Information and Behavior: Systems of Influence

Information and Behavior: Systems of Influence

Information and Behavior: Systems of Influence

Information and Behavior: Systems of Influence

Excerpt

This book tries to integrate theory, research, values, and action in the study and application of information interventions. A multilevel framework--behavioral systems--which is an amalgamation of principles from social learning theory, communication, social marketing, and behavior analysis is developed. It is used throughout the book to conceptualize, plan, and implement information interventions. A research approach emphasizing experimental field studies is offered as a natural accompaniment to behavioral systems.

These concepts and methods are relatively unique in communication and information theory and application. The dominant approach in these disciplines has been, and remains, a cognitive one. Often, what has been measured are perceptions, memory, and attitudes investigated within circumscribed settings. The alternative presented in this book is to first understand behavior in context (i.e., in relationship to group, organizational, community, and institutional systems of influence), plan information interventions with this understanding, and implement and evaluate the effects of these interventions on key behaviors in the natural environment.

Any book about human change takes value positions. It goes with the territory. However, often the value positions are implicit, not recognized, and not overtly stated. I have tried to avoid that mistake by being explicit about the value positions of this book. The overwhelming asymmetry of power and influence between the corporate structure (i.e., the multinationals and large national firms) and consumers is a starting point for much of the discussion in chapters about television, new media, health, and consumer policy. A consistent conclusion is that there is a need for government intervention on the side of the consumer in order to make the marketplace truly competitive. In other words, the balance . . .

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