TC 220: The Fun Theory

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Host Robin Masiewicz and regulars Jamie and Gloria discuss "The Fun Theory", the theory that the easiest way to change human behavior for the better, is by making it fun to do. This was based on an ad campaign from Volkswagen where they decided to put the theory to the test in three behavioral experiments, the video of which is now posted on YouTube. 

The first experiment was to see if more people would take the stairs rather than the escalator if they made it fun to do. The idea was to turn the stairs into a giant piano keyboard, where each stair represented a note. The lower notes were at the bottom of the stairs, and the higher ones on top. People discovered that they could make sounds as they went up or down the stairs. 

The result? 66% more people than normal took the stairs over the escalator. Fun can obviously change behavior for the better. 

The second experment was to see if they could get more people to throw their rubbish in the bin by making it fun to do. They wired a trash can so that each time you put something in, you heard a sound like a cartoon bomb falling down the world's deepest bin, then a boom when it "hit" the bottom. 

The result of this experiment was that they collected 158 pounds of trash (72kg) in the "fun" bin compared to just 68 pounds (31kg) of trash in another bin just a short distance away. 

The videos of these experiments went viral, resulting in other people trying to make other common tasks fun. So what do you think? Does novelty and fun help us to do the right thing

 

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