Matt Grist, Director Social Brain project, RSA Running Order • I talk: What is Nudge? Some examples. Pros and cons. • You talk: brainstorm how you might, or why you might not, use ‘nudges’ in your own and others’ practice • You feedback, we discuss What is ‘Nudge’? • Nudge is an approach to changing behaviour in a predictable way that works by shaping ‘choice architecture’ • Choice architecture is the way in which choices are presented Taking aim • The Kieboom urinal in Schiphol Airport • ‘Spillage’ reduced by 80% Veg at the front, doughnuts at the back • Putting healthy eating options first in line and at eye-level in cafeteria lines increases healthy eating by as much as 25% • Supermarkets displaying vegetables first when you walk in Default options • Making ‘opt-in’ the default position to pension schemes increases uptake Why do we need nudge? • Most people are not that good at making choices • There is no neutral choice environment Why do people like nudge? • It’s a form of ‘libertarian paternalism’ • It doesn’t take away free choice • But it can shape people’s behaviour to bring about beneficial outcomes • It’s supposed to be politically neutral • It’s cheap How does it work? Two systems; Reflective and Automatic Automatic vs Reflective • • • • • • • Uncontrolled Effortless Associative Fast Parallel Unconscious Skilled • • • • • • • Controlled Effortful Deductive Slow Serial Self-aware Rule-following The two systems working together… • Automatic system very fast, very useful, but liable to mistakes • In good decision-making the reflective system knows when to step-in, and when to trust, the automatic system • Most of our behaviour results from the automatic system What nudges do… • Guide the automatic system through choice architecture (e.g. urinal, veg at the front of the supermarket) • Remind us of the shortcomings of the automatic system through choice architecture (for example, remind people how many businesses fail when they start one) • work with the weaknesses of the reflective system through choice architecture (e.g. automatic opt-in to pensions) The nudge toolkit 1. Rules of Thumb • Anchoring – we work things out starting from an initial reference point we understand (example, size of unfamiliar city will be affected by the size of city where people live). Use anchors people understand; remind them of different anchors • The nudge toolkit 1. Rules of Thumb • Availability – people tend to make decisions based on recent experience, what is salient to them (what grabs their attention or what is simple), and information and examples that are accessible to them. • Work with examples and information that people have available; remind them of different examples and information The nudge toolkit 1. Rules of Thumb • Stereotypes, seeing patterns in randomness – we are all prone to think about things in terms of selective examples (example, female airline pilots, bombing patterns in the blitz, ipod shuffle) • Start with stereotypes and patterns you might expect to be assumed; remind people of counter examples The nudge toolkit 2. Biases • Overconfidence and optimism – people tend to think they will be above average, that ‘it won’t happen to them’ • Assume unrealistic optimism; remind people of facts without destroying confidence The nudge toolkit 2. Biases • Loss aversion – people dislike losing something about twice as much as they want to gain it • This can lead to inertia – sticking with what you have got The nudge toolkit 2. Biases • Framing – people are very susceptible to the way things are presented to them (example, losses rather than gains) • If you want to snap people out of inertia, don’t present things as losses but gains • If you want people to not be biased by framing, present information in a more neutral way • If you want to guide behaviour present information as either loss or gain The nudge toolkit 2. Biases • Loss aversion not the only reason for inertia, there is also the ‘status quo bias’ • People tend to stick with default options because it’s easier to do so • Or because they think it has been endorsed as the right option • Make the choice you want to promote the default option; make choices ‘natural’ and easy for people The nudge toolkit 3. Resisting temptation • Mindless choosing – if popcorn buckets are big then we eat more popcorn; if plates are bigger we eat more food • Shape the choices of the automatic brain by changing environment – smaller plates The nudge toolkit 3. Resisting temptation • Self-control strategies – we are simultaneously ‘doers’ (Homer Simpson) and ‘planners’ (Dr Spock) • People are ‘dynamically inconsistent’ – they make different choices when ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ • Humans find it very hard to act for the long-term • Don’t allow doer to win – put your alarm clock on the other side of the room; make commitments to others; restrict choices in advance (e.g. savings accounts) The nudge toolkit 4. Herd behaviour and social norms • Information from others – we think everybody else knows what’s going on so we copy them • Peer pressure – we care what others think, and tend to think they are thinking about us/judging us more than they are • Different groups have different information access and different norms The nudge toolkit 4. Herd behaviour and social norms • Present information in terms used by groups and in terms of their norms (e.g. ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’) • Remind people of other norms and information their group might tend not to use The nudge toolkit 5. Priming • The automatic system is liable to unconscious cues from situations – concepts and images • For example, tell people to plan what their exercise regimen for the next two weeks is going to be and they will be more likely to exercise • The mention or representation of money makes people less helpful, donate less, sit further apart The nudge toolkit 5. Priming • Emotions count – all decisions are influenced by emotions (we are not Dr Spocks • Hand-washing in Ghana after going to the toilet was improved by 41% by presenting message in terms of disgust • Towel recycling in hotels was improved by message ‘the person who last stayed in this room reused their towels’ • ‘clean’ smells (such as flowers) make people tidier The nudge toolkit 5. Priming An image of a pair of eyes is sufficient to make people pay for their milk. Bateson et al. 2006 Recap • • • • • 1. Rules of thumb 2. Biases 3. Resisting Temptation 4. Herd behaviour and social norms 5. Priming Nudging – pros • Cheap • May as well shape choice architecture for beneficial outcomes, as there is no neutral situation • Politically neutral • Working with the grain of human nature Nudging - cons • • • • • • • Limited effect (e.g. environmental problems) Will they work if people find out about them? Shouldn’t we build capabilities instead? Presumes depressing view of humans Treats people a bit like infants Potential for manipulation Not democratic? Over to you • How might you use nudge in your practice? (Opportunities, barriers) • Do you already use it? • Is it something you want to use?
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