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Training Years: 2018-2019

Training Site: International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B)

Country: Bangladesh

Mentors: Peter Winch (JHU); Mahbubur Rahman (ICDDR,B)

Title: Participant Responsiveness and Reaction to Emotional Drivers for the Promotion of Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, Nutrition, and Child Simulation Behavior Change in Rural Bangladesh

Program Objectives:

Aim 1: Systematically assess participant responsiveness to emotionally-driven behavioral recommendations using manual coding of facial expressions.

Significance: The use of emotional drivers, including affiliation, nurture, and disgust triggers, to promote uptake of protective behaviors shows promise in the field of water, sanitation, and hygiene [1]. However, we have yet to show that intervention components operationalize these drivers as we lack an appropriate method to capture participants’ emotional responses. Measuring participant responsiveness to intervention activities intended to elicit emotion is critical to our understanding of the underlying mechanism of behavior change.

Aim 2: Understand how positively and negatively framed behavioral recommendations are understood and perceived by target audiences

Significance: Emotional response includes rapid, autonomic response as well as complex cognitive processes. It is important to consider both immediate emotional response to intervention components, as well as their potential lasting effect. The literature suggests that negatively framed behavioral recommendations may have unintended consequences for already marginalized populations, such as the reinforcement of stigma or discrimination when shame or disgust-based messaging is used [3]. Given the potential detriment of using  negative emotional drivers to promote behavior change, there is a need to better understand how target audiences both comprehend and perceive emotionally-driven behavioral recommendations. Innovation: When intervention components are found to be successful, in-depth exploration of user preferences and/or unintended consequences are sometimes neglected. Perceptions of, and preferences for, positively or negatively framed behavioral recommendations could provide additional understanding of how recommendations are processed beyond initial autonomic responses.

Aim 3: Compare the effectiveness and acceptability of behavioral recommendations designed to elicit a positive or negative emotional response through small-scale tests

Significance: Interventions seeking to use emotional drivers of change often use multiple emotional drivers in tandem (e.g. disgust triggers and nurture). As a result, when trying to understand the underlying theory of change, it is difficult to (1) parse out whether positive (nurture) or negative (disgust triggers) drivers affect change, and (2) identify unintended consequences of emotionally-driven behavioral recommendations. Innovation: The proposed research seeks to explore the effectiveness and acceptability of positive versus negative emotional drivers at increasing uptake of recommended behaviors in the target population.

NIH Support: Fogarty scholars doctoral training award

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