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Forming better habits, or behaviors

January 21st, 2016 at 05:28 pm

I read Bob's blog, where he mentioned that he was quitting tobacco and I was inspired to share some information that I learned about in one of my classes. You all may not know this about me because I try to keep some information vague online, but I am a huge behavior nerd. (That's a clue for my post grad program!).

In the field of behavior analysis, under the subfield of organization behavior management, PIC/NIC Analysis was developed to help analyze behavior consequences in order to help figure out why people do what they do, even if they know better. P/N (positive/negative consequences), I/F (immediate/future consequences aka delay of gratification), and C/U (certainty/uncertainty of receiving consequences). Basically, people will behave more consistently when consequences are PIC/NIC because in the past that behavior resulted in consequences more quickly. An example I found was regarding recycling. We all know it is important to recycle/reuse bags, and we know how bad plastic bags are for the environment. So why do people still choose to use plastic bags over reusable bags? Take a look below, if I can attach the picture correctly!


Heward,W. and Kimball,J. (2013). Sustaining Sustainability with Clueless Contingencies. Sustain, 28, 4-15.

Basically, doing the right thing feels more like work, and the consequences for doing the right thing (getting your reusable bags from the car), are far in the future. People naturally gravitate towards what behavior has given them a desired consequence immediately versus a consequence that "may" happen in the future.

Anyway, I thought that this analysis was interesting because I can place any of my unhelpful behaviors into the chart and acknowledge why I am making the choices that I make. Then I can decide for myself if the behavior is worth changing, even if I have to possibly delay gratification. I can also determine how to rearrange my environment and consequences in order to make the desired behavior either easier to achieve or more rewarding.

I can totally see how this analysis is useful in dieting and in staying within a budget!

1 Responses to “Forming better habits, or behaviors”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Interesting! My youngest daughter would love this chart. I'm going to show it to her!

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