As Instructional Designers, it’s important to present information in a way that effectively communicates an idea, while at the same time eliciting behavior that creates momentum in applying it.
Human Behavior Examined
Can physically experiencing something cause us to act in a different way had we not experienced it?
If you simply read about what it felt like to be in a car accident at high velocity speeds, would that be a strong enough deterrent for you to stop speeding? What about if you actually felt the physical pain of being in that kind of car accident? Would you be less likely to press your foot harder against that gas pedal?
A Study on Human Behavior
According to one study conducted at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford, yes you might be. The Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford conducted an interesting study on human behavior, and the effect a visceral experience has on our actions.
Julie Dirksen summed up the study and its findings in an article she wrote for Learning Solutions Magazine titled, Research for Practitioners: When It’s Not a Knowledge Problem. The study looked at the result of learning about the negative impact on deforestation of using non-recycled paper goods. It examined two groups, one experiencing the physical feelings of cutting down trees in a virtual lab setting, and the other read a vivid account of the physical act of cutting down trees.
The Findings on Human Behavior
The findings were that visceral experiences did change behavior. Dirksen admitted up front that we should be careful in making generalizations based on this one study, but it is nonetheless still interesting to see how experiencing something physically may impact our actions.
Conclusions on Human Behavior
The study concluded two significant considerations:
- Attitude is not necessarily a predictor of behavior.
- Active, visceral experiences may influence behavior change.
Human Behavior and Instructional Design
This study on human behavior can be an important one for instructional designers to examine because it may help fill your instructional design toolbox with more effective approaches to generating the kind of action you want your students to take.
Tell us your thoughts on this study on human behavior in the comment box below.
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