Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Scott Merrill

Project Collaborators

Scott C. Merrill, Susan Moegenburg, Christopher J. Koliba, Asim Zia, Eric Clark, Gabriela Bucini, Serge Wiltshire, Timothy Sellnow, Deanna Sellnow(Co-Authors) and Julia M. Smith(Co-Author and Principal Investigator)

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Program/Major

Complex Systems

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Engineering & Physical Sciences

Presentation Title

Message delivery method influences compliance with biosecurity practices: Evidence from an Experimental Game

Time

2:20 PM

Location

Chittenden Bank Room

Abstract

Livestock disease costs U.S. industries over a billion dollars annually. Yet measures to reduce the likelihood of acquiring a disease are frequently treated as unnecessary, a waste of time or are simply ignored. These measures, also known as biosecurity practices, are designed to respond to and reduce the impact of a disease outbreak, or to reduce the likelihood of disease incidence. We sought to examine messaging factors that could impact decisions to comply with on-premise biosecurity practices. To accomplish this, we used a computer simulation that was played as an experimental game in which participants acted as workers in a swine facility. Our game simulated a conflict where participants were confronted with a decision whether to comply with a common biosecurity practice: a “line of separation” at which workers shower and change clothing before entering or exiting areas with animals. This line of separation is considered highly effective for reducing the risk of disease infection. Use of a shower facility, however, carries opportunity costs associated with the time needed for its use, which can result in workers electing to bypass or only partially implement this practice. Here we show how compliance is influenced by message delivery methodology with numeric, linguistic, and graphical messages showing increasing efficacy, respectively. Moreover, increased situational uncertainty and increased risk are correlated with increases in compliance. These results provide insight towards developing more effective messages that will allow managers of livestock facilities and policy makers to nudge behavior towards more disease resilient systems via greater compliance with biosecurity practices.

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Message delivery method influences compliance with biosecurity practices: Evidence from an Experimental Game

Livestock disease costs U.S. industries over a billion dollars annually. Yet measures to reduce the likelihood of acquiring a disease are frequently treated as unnecessary, a waste of time or are simply ignored. These measures, also known as biosecurity practices, are designed to respond to and reduce the impact of a disease outbreak, or to reduce the likelihood of disease incidence. We sought to examine messaging factors that could impact decisions to comply with on-premise biosecurity practices. To accomplish this, we used a computer simulation that was played as an experimental game in which participants acted as workers in a swine facility. Our game simulated a conflict where participants were confronted with a decision whether to comply with a common biosecurity practice: a “line of separation” at which workers shower and change clothing before entering or exiting areas with animals. This line of separation is considered highly effective for reducing the risk of disease infection. Use of a shower facility, however, carries opportunity costs associated with the time needed for its use, which can result in workers electing to bypass or only partially implement this practice. Here we show how compliance is influenced by message delivery methodology with numeric, linguistic, and graphical messages showing increasing efficacy, respectively. Moreover, increased situational uncertainty and increased risk are correlated with increases in compliance. These results provide insight towards developing more effective messages that will allow managers of livestock facilities and policy makers to nudge behavior towards more disease resilient systems via greater compliance with biosecurity practices.