On nudging the nudgers.

Nudge. :p

Science and Psychology are being used more and more the design ‘nudges’ which influence people’s decisions for their own or the group’s good . Unfortunately, the work of these scientists is oftentimes underutilized because the policy makers, for whatever reason, do not act on it. These people can be the CEO’s of companies, teachers in classrooms, or our elected officials in the official government.

The key then, is to understand what factors motivate these individuals (the decision makers), and nudge them into doing the right thing. For instance, efficacy (thinking that the intervention will actually work) is one of the strongest predictors of engaging with the desired behavior (someone who thinks they can quit smoking, can).

Are the same things that guide individuals guiding policy makers? If policy makers feel like it will work (they have our data, afterall), will it? If so, why are our messages, based upon empirical science and published in reputable journals, not enough? Work can be done (has probably been done) to examine what motivates the decisions of leaders, and this work should be utilized to inform our correspondence with them for success.

Basically, scientists who focus on desiring to nudge the public into better decisions also need to focus on making sure that the interventions are implemented. Work gathering knowledge about how leaders make decisions could be useful in filling this need.

The best and most empirically founded nudges are worthless if they are not implemented, let’s make sure they get implemented.

What is your favorite nudge?  Also, do you have any good pictures of nudges? They are difficult to find. 😦


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Remember to be opined everyone, because your opinion matters.


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