Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation


Main content start

The SPARQ Solutions Catalog is an online library of scientifically tested fixes to a wide variety of social issues and conflicts.

Easily searchable and practitioner-focused, it provides a curated set of evidence-based behavioral nudges in education, health, law & justice, peace & conflict, relationships, parenting, and the environment.

Civil Society Conflict Resolution Criminal Justice Economic Development Education Environment  Health Parenting Relationships Bias

mixed vegetables

Problem: People think "healthy" foods are depriving and bland, and so avoid them.

Solution: Describing healthy food with indulgent and fun language leads people to eat more of it.

Problem: People stress out about stress. 

Solution: Thinking about the benefits of stress can improve your response to stress.

Problem: Many people fail to reach their goals.

Solution: To turn your ambitions into reality, make concrete and specific plans.

Problem: Diarrhea is the second leading cause of children’s death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Solution: Changing people’s feelings about washing their hands with soap improves hygiene, which in turn reduces diarrhea.

A hand holding a cigarette

Problem: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the Western world, and yet 25% of American teenagers have taken up tobacco.

Solution: Developing specific ways to refuse cigarettes helps teens resist the peer pressure to smoke.

Problem: The leading causes of death for adolescents in the United States are alcohol use and alcohol-related events.

Solution: Showing students that many of their peers are uncomfortable with alcohol reduces drinking.

'Opt Out' Policies Increase Organ Donation

An organ donor

Problem: According to the American Transplant Foundation, 18 people die every day in the United States for want of an organ transplant, and some 122,344 people are waiting for a donated organ.

Solution: Changing U.S. policies so that people’s organs are automatically donated when they die—rather than requiring people to “opt in” to donating their organs while they are still alive—may lead to more organ donations and more lives saved.

Problem: People’s desire to see themselves in the best light prevents them from accurately perceiving risks to their health.

Solution: Reassuring people that they are good helps them accept negative information about their health.

Doctor shaking hands with patient

Problem: Colonoscopies can prevent colon cancer, yet the painfulness of the procedure deters patients from screening.

Solution: Prolonging the painless final moments of a colonoscopy leads patients to recall the entire procedure as less painful, which in turn increases their willingness to undergo more screenings in the future.

banana split

Problem: Obesity causes 300,000 deaths per year in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Solution: When people use smaller dinnerware (plates, bowls, cutlery, etc.), they eat less.

Vegetable cartoon characters smiling and waving

Problem: More than one-third of American kids are overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.  Junk food drives part of this obesity epidemic.

Solution: Storybooks that teach kids why they need different nutrients lead them to choose healthier snacks.


Problem: More than 1 in 3 Americans have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Solution: Pointing out people’s hypocrisy causes them to practice safer sex.

Problem: It's hard to change people's behavior.

Solution: Changing the behaviors of an entire group of people can be easier than changing just one person at a time.

Heal Past Traumas by Writing About Them

Man's hands writing with a pen

Problem: Routine stresses and traumatic life events like a divorce make us more prone to illness.  

Solution: Writing about upsetting experiences makes us happier and healthier.

Students sitting at graduation

Problem: Even the most prepared students of color have worse grades and health than their European-American classmates.

Solution: When African-Americans are reassured that they belong in school, their grades and health improve.

A woman in workout attire writes in a notebook

Problem: Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. 

Solution: Writing about what’s really important in life can help people shed the pounds.

Letter that reads: "Dear Hohn, It has been some time since you were here at the hospital, and we hope...

Problem: Suicide is a leading cause of death, and it is notoriously difficult to prevent.

Solution: Regularly receiving letters from a caring person helps people at risk for committing suicide feel connected and stay alive.