Hilary Byerly, Ph.D., University of Colorado, and colleagues
This summary is provided by the IPR Behavioral Insights Research Center.

Researchers examined how nudges (interventions that rely on leveraging mental shortcuts) can be used to promote pro-environmental behaviors.

Byerly and colleagues reviewed 160 studies to explore how nudges alter behavior in six domains in which decisions have major environmental impacts: family planning, land management, meat consumption, transportation choices, waste production, and water use.

Key findings include:
  • Behavioral sciences research demonstrates that people often act on intuition instead of logic. Public relations professionals can use insights on how unconscious mental shortcuts drive behavior to inform their work.
  • Communication strategies that incorporate nudges, which target mental shortcuts, may be more effective than traditional educational interventions, which rely on people processing and using the information they are given.
  • Nudges are not a one-size-fits-all solution and need to be tailored with specific contexts and target audiences in mind to be effective. People can respond differently to nudges depending on their pre-existing attitudes, backgrounds, and experiences.

Erica Ciszek, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
This summary is provided by the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Dr. Erica Ciszek explored the role of trust when communicating with LGBTQ+ people.

In-depth phone interviews were conducted with 33 LGBTQ+ practitioners with experience in LGBTQ+ strategic communication.

Key findings include:
  • Organizations seeking to engage with LGBTQ+ people must recognize them as both viable and visible audiences. Organizations must also acknowledge that LGBTQ+ stakeholders are multifaceted. 
  • To build trust, organizations must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the audiences they are attempting to reach.
  • Cultural competency requires practitioners to be in tune with the attitudes, beliefs, values, and preferences of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Practitioners should consider the way race, ethnicity, social class, geographic location, ability, and education level intersect with sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Authenticity must be present at every step before and during communication with LGBTQ+ communities.
  • Communications with LGBTQ+ audiences should be trustworthy and have an impact on the issues that are most important to them.

Ivuoma N. Onyeador, Ph.D., Northwestern University; Sa-kiera T. J. Hudson, Ph.D., Yale University; and Neil A. Lewis, Jr., Ph.D., Cornell University
Researchers explored ways organizations can improve diversity beyond implicit bias training.

Existing literature on diversity efforts in organizations was reviewed.

Key findings include:
  • Organizations frequently use implicit bias (learned mental associations, prejudices, and stereotypes about groups) to explain disparities and often use implicit bias training as a solution.
  • Implicit bias is difficult to change and training does not yield more diversity in organizations.
  • Majority group members often deny information about inequality, justifying or doubling down on misperceptions of inequality, so training should focus directly on addressing the defensiveness of majority group members.
  • Leaders should establish organizational responsibility for:
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion goals
  • Opportunities for high-quality intergroup contact
  • Affinity groups for underrepresented people
  • Welcoming and inclusive messaging
  • Processes that bypass inter-personal bias

RAND examined how disinformation campaigns on social media may be more nuanced than they are commonly portrayed.

More than 150 interviews across sectors of the U.S. government were reviewed.

Key findings include:
  • Foreign disinformation campaigns can intimidate, divide, and discredit, but there is limited evidence that they can change strongly-held beliefs.
  • Smaller, locally popular social media platforms could be at higher risk of disinformation than larger, mainstream ones.
  • The U.S. government does not have a coordinated, standardized response to foreign disinformation campaigns.
  • The task of countering foreign information campaigns is distributed among multiple U.S. government agencies, with no singular organization heading the effort. 
  • Communicators should not underestimate the damaging potential of foreign disinformation campaigns or the benefits of having a response plan. 
  • Staying vigilant and accurate on social platforms can help organizations and consumers remain in a stable, authentic information environment.

Institute for Public Relations | 352-392-0280 | info@instituteforpr.org | https://instituteforpr.org