In the News

A Penny for Your Squats

Among 52 incentives to exercise, giving people a 9-cent award if they returned to the gym after missing a workout helped the most.

December, 2021

These Are the Best Ways to up Your Workout Habits, According to Study of Over 60,000 People

If you asked, most people would probably say they don’t get to the gym enough. Motivation may start high but frequently fizzles quickly, and with it goes the regular workouts. That’s the problem researchers sought to solve with a new study released Wednesday. They call it a megastudy: a new take on behavioral studies that looked at the gym attendance of over 60,000 people to discern the best ways to increase gym attendance…

December, 2021

Philly Announces First Winners of Its Vaccine Lottery

A 53-year-old Oak Lane man collected $50,000 in the city’s Philly Vax Sweepstakes this week, one of the first big winners in an ongoing lottery designed to incentivize vaccination in Philadelphia…

December, 2021

Mayor Kenney Announces “Philly Vax Sweepstakes” Giving Vaccinated Philadelphians Dozens of Changes to Win Up to $50,000

PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced today the launch of “Philly Vax Sweepstakes,” a series of three citywide drawings designed to give Philadelphians extra motivation to get their vaccination against COVID-19 as the city fully reopens this summer.

A total of 36 vaccinated Philadelphians will win cash prizes up to $50,000, totaling nearly $400,000 in giveaways…

June, 2021

These Are the Text Messages That Get People to Take Vaccines

Our research demonstrates that a less-flashy effort might also have a significant effect in boosting vaccination rates: text messages. In a new study involving more than 47,000 people, we identified messages that were able to “nudge” people who were scheduled for a primary-care doctor’s visit to get a flu shot during that visit…

June, 2021

‘Hassle Factor’ and Distrust Shadow Wide U.S. Vaccine Hesitancy

The White House now says there will be enough supply for all American adults to get a Covid-19 vaccination by the end of May. Convincing a sizable portion of the U.S. public to be immunized is another matter..

March, 2021

Video: Wharton’s Dr. Katy Milkman Discusses Vaccine Adoption

Katy Milkman discusses vaccine adoption on CNBC Livestreamed on FaceBook.

March, 2021

Research Lead: Two Vaccine Megastudies, the Greta Effect, Psychology’s Global Blindspot, and More

A research team led by Katy Milkman recently conducted two megastudies testing dozens of different communication nudges on thousands of patients with the goal of boosting uptake of the flu vaccine.

February, 2021

Penn Studies Find Text Message Reminders Increase Vaccine Uptake Significantly

Two studies by Penn researchers found that text communications reminding individuals that a vaccine is available to them increases vaccination rates by up to 11%.

February, 2021

The Wharton School, Walmart & More Research Increasing Vaccine Adoption

Walmart, two regional health systems, and multiple partners within the University of Pennsylvania conducted research into increasing vaccine adoption. The Behavior Change for Good Initiative (BCFG) at the Wharton School and the School of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit, released their findings last week. The two mega-research studies revealed simple communications proved most effective. Specifically, reminding individuals a flu shot was “waiting” or “reserved” for them boosted vaccination rates by up to 11%. Researchers hope this information could help encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.

February, 2021

The Best Evidence for How to Overcome COVID Vaccine Fears

Social science offers valuable lessons about ways to convince those who are hesitant about the shots.

January, 2021

The University of Pennsylvania’s Behavior Change for Good Initiative Partners with Walmart on Research Study to Identify Communications that Encourage Vaccinations November 2020

The Behavior Change for Good Initiative (BCFG) at the Wharton School and School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania has partnered with Walmart to conduct the largest-ever communication research study aimed at increasing flu vaccinations during the Fall 2020 flu season. The results of the study will be well-timed to assist with encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations.

November, 2020

Katy Milkman Discusses a New Study with Walmart on Encouraging Vaccine Adoption

Katy Milkman, Wharton Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions and Co-Director of Penn’s Behavior Change for Good Initiative, joins Wharton Business Daily host Dan Loney to discuss a new study with Walmart on encouraging vaccine adoption.

