To save you some valuable time I shortened an amazing psychological theory back to 10 lines (based on the book ‘Nudge’ from prof. R. Thaler & C. R. Sunstein).
- You are not a robot.
- A lot of your behaviour is based on emotions. Emotion was our primary interface for many years during our evolution; through emotions we communicated with each other.
- 90% of your behaviour is unconscious.
- You can be heavily influenced without noticing.
- You can also influence the behaviour of others. (IMO it is actually impossible to NOT influence other people.)
- Influencing others has consequences on your karma (make people reach their own goals = good karma, make them sign bad credit mortgages so you can drink champagne and eat chocolate in a hot-tub on top of the mountains in Switzerland = … tempting, but yes, bad karma.) Choose for the light and use nudging!
- Nudging is, according to the experts: “any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting the fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not.”
- Example 1: Subliminal Nudging: The fly-sticker in the urinoir so the guys unconsciously aim to the sweet spot: 80% splatter reduction, just like that. It’s an amazing result! Utopia is coming ;).
- Example 2: The Power of the Default Option: people are lazy and like the status quo. Think a couple of seconds about the serious question whether you want your organs harvested out of your dead body. What are your rational pro’s and con’s? Maybe you need some extra time? Would the default option have any effect of your decision on this serious topic? Well… take a look at this graph, the difference between an Opt-in and Opt-out policy is jaw-droppingly big:
10. Example 3: Robot Nudging is coming. Do you think it is ‘ok’ if your cleaning robot looks at you with one eyebrow raised when you throw a paper on the ground? Will you feel ashamed and pick up the paper and put it in the thrash-bin? Would you prefer it when your smart refrigerator reorganizes the food inside so the vegetables are up front and the beer and pizza are put to the back?
You are a Choice Architect
Thaler and Sunstein, the authors of the book Nudge, call people who design decisions Choice Architects. You are a Choice Architect when you give advice, design stuff, have children, a partner, friends, colleagues. You architect choices for people and the way you present the choices will steer the direction of the choosers. Be aware of your influence power: with great power comes great responsibility!
Happy Nudging ;),
- Thaler, Richard & Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Yale University Press, April 2008
- More business cases, and examples of usage in governments: http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/blog/