Social scientists have advanced understanding of complex contagions – how behaviours spread through social networks – rapidly in recent years, suggesting new approaches to promote widespread behavioural change.Conservationists are increasingly interested in changing human behaviour. One understudied aspect of such interventions is information flow. Different patterns of interpersonal communication and social structures within communities influence the adoption of behavioural changes through social influence and social reinforcement. Understanding the structure of information flow in a group, using tools such as social network analysis, can therefore offer important insights for interventions. For example, communications may be targeted to highly connected opinion leaders to leverage their influence, or communication may be facilitated between distinct subgroups to promote peer learning. Incorporating these approaches into conservation interventions can promote more effective behaviour change. This review introduces conservation researchers and practitioners to key concepts underpinning information flows for interventions targeting networks of individuals.Social scientists have advanced understanding of complex contagions – how behaviours spread through social networks – rapidly in recent years, suggesting new approaches to promote widespread behavioural change.
Citation & Link to journal full text
de Lange, E., Milner-Gulland, E. J., & Keane, A. (2019). Improving Environmental Interventions by Understanding Information Flows. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2019.06.007