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Forschungsprojekte M. A. Maximilian Hiller

On the potential of promoting healthy behavior with small repeated commitment betting

Ido Erev, Gal Lifshitz, Yefim Roth, Maximilian Hiller, Stefan Klößner, Vanessa Mertins

Living a healthy lifestyle is a desirably yet mostly under achieved goal. Previous interventions using monetary incentives to promote desired healthy behavior led to mixed results: they were often expensive yet not always helpful. Building on the planning – ongoing gap, in the current paper we explore a novel procedure to promote desired behavior – repeated commitment betting: each day the participants can bet their own money on whether they are going to achieve their health goal on the next day. In case of success, the participants earns some small amount but in case of failure loose a larger amount. In the planning stage, when the betting decision Is made, most participants take the bet, because they plan to behave in accordance with their long term goals. In the ongoing stage, the prospect of loosing money helps participants behave in accordance with their long term interests. In two intervention studies (stress reduction breathing exercise and walking individually tailored number of steps), we validate the theoretical notian above, showing a major advantage of the betting procedure in achieving one’s goals compared to desired behavior incentivization and to control (fixed pay). Furthermore, the cost of the betting intervention was much smaller both per participant and per practice.     

commitment device, betting, healthy behavior, micro-incentives, deposit contracts, goal setting, monetary reward