Hello from the Behavior Change for Good Initiative. If you’ve ever wondered how long it takes to form a habit, you may be interested in our most recent publication, which came out earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Is There a “Magic Number” of Days It Takes to Form a Habit?

Led by Anastasia Buyalskaya, Hung Ho, and BCFG Team Scientist Colin Camerer, our latest paper tackles this question by applying machine learning to 52 million observations of people’s gym attendance and hand-sanitizing decisions. Contrary to popular belief, we find that there is no magic number of days it takes to form a habit. Instead, it depends heavily on the person and the situation. It takes months, on average, to form a gym-going habit but only weeks, on average, to habituate to hand sanitizing in hospital settings. However, these averages mask enormous differences between people. You can read more about these findings in our just-released paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Register for Our Next Behavioral Science Authors Event Featuring Adam Alter

New York University Professor Adam Alter will discuss his new book Anatomy of a Breakthrough with Dave Nussbaum of Psychgeist Media on Friday, April 28th at 12 PM ET. Anatomy of a Breakthrough unpacks why people become stuck and the “unstickers” they can leverage to continue making progress toward their goals.

Register Here
Recordings from our previous Spring 2023 events, including the most recent discussion with Professor Uri Gneezy (author of Mixed Signals) and Professor Silvia Saccardo, can be viewed anytime on the BCFG YouTube Channel.
Selected Recent Popular Press Coverage of Work by BCFG Team Scientists
Why It’s Now Easier to Underestimate Your Expenses and Overspend
featuring Abigail Sussman

Small Steps That Can Boost Your Retirement Savings
by Shlomo Benartzi, featuring Richard Thaler and John Beshears
Deepy, Truly, Very Sorry: How Tech CEOs Talk When They Lay Off Workers
featuring Ayelet Fishbach
What HBO’s “Succession” Can Teach Us About Negotiating
by Francesca Gino
Hear From BCFG Team Scientists on These Podcasts
The Power of Do-Overs
Choiceology with Katy Milkman returns for its 11th season! In the first episode, BCFG Team Scientist Marissa Sharif shares why building emergency reserves helps people stick with their goals.
TED Business
We Need Leaders Who Boldly Champion Inclusion
BCFG Team Scientist Modupe Akinola chats with TV broadcaster and DEI leader June Sarpong about the bold changes needed to achieve a better, more inclusive workplace.
The Science of Performing Under Pressure
BCFG Team Scientist Adam Grant is joined by cognitive scientist and Dartmouth President-elect Sian Beilock to discuss strategies for improving performance under pressure.

About BCFG

The Behavior Change for Good Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania is co-led by Psychology and Wharton Professor Angela Duckworth and Wharton Professor Katy Milkman. BCFG unites a world-class, interdisciplinary team of academic experts with leading organizational partners to advance the science and practice of behavior change.

We’re always interested in hearing about new areas to explore and potential collaborations. Contact us anytime.
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