November 2020, Wharton Business Daily

Changing Behavior… for Good

Wharton professor Katy Milkman is co-leading groundbreaking research, along with her Penn colleague Angela Duckworth, to uncover why we make the decisions we do, and how we can make better ones—that stick.

November 2020, The Philadelphia Citizen

What Will Persuade People to Take a Vaccine?

Global food-crisis solutions, sports leadership, behavior modeling, disrupting education—through new cross-disciplinary partnerships, Wharton is making an impact in some unexpected spaces.

November 2020, Knowledge@Wharton

Responding to Covid-19- Katy Milkman on How to Nudge People to Accept a Covid-19 Vaccine

A catastrophe will unfold if people reject immunizations, but behavioral science can encourage people to do the right thing.

November 30, 2020 issue of The Economist

5 Surprising, Cutting-Edge Wharton Collaborations

Global food-crisis solutions, sports leadership, behavior modeling, disrupting education—through new cross-disciplinary partnerships, Wharton is making an impact in some unexpected spaces.

Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Wharton Magazine

Scientists Reveal Three Characteristics of Those Who Succeed at Behavior Change

Changing our behavior for the better can be challenging. Many of us struggle to stick with the goals and resolutions we set for ourselves: lose weight, eat healthier, meditate more, get angry less.

We asked a team of scientists a few questions about behavior change, and we will be sharing their answers to our questions over the next few months. This month’s question: What is the one thing all people who excel at behavior change have in common?

June 25, 2018

Should We Rely on Others to Help Us Break Our Bad Habits?

It’s Sunday night: You’ve written out your meal plan for the week, scheduled some time each day to spend at the gym and you’re ready to tackle Monday. (Go you!) But try as you might, your perfectly planned week may be met with some unanticipated stressors and last-minute schedule changes. Sticking with a fitness or health goal can be difficult when life gets crazy. These goals require planning, but more than that, they require accountability.

May 23, 2018

Can This Dream Team of 47 Top Scientists Finally Figure Out How to Change Bad Habits?

An ambitious new study wants to solve one of the trickiest problems in behavioral science: how to get your lazy butt to the gym.

May 14, 2018

True Grit Is the Predictor of Success

We know staying power is important — but can it be taught?

May 7, 2018

Fit Hacks: Join Our First Running Challenge

Last autumn I became one of those annoying people who count their steps. Who think about their steps; who ask others about their steps.

I set a goal of 15,000 steps a day. At first I met my target often. But as the novelty wore off, goals made in the morning meant less to me than when I was tired at the end of a day.

May 3, 2018

Using Behavioral Science to Build an Exercise Habit

Spring has finally sprung, which means bathing suit season is just around the corner. That ominous thought will lead many Americans to start a workout routine in the coming weeks, but having great abs at the beach isn’t the most important reason to exercise.

May 1, 2018

This Click Might Change Lives: The StepUp Program is a Unique Partnership

Drill sergeant. Workout buddy. Cheat day. We all have reasons to go to the gym, but what does it take to make it as automatic as brushing your teeth?

April 2018

In the Quest for Lasting Behavior Change, Two Researchers Lead the Charge

Have you ever made a commitment to exercise more often? You sign up with a gym and succeed for a time but soon, too soon, the enthusiasm fades. Eventually, your workout clothes gather dust and your gym membership does nothing but empty your wallet.

November 14, 2017

How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution

Academic studies are nice, and so are Nobel Prizes. But to truly prove the value of a new idea, you have to unleash it to the masses. That’s what a dream team of social scientists is doing — and we sat in as they drew up their game plan.

October 25, 2017

Could Solving This One Problem Solve All Others?

The biggest problem with humanity is humans themselves. Too often, we make choices — what we eat, how we spend our money and time — that undermine our well-being. An all-star team of academic researchers thinks it has the solution: perfecting the science of behavior change. Will it work?

April 5, 2017