Create distance from daily life


If serious issues are tackled in a literal, explicit manner, it can come off as confrontational. This explicit approach has been proven by research to be less effective than a subtler, implicit approach.

Instead of tackling an issue in an explicit way, one should create distance from everyday life to maintain psychological safety.

Dos and Don’ts


Use metaphors and narratives to put things in a third-person perspective, rather than directly criticizing behavior

  • If one is aware that someone else is trying to change their behavior, it is likely to make them feel threatened
  • By making a game in which the student plays a role or observes a character, there is a sense of psychological safety which makes the student more receptive to having their attitudes shift subconsciously

Where possible, make educational experiences less serious and “work-related” by embedding make-believe elements

  • This create a learning environment that primarily seems fun and whimsical rather than serious and academic, making students more likely to want to come back and revisit the experience
  • This makes the experience feel less threatening and invasive, thus, making it less likely to trigger psychological aversion to change
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