Information Does Not Lead to Action

Recently, I wrote about the myth of motivation, and how motivation does not lead to action. Another one of the greatest myths in healthcare is that information leads to action, or in other words, that education leads to change. 


After speaking to 450 physicians and clinicians, we realized that the number 1 tool providers utilize for behavior change is Information and Education. However, Wendy Wood, a psychologist and researcher, counters this belief, “Knowledge is not enough to guarantee behavior change. Education alone will not produce desired behavior changes.”


Our bias is to interpret all of our actions, even the ambiguous ones, as intentional – a result of our agency. “We have a belief that we are in charge,” says Wood. But Wood’s research has found that habits control much more than we might have guessed: on a daily basis, conscious decisions are behind 57% of our behaviors, while 43% of our behaviors are attributable to habits that we repeat in the same context, often while our thoughts are engaged elsewhere.


In order to affect change, it is necessary to address the underlying factors that influence behavior, such as the environment, habit practices, and personal incentives. 



Farhad Chowdhury


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