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The Dickerson-Zimbardo Intervention Framework

Our interventions consist of 8 activities, each based on effective intervention research, which form a synergistic package in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Part One: Uncovering the Hidden Power of Social Situations

1. What would you do?
The presenter describes a situation involving the topic of the lesson (e.g. conformity, the bystander effect, situation blindness). Students are encouraged to explore how they think that they and others would typically act if they were in that situation.

2. Explore the psychology of situations.
Students are presented with examples (videos and oral stories), which illustrate and explain the psychological process the lesson is attempting to change, including:

1. A description of the psychological model involved in the process and the research upon which it is based.
2. The reason why this process is a normal part of human psychology.
3. An explanation of how it tends to automatically affect people in a universal (or culturally bound) way.
4. Examples of specific situations in which reacting automatically and engaging in the process can be problematic or dangerous.

Part Two: Learning to Make Change

3. Think of a time…
Students explore their natural range of automatic tendencies when responding to certain situations, involving the topic of the lesson, by thinking of a time in their lives when they both did and did not act in a way they would have preferred.

4. Decide for yourself.
Students are given the opportunity to decide for themselves if the lesson topic matters to them and if they have a desire make a change in their skills and awareness of that process.

5. Develop effective change-making strategies.
Students explore common psychological obstacles to taking effective action, connect them to the stories from the previous activities, and reflect on research-based solutions to them. 

6. Plan for the next challenge.
Armed with change-making strategies from the previous activity, students’ start visualizing a more productive way to deal with a specific upcoming situation that matters to them and involves the process the lesson is attempting to change. They do so by developing a concrete plan, setting personal goals, and incorporating research-based strategies for overcoming likely obstacles.

Part Three: Getting Started

7. Reflect on your personal take-aways.
Students reflect on their personal ‘take away’ from the lesson; the ideas they found the most interesting, useful, or surprising.

8. Spread the word.
Once students develop effective change-making strategies, they are now prepared to share them with others.