Defaults Are Not the Same by Default - Behavioral Scientist
To do so, we drew on a theoretical framework which highlights that defaults operate through three channels: first, defaults work because they reflect an implicit endorsement from the choice architect—your company’s HR department, your city’s policy office, your credit card company, your child’s school. Second, defaults work because staying with the defaulted choice is easier than switching away from it. Third, defaults work because they endow decision makers with an option, meaning they’re less likely to want to give it up, now that it’s theirs. As a result, we hypothesized that default designs that trigger more of these channels (also called the three Es: endorsement, ease, and endowment) would be more effective. In our analysis, we find partial support for this idea. That is, we find that studies that were designed to trigger endorsement (defaults that are seen as conveying what the choice architect thinks the decision maker should do) or endowment (defaults that are seen as reflecting the status quo) were more likely to be effective. In addition, we find that defaults in consumer domains tend to be more effective, and that defaults in pro-environmental domains (such as green energy defaults) tend to be less effective.
Behaviour Change for Sustainability: Keeping Promises: Do Pledges Work?
Understanding how messaging is perceived by the public through a new theoretical model – Please keep to the path
The results lead to some useful messaging recommendations, such as active publics being more effectively moved to action through motivational frames, rather than diagnostic (i.e. problem-focused) or prognostic (i.e. solution-focused) frames.
Please don’t leave the path
A negatively framed message (i.e. which describes the behavior that should not be done) is more effective, at least in this context, than a positive framed message that describes the preferred behavior.