of scientific advances every day. I believe that in healthcare communications we need to root behavioural change firmly in the evolving field of behavioural science.

Behavioural science is a rich field of research and study. It draws on psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry to understand the behaviour of individuals. It also looks at economics and sociology to shed light on the behaviour of populations. Even a quick glimpse at a behavioural science journal will reveal a wealth of new theories and ideas blossoming in the field.

Research being published by universities around the world is directly relevant to the work healthcare communicators are doing today. This month alone I’ve read thought-provoking new research on strategies for empowering older women to raise concerns about breast cancer earlier, and on what makes apps that encourage exercise in cancer survivors sink or swim. And there is more where that came from – so much more.

I have been passionate about behavioural science throughout my career and, as an industry, I think we should be wary of focusing only on behavioural change so that we lose sight of the bigger picture, and the landscape in which behavioural change sits. In healthcare communications we need to ensure that any behavioural change continues to

be informed by our understanding of behavioural science. This means being rigorous in how we assess evidence and develop methodologies. It also means seeking out and exploring new theories, new discoveries and new directions. That’s something I’m pretty excited by. How about you?

By Paul Tanner, Chairman, 90TEN

In association with

90TEN

16th May 2019

From: Healthcare

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