Social Marketing and Behaviour Change
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Social Marketing and Behaviour Change

Models, Theory and Applications

Linda Brennan, Wayne Binney, Lukas Parker, Torgeir Aleti and Dang Nguyen

This book provides a concise overview of the behaviour change models that are relevant to social marketing in order to assist academics and practitioners in social marketing program development. The book features a review and analysis of the most validated models of behaviour change, together with a number of case studies from international researchers that illustrate these models in practice. The models covered include cognitive, conative, affective, social-cultural and multi-theory models, consumer behavior decision models and social change models.
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Chapter 3: Rational economic models (cognitive models)

Linda Brennan, Wayne Binney, Lukas Parker, Torgeir Aleti and Dang Nguyen


This chapter aims to provide an overview of the most widely used set of behaviour change models – the rational choice models. This set of theories is descended from economic theory and in the psychology domain they are sometimes termed cognitive models – meaning ‘thinking’ models. The references provided are only a very few of the available research articles and our listing is designed to be illustrative of the uses and not an exhaustive list of every possible model that can be used. The rational models of behaviour are theoretically underpinned by the belief that humans, and indeed consumers, behave in a generally rational and consistent manner. Rationality in this sense can be interpreted as ‘wanting more rather than less of a good’ or ‘maximizing utility’ and is widely used as an assumption of human behaviour. This means that decisions are logically planned and implemented, with clear decision criteria used to enable the consumer to make the best possible decision for them; weighing up the pros and the cons, and selecting the option, product or behaviour that is best for them at that time, taking into account all situational factors known to them. Many of the models used today are rooted in economic theory; however, they have been widely applied and tested in a social marketing and behavioural change context.

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