I started with the raw list of the 175 biases and added them all to a spreadsheet, then took another pass removing duplicates, and grouping similar biases (like bizarreness effect and humor effect) or complementary biases (like optimism bias and pessimism bias). The list came down to about 20 unique biased mental strategies that we use for very specific reasons. I made several different attempts to try to group these 20 or so at a higher level, and eventually landed on grouping them by the general mental problem that they were attempting to address. Every cognitive bias is there for a reason — primarily to save our brains time or energy. If you look at them by the problem they’re trying to solve, it becomes a lot easier to understand why they exist, how they’re useful, and the trade-offs (and resulting mental errors) that they introduce.
NEW URL: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3324907
Nudges span an exceedingly wide range, and their number and variety are constantly growing. Here is a catalogue of ten important nudges — very possibly, the most important for purposes of policy — along with a few explanatory comments.
Consumers, employees, students, and others are often subjected to “sludge”: excessive or unjustified frictions, such as paperwork burdens, that cost time or money; that may make life difficult to navigate; that may be frustrating, stigmatizing, or humiliating; and that might end up depriving people of access to important goods, opportunities, and services. Because of behavioral biases and cognitive scarcity, sludge can have much more harmful effects than private and public institutions anticipate. To protect consumers, investors, employees, and others, firms, universities, and government agencies should regularly conduct Sludge Audits to catalogue the costs of sludge, and to decide when and how to reduce it. Much of human life is unnecessarily sludgy. Sludge often has costs far in excess of benefits, and it can have hurt the most vulnerable members of society.
However, nudges aimed at reducing carbon emissions could have a pernicious indirect effect if they offer the promise of a ‘quick fix’ and thereby undermine support for policies of greater impact.
The IF/THEN Plan has helped people achieve all sorts of goals, including ones that are either habitual or automated. It has helped people deal with a fear of spiders (IF I see a spider, THEN I will keep calm). It has helped people score higher on IQ tests by completing them more efficiently (IF I complete a question, THEN I will move immediately to the next). It has even helped groups of business leaders make commercially advantageous decisions by overcoming confirmation bias. Again, this might seem strange, but let’s look to the evidence: In 2006, Peter Gollwitzer and a fellow researcher, Paschal Sheeran analysed 94 independent studies like the above, involving over 8000 participants and found a medium-to-large effect size of the IF/THEN Plan on goal attainment.
social proof, peak end experience, gifting, spark curiosity, offer "delighters"
A central challenge for all health-related gamification programs is engaging participation, particularly among high-risk patients. Several design elements commonly found within gamified health and wellness programs could be made more engaging by incorporating behavioral insights.
Like the physical properties of the universe, human behavior is complicated. And just as Newton’s Laws describe the motion of physical objects, these Laws of Human Behavior aim to provide a general model for how humans behave. People tend to stick to the status quo unless the forces of friction or fuel push us off of our path; behavior is a function of the person and their environment; every decision includes tradeoffs and the potential for unintended consequences.
So what counts as the “right” kind of problem for behavioral science to solve? Put more bluntly: How might our sense about what we should solve, or even what qualifies as a problem worth solving, be biased by how we think about what we can solve?
Given the central role of anger in shaping adversarial policy preferences in the context of intergroup conflict, its reduction may promote conflict resolution. In the current work, we drew on psycholinguistic research on the role of language in generating emotions to explore a novel, extremely subtle means of intervention. Specifically, we hypothesized that phrasing conflict-relevant policies in noun form (vs. verb form) would reduce anger and impact policy support correspondingly. Results across three experimental studies in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict supported these expectations for both support for concessions (Studies 1–3) and retaliatory policies (Study 3), with reduction in anger mediating the salutary impact of noun form (vs. verb form) on policy support. These results expand our understanding of the influence of language on emotions and policies in the context of conflict and have applied relevance for conflict-resolution efforts. (1) (PDF) A Rose by Any Other Name? A Subtle Linguistic Cue Impacts Anger and Corresponding Policy Support in Intractable Conflict. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322150387_A_Rose_by_Any_Other_Name_A_Subtle_Linguistic_Cue_Impacts_Anger_and_Corresponding_Policy_Support_in_Intractable_Conflict [accessed May 02 2019].
Use of natural language to represent behaviour-change theories has resulted in lack of clarity and consistency, hindering com-parison, integration, development and use. This paper describes development of a formal system for representing behaviour-change theories that aims to improve clarity and consistency. A given theory is represented in terms of (1) its component constructs (for example, ‘self-efficacy’, ‘perceived threat’ or ‘subjective norm’), which are labelled and defined, and (2) rela-tionships between pairs of constructs, which may be causal, structural or semantic. This formalism appears adequate to rep-resent five commonly used theories (health belief model, information–motivation–behavioural skill model, social cognitive theory, theory of planned behaviour and the trans-theoretical model).
