DIY Health: Behavior Design Experiment—Textual Breathing

This week for DIY Health we were split into groups to create a behavior design experiment based on BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model. From the abstract:

The FBM asserts that in order for a person to perform a targeted behavior, he or she must (1) be sufficiently motivated (2) have the ability to perform the behavior, and (3) be triggered to perform the behavior. These three moments must occur at the same moment, else the behavior will not happen.

Goal:

To consciously take a breath twice a day, at 10am and 4pm. We specified the four corner breathing exercise from Lucy Jo Palladino’s book, Find Your Focus Zone.

Trigger:

Daily SMS messages at 10am and 4pm with the exercise instructions. In terms of Fogg, our trigger was a signal. Ability and motivation are both high. We chose an audience that values the effects of taking a deep breath, hence they didn’t require any convincing. They just needed a basic reminder.

Instructions:

  1. Find an object nearby that has four corners — a box, your monitor, or even this page.
  2. Start at the upper-left-hand corner and inhale for 4 counts. Turn your gaze to the upper-right-hand corner and hold your breath for 4 counts.
  3. Move to the lower-right-hand corner. Exhale for 4 counts.
  4. Now shift your attention to the lower-left-hand corner. Tell yourself to relax and smile.

Volunteers were given a Google Form to answer the following questions:

  1. Where were you and what were you doing before the breathing exercises?
  2. What four-cornered object did you look at?
  3. Did you do the exercises immediately, or wait for a convenient time and place?
  4. Were the text messages intrusive or annoying?

As of writing this blog post, the responses were generally positive from the two individuals who responded to the survey. See below:

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After reviewing the responses, Blythe and I are considering how to simplify the instructions, and also incorporating a feedback mechanism to track our participants activity.

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