1.5 Minutes on Influence: Boosting Your Professional Impact and Getting Kids to Eat Veggies

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,



Last week, I found a large dent in the driver’s side door of my car. I hadn’t even been in the car, so I can assure you it wasn’t my doing. I consider myself a decent driver, until I came across a study that made me question that self-assessment.

It talked about drivers’ perceptions of their own abilities. The study revealed some amusing yet insightful contrasts: when asked how many people are good drivers, participants said only 5%. Yet, when rating themselves, 50% believed they were good drivers. This phenomenon is known as overconfidence bias, where we tend to overrate our own abilities in completing tasks.

We as humans all have some hard-wired beliefs that affect our perceptions, evaluations, and judgments. This brings me to an important point I want to discuss.

Lately, I think we’ve been overly focused on behaviour.

This might sound odd coming from someone who founded SUE Behavioural Design, but it’s a crucial insight. Groundbreaking work in behavioural sciences, like that recognized by the Nobel Prize, were not predominantly on behaviour but gave us insights on how we as humans come to decisions. And yes, the outcome of these decisions can absolutely be behaviour.

But it could also very well be that the outcome is that we decide to change our minds, shift our beliefs, or see things in a new light. Which is also a very important outcome, vital for buy-in, cooperation, or maintaining good reputations.

Sometimes, understanding the root of someone’s strong beliefs is more important than trying to change their behaviour. If they have entrenched beliefs, introducing new behaviours might be futile.

By grasping how decisions are made, we can see why people sometimes make illogical choices. This not only helps explain why your partner insists they are a great driver (when you know the truth might be different), but also addresses larger issues, like why people fail to save for retirement, exercise, or recycle.

For example, optimism bias leads us to underestimate the likelihood of negative outcomes and overestimate positive ones. Believing that the future will be better can deter immediate action. Most solutions don’t consider this bias, but if we do, we can design interventions to help people overcome it.

I am a firm believer that insight into decision-making is the most critical wisdom that behavioural sciences can offer.

The ability to understand and influence decisions is key to success for every professional, not just for behavioural experts or behaviour units.

Recognizing and harnessing this skill will add a missing layer to your expertise and make you a more impactful professional as you gain better control over outcomes.

 PS. I really didn’t dent the car, Scout’s honor!


Further reading:

Study on driver’s overconfidence
Optimism Bias


We offer two one-day team workshops, available in both English and Dutch, that focus on understanding biases affecting decision-making and exploring strategies to counteract them. One workshop, ‘Biases in Marketing,’ delves into marketing-specific biases. The other, ‘13 Biases in the Boardroom,’ addresses biases encountered in executive settings. Contact us (NL or EN) if you would like some more information or book the workshop(s).


Do you have kids and have you ever heard yourself say, ‘If you don’t eat your vegetables, you don’t get dessert‘?

Well, did you know there’s a more effective way to get your kids to eat fruit and vegetables? German researchers have found that extending family meals by approximately 10 minutes can help. When families spent more time at the table, children took seven additional bites of fruits and vegetables.

So, perhaps the key to healthier eating habits for children is about spending more quality time together at meals. Next time, consider lingering a little longer at the dinner table; it might just make a world of difference for your child’s diet.


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Until next week,

Astrid Groenewegen

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.