Do you remember the character Scooby Doo on Cartoon Network?
Scooby Doo was a dedicated, but rather cowardly dog who with his friends would get sucked into investigating intriguing mysteries and spooky ghosts. He would be scared to do that. Until he had a Scooby Snack. As soon as he had a Scooby Snack, he would be raring to go finding motivation, courage, and belief in his own ability.
B J Fogg a noted behavioural psychologist from Stanford University and also director of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab explains this in his behavioural model.
He says: B = MAT where B is behaviour, M is motivation, A is ability, and T is trigger.
If a trigger (I see a friend on the other side of the street) meets the motivation (I would like to talk to the friend in question) and the ability (I can cross the street as no cars are coming) then the behaviour of crossing the street arises.
If my motivation would now be low, but it would be very easy to cross the street quickly, say hello briefly and go my way again, then I might still cross the street.
But if my motivation is low and there doesn’t seem to be a gap in sight between the cars on the street, then I probably went my way and the meeting will not take place.
If the motivation is very high, however, I patiently look out for a gap in the traffic or walk back the hundred meters to cross the street at a traffic light and thus be able to greet my friend.
So the lower the motivation for an action, the greater the ability to carry it out should be. Or, the easier it should be to accomplish the action.
So when it comes to actions of people, you can either increase their motivation to do something or you can make it easier to carry out the desired behaviour. To do this you need the right trigger.
For Scooby Doo, that trigger was a Scooby Snack. What is it for you?
Scooby dooby dooooo,