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A decision-making perspective on coaching behavior change: A field experiment on promoting exercise at work

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Abstract

We discuss a decision-making perspective on coaching behavior change and report a field experiment following the perspective in which we promoted physical exercises at work using an e-coaching app. More specifically, we investigated what are the important attributes that influence the attractiveness of exercise options, and whether showing an extreme option would nudge users to do more exercises (a.k.a. compromise effect). Seventy participants were coached by the app BeActive! for 10 days to consider taking breaks at work twice a day to do simple exercises. Through choice modeling, it was found that people cared more about whether the exercise options would reduce their productivity at work and whether doing the exercises were socially embarrassing, than the health benefits of the exercise options. The results did not reveal the compromise effect, but rather an effect in the opposite direction, supporting an alternative model that people make decisions hierarchically. Potentials and challenges of taking the decision-making perspective in behavior change research are discussed based on what we learned from the experiment.

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Zhang, C., Starczewski, A. P., Lakens, D., & IJsselsteijn, W. A. (2018). A decision-making perspective on coaching behavior change: A field experiment on promoting exercise at work. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 10809 LNCS, pp. 87–98). Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-78978-1_7

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