To ensure these partnerships are beneficial to all involved—companies, employees, customers, and researchers—behavioral scientists need a set of ethical standards for conducting research in companies. To address this need, we created The Behavioral Scientist’s Ethics Checklist. In the checklist, we outline six key principles and questions that behavioral scientists and companies should ask themselves before beginning their research. To illustrate how each principle operates in practice, we provide mini case studies highlighting the challenges other researchers and companies have faced.
To gain a better understanding of how to build a successful nudge unit, we recently talked to 14 experts who have led initiatives in sectors from financial services and healthcare to advertising and retail (see sidebar, “Fourteen experts forging the future”). Most stressed that while nudging is a catchy term, it does not do full justice to the broad applications of behavioral science to the businesses for which they and their units are responsible. Behavioral science, for instance, encompasses debiasing and other tools for driving behavioral change, including incentives, education, and awareness.
Although heuristics may not always give the most accurate judgment in social situations, avoiding them is usually not an option. Social heuristics are innate in us, to help us make sense of complex social interactions. Nonetheless, it is crucial to bear in mind that an overreliance on heuristics can potentially result in judgment errors that manifest themselves as social stereotypes.
This report is a summary of the work of the Behavioural Insights Team and its partners from September 2017 to November 2018. It includes highlights from our six offices around the world – in London, Manchester, New York, Singapore, Sydney and Wellington. We also cover our growing portfolio of BI Ventures, products that draw on behavioural insights to make positive social impact.
This report aims to capture both the spread and form of behavioral science in 10 countries, selected based on being innovators or early adopters in the field: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Peru, Singapore, the U.S., and the UK. We hope that the experiences of these ten countries – including information on As of November 2018, there are at least 202 public entities all over the world applying behavioral insights to their policies (OECD, 2018) COUNTRY PROFILES - INTRODUCTION — 07 — how public bodies within these countries are integrating behavioral insights, how they are working to apply behavioral insights, and how these behavioral functions have been structured and staffed – can serve as useful information for all those working to leverage behavioral science to improve society. Given the expansion of behavioral science within governments; the shifting behavioral insights landscape; and the limit to, and wide distribution of, public information; this report presents a representative snapshot of the state of behavioral science within the governments of the profiled countries.
Often, there's a disproportionate focus on pre-existing attitudes or other exogenous factors explaining why behavioural interventions may not work. In other words, attitudes or other factors got in the way of the intervention being effective. But that's not necessarily the case, as this study suggests. Instead, it might be the nature of the intervention itself which blocks the behaviour (change).
To provide an overview of the different characteristics of narratives in health effects research and of the persuasive effects that were found, we review 153 experimental studies on health-related narrative persuasion with a focus on the narrative stimuli. The results show that: a) with regard to the content, showing the healthy behavior in a narrative (as opposed to the unhealthy behavior with negative consequences) may be associated with effects on intention. Narratives that contain high emotional content are more often shown to have effects. b) With regard to the form, for print narratives, a first-person perspective is a promising characteristic in light of effectiveness. c) With regard to the context, an overtly persuasive presentation format does not seem to inhibit narrative persuasion. And d) other characteristics, like character similarity or the presentation medium of the narrative, do not seem to be promising characteristics for producing health effects. In addition, fruitful areas for further research can be found in the familiarity of the setting and the way a health message is embedded in the narrative. Because of the diversity of narrative characteristics and effects that were found, continued research effort is warranted on which characteristics lead to effects. The present review provides an overview of the evidence for persuasive narrative characteristics so far.
The objective of this review was to summarize the literature supporting narrative interventions that target health-promoting behaviours. Eligible articles were English-language peer-reviewed studies that quantitatively reported the results of a narrative intervention targeting health-promoting behaviours or theoretical determinants of behaviour. Five public health and psychology databases were searched. A total of 52 studies met inclusion criteria. In all, 14 studies found positive changes in health-promoting behaviours after exposure to a narrative intervention. The results for the changes in theoretical determinants were mixed. While narrative appears to be a promising intervention strategy, more research is needed to determine how and when to use these interventions.
Narrative is the basic mode of human interaction and a fundamental way of acquiring knowledge. In the rapidly growing field of health communication, narrative approaches are emerging as a promising set of tools for motivating and supporting health-behavior change. This article defines narrative communication and describes the rationale for using it in health-promotion programs, reviews theoretical explanations of narrative effects and research comparing narrative and nonnarrative approaches to persuasion, and makes recommendations for future research needs in narrative health communication.
When you tell donors they can “feed hungry children”, “stop human trafficking” or “give twice the hope”, you make them the hero. This engages a “storytelling switch” that triggers a rush of cortisol and oxytocin throughout their body: Cortisol focuses your attention on a problem that needs solving (feeding hungry children). Oxytocin magnifies your feelings of empathy, caring, and love. Can brain chemistry really increase fundraising results? Short answer: Yes. Every. Single. Time. Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds but, in doing that, they change the way our brains work and potentially change our brain chemistry. – Paul Zak In fact, the release of these two chemicals are actually predictors of giving behavior. Stories increase fundraising results! Researchers in one study concluded is that story structure (hook, problem, payoff) kicks off the chemistry associated with giving.