Saar Mollen receives NWO Open Competition XS grant for VR research on health behavior

Published on April 13, 2023 – In recent years we have been faced with many challenges worldwide: a COVID-19 pandemic, global warming, and a global obesity pandemic, to name a few. The solution to many of these problems lies in behaviour change. The current project employs Virtual Reality to study how quickly changing contexts influence why we make certain decisions. For instance, why do we suddenly choose a cheese stick over a bitterbal (small beef croquette) at an office party when our vegetarian colleague joins the conversation? 

The aim of the project is to study the process by which contextual elements interact with individual elements to determine choice behaviour. In this project we work with the value-based choice model by Berkman. Finding evidence that small changes in the context can indeed influence why people make certain choices will strengthen the empirical support for this model. Moreover, it is a starting point for mapping important contextual influences on choice behaviour and will provide a greater understanding of behaviour change. This can subsequently be used to design more effective behavioural interventions.

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