Models, Theory and Applications
Chapter 5: Rational economic models (cognitive models) summary
This part of the book has reviewed the main rational models of behaviour currently used as a foundation in behaviour change interventions in social marketing. The majority of users of these models are to be found in the health domain. The underlying assumption of these models is that the individual is able to (1) perceive the ‘message’ or risk, (2) respond to the ‘message’, and (3) consciously adjust their behaviours in relation to external factors such as advertising. The models presented in this part of the book have been widely discussed and tested in academic literature and out in the field by social marketing practitioners. The models are well ensconced in the field of behaviour change, but it is important to remember their limitations. They assume that the decision-maker is completely rational – as discussed earlier in this part of the book, even the most rational human being sometimes make decisions on a whim, based on emotion or even just following his or her peers. The models assume that the decision-maker has all the relevant information needed to make a decision, is aware of alternatives and makes the optimal choice based on a considered, logical decision-making process. These assumptions are wide-reaching and it is rare that these conditions can be met in the real world. However, given all of these limitations the rational economic models are conceptually very strong and provoke a solid framework for social marketing practitioners wanting to elicit sustainable behaviour change.
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