Behavioral Design: When to Fire a Cannon and When to Use a Precision Knife

When designing and testing a behaviorally informed intervention, there are two extreme approaches: (1) Precision Knife Approach and (2) Firing a Cannon Approach. In the Precision Knife Approach, we design a simple intervention that uses only one or two features that vary (independent variables). We subsequently run an experiment (Randomized Control Trial – RCT) to investigate each feature’s effect on the target behavior (Dependent variable). The Precision Knife Approach is rooted in rigorous academic research. In order to conduct proper (experimental) research, scientists need to investigate the effect on the target behavior (Dependent variable) of each feature that is manipulated (independe

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