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Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self Sufficiency in Human Services

Executive Summary

1. The operational findings suggest that using behavioral insights is a way for innovators within the government to gain a voice and justify, in many cases, doing more for clients.

A. True

B. False


Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science

2. Almost all of the people who are eligible for safety net programs in the United States are already participating.

A. True

B. False


3. Why does a growing body of evidence shows that neoclassical economic theory cannot, by itself, account for all the ways people act in the real world?

A. Humans do not perfectly follow the assumptions made in economic models.

B. Individuals’ attention, self-control, and other cognitive resources are limited and can be overwhelmed.

C. It is unlikely that most people use all available information to make a decision.

D. A growing body of evidence shows that neoclassical economic theory cannot, by itself, account for all the ways people act in the real world because humans do not perfectly follow the assumptions made in economic models, individuals’ attention, self-control, and other cognitive resources are limited and can be overwhelmed, and it is unlikely that most people use all available information to make a decision.


4. Prospect theory shows that individuals mentally weigh gains more heavily than losses of equal size relative to a reference point.

A. True

B. False


5. Traditional economic thinking suggests that individuals:

A. Make their decisions within a single mental, organizational framework.

B. Maintain multiple mental “accounts,” each specific to a different type of decision.

C. Traditional economic thinking suggests that individuals make their decisions within a single mental, organizational framework while also maintaining multiple mental “accounts,” each specific to a different type of decision at the same time.

D. Traditional economic thinking suggests that individuals neither make their decisions within a single mental, organizational framework nor maintain multiple mental “accounts,” each specific to a different type of decision.


6. Policymakers might enact extensive application procedures for some public benefits that require applicants to submit various documents in order to target benefits to those who are most in need.  However, behavioral economics research suggests that most individuals in crisis situations may find it difficult to focus on the numerous details and appointments, given the cognitive burden of addressing their immediate needs or crises.

A. True

B. False


7. Currently, recipients for _____ must report fluctuations in earning to the agency, which typically requires them to set up an appointment, to miss some work hours, and to bring pay stubs to the agency during hours that it is open.

A. Child care subsidies

B. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits

C. Both Child care subsidies and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits

D. The burden of proving fluctuations in earnings is on the agency, not the recipients


The BIAS Project Approach to Applying Behavioral Concepts

8. What is step 1 for the framework for implementing behavioral tests?

A. Map process under consideration.

B. Identify site and problems of interest.

C. Examine data to identify bottlenecks.

D. Develop two or more policy interventions to compare.


9. When a caller is waiting on hold to speak with a National Domestic Violence Hotline advocate, hang-ups peak about _____ into the caller’s wait time and that period coincides with a silent period in the recorded wait message.

A. 7 seconds

B. 18 seconds

C. 34 seconds

D. 2 minutes


10. The longest wait time to speak with a National Domestic Violence Hotline advocate is on:

A. Monday

B. Friday

C. Sunday

D. The average wait time does not vary by the day of the week


11. According to the behavioral map for making a child support payment, which of the following is the hypothesized behavioral reason for the bottleneck if the noncustodial parent does not have the financial resources to pay?

A. Affective response

B. Hassle factors

C. Present bias

D. Structural bottleneck


12. Which of the main benefits of factorial designs determines whether effects vary by levels of another factor?

A. That they require fewer participants.

B. That they allow testing of combinations of treatments more easily.

C. That they allow testing of interactions among factors.

D. That they allow for extrapolation beyond what the factors indicate.


13. Altering the intensity and type of intervention over time at critical decision points may be needed if an individual or group is not responding sufficiently to the initial intervention.

A. True

B. False


14. The clients who were eligible for the phone meeting responded at higher rates throughout the entire process.

A. True

B. False


15. The decision rules link the early indicator variable to the:

A. Specific intervention outcomes

B. Target group

C. Response

D. Second round of intervention testing


16. For behavioral interventions to be most useful in improving programs and fostering a climate of continuous improvement, experimental design must occur alongside the development of interventions.

A. True

B. False


The BIAS Project: Results and Implications

17. Sending parents, who were not already being sent a payment reminder notice, a letter or robocall reminder that their payment was due did not make them more likely to make payments.

A. True

B. False


18. Which of the following improved payment rates the most among parents who owed child support and did not have payments automatically deducted through income withholding?

A. Sending a behaviorally designed paper notice

B. Using text messages

C. The text messages were equally as effective as the paper reminders

D. Neither the text messages nor the paper reminders improved payment rates


19. Reminders may not be effective in increasing payments when parents do not have the resources, because reminders do nothing to alter their ability to pay.

A. True

B. False


20. Timing may play a role in behavioral interventions related to child care decision making.

A. True

B. False


21. Simplifying the explanation of requirements, highlighting deadlines, and sending appointment reminders did all of the following, except:

A. Increased the percentage of parents who attended their first scheduled renewal appointment.

B. Increase the likelihood that parents renewed by the deadline.

C. Increased the percentage of parents who completed the process in one appointment.

D. Simplifying the explanation of requirements, highlighting deadlines, and sending appointment reminders increased the percentage of parents who attended their first scheduled renewal appointment, increased the percentage of parents who completed the process in one appointment, and increased the likelihood that parents renewed by the deadline.


22. Converting an in-person meeting into a phone meeting, which can be viewed as a change that makes it easier for participants to follow through on the task of attending the meeting, increased the meeting participation rate.

A. True

B. False


Developing SIMPLER Solutions

23. Implementation prompt is defined as:

A. The way people perceive themselves in relation to others. Certain identities can be primed based on the desired behavior.

B. Encouraging a particular behavior through, for example, a handwritten note or personal assistance, like helping someone complete a form.

C. Prompts to encourage the completion of an action, often in the form of a text message or a postcard.

D. Bridges intention with action. When people feel they have made progress toward their goals, they are more committed to achieving those goals.


24. Which of the following can have a large effect on behavior and can change someone’s mind about a decision already reached or motivate a person to follow through on a plan that is already in place.

A. Social influence

B. Personalization

C. Ease

D. Reminder


25. Too much information can prevent people from completing an action, because they become paralyzed by processing what needs to be done and as a result fail to act - a situation known as cognitive overload.

A. True

B. False


26. When _____ are customized to individual circumstances, it has been shown to be effective for ensuring that individuals are meeting their goals by decreasing the likelihood that they will procrastinate and increasing the likelihood that they will be more attentive and motivated to meet their objectives.

A. Social influences

B. Implementations

C. Deadlines

D. Losses and/or gains


Can Behavioral Science Help to Achieve Large-Scale Goals?

27. Research suggests clients stop receiving benefits for which they are eligible when the hassles become too difficult.

A. True

B. False


28. What is the key feature of a system intervention?

A. It is typically designed to have an impact on the members of an entire population simultaneously in order to produce a net change in behavior.

B. Participants need only conform to the “rules” of the system to produce a target behavior.

C. System interventions have two key features: they are typically designed to have an impact on the members of an entire population simultaneously in order to produce a net change in behavior, and participants need only conform to the “rules” of the system to produce a target behavior.

D. System interventions do not follow a set of key features.


29. The defining feature of high-intensity interventions is that:

A. They are “strong nudges.”

B. They are difficult to avoid or avoiding them requires more effort on the part of the individual.

C. They are changes to choice architecture.

D. They are presented in a more influential way than low-intensity interventions.


30. Interventions that are aimed at _____ deserve to play a more central role in the application of behavioral sciences to public policy.

A. Implementations

B. Deadlines

C. Losses and/or gains

D. Social identity change


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