• Choice Architecture 2.0: How People Interpret and Make Sense of Nudges

    In the third of week of The Behavioral Scientist’s Special Edition, Job Krijnen (UCLA) reviews what we’ve learned about choice architecture and suggests an updated framework for understanding this important facet of Nudge. Based on an article originally published in our journal, Behavioral Science & Policy, Krijnen’s article with David Tannenbaum and Craig Fox highlights the importance of considering the choicemaker’s motives and perspectives for designing effective interventions.

    Referring to a failed attempt to use an opt-out default nudge to improve Dutch organ donation, for example, “the proposed policy change may have been construed as an attempt at coercion—as a threat to the freedom of choice that people value so highly—which provoked many to rebuke that attempt by opting out as a way to signal their displeasure.” As we enter the second post-Nudge decade they suggest policymakers consider people’s interpretations of our nudging attempts.

  • Stanford’s CASBS is Looking for Fellows!

    Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) is offering a residential fellowship for scholars from a diverse range of disciplines. They are seeking fellows who will be influential with--and open to influence by--their colleagues in the diverse multidisciplinary cohort they will assemble for an academic year. Funding is offered from a broad range of interesting partners for various topics.

  • Twitter’s Proposed Solution to Digital Political Polarization

    In recent Congressional testimony, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reviewed a “health” initiative for users, including how Twitter could serve as a space to reconcile political opposition. Yet Sociologist Christopher Bail (Duke) cautions against policy action to support Dorsey’s efforts. Bail’s work shows that Twitter may actually lead to further polarization.

  • Decision-Making as a Required Course in School?

    Behavioral science probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think of grade school curricula, but writer Steven Johnson is trying to change that. This week, Johnson makes the case for integrating decision-making courses into lower grades. Also, in the Behavioral Scientist, Tom Wein shows us how we can integrate behavioral science into “edutainment” to benefit people at different ages, from kids in school to adults making decisions for later in life.

  • RCTs, Workplace Wellness, and Drug Overprescription

    This week in health and behavioral science, Aaron Caroll defends the randomized controlled trial in the The Upshot by NYT, specifically using examples of workplace wellness studies.

    Also this week, The GSA’s Office of Evaluation Sciences shares promising results from two randomized studies that tested peer comparison letters to reduce overprescribing of drugs. Meanwhile in Aeon, a medical resident poses the question: will medicine ever recover from the perverse economics of drugs?

  • Why the Most Important Idea in Behavioral Decision-Making Is a Fallacy

    David Gal (UI-Chicago) argues that loss aversion is not a bigger motivator than achieving gains in the Scientific American. Beyond the fact that “price increases do not impact consumer behavior more than price decreases,” for example, we must “critically assess accepted beliefs and to be wary of institutional consensus in science and otherwise.”

  • Looking Back to Look Forward

    As the beginning of the academic semesters grow near, reflect back on the year with our partner platform the Behavioral Scientist on their most popular stories as well as the editorial board’s summer reading list. Also for our readers in education, consider rethinking the movement toward screen-based learning.

  • What Helps Disenfranchised People?

    In Project Syndicate, Peter Singer offers his perspective on whether charity for the poor is futile, in response to a recent essay by leading economists that criticized aid to the poor for failing to address poverty's root causes. Also, Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” mantra may inadvertently be hurting women.

  • Designing to Avoid “Ordinary Unethicality”

    “There will always be bad people intent on mischief,” says Yuval Feldman this week in the Behavioral Scientist. BSPA’s Dave Nussbaum speaks with Feldman about his new book, The Law of Good People: Challenging States’ Ability to Regulate Human Behavior. “The lesson to legal policymaking from behavioral ethics is to thoughtfully design environments, rules, and regulations in ways that don’t invite unethical behavior from ordinary people.”

    Also this week, economist Erez Yoeli argues that altruistic behaviors are shaped largely by reputational motives. “No longer do identity appeals, descriptive norms, and public-good frames seem so different,” says Yoeli, “they are all examples of interventions that communicate information about the reputational impact of giving."

  • Behavioral Economics from Nuts to ‘Nudges’

    In case you didn’t hear his Nobel lecture, Richard Thaler offers a written version in the Chicago Booth Review. Thaler explains in a footnote: “I should say that this article is not a transcription of the lecture I delivered in Stockholm during Nobel week. There are two reasons for this. One is simple procrastination. The talk was on December 9, 2017. The written version was not ‘due’ until January 31, 2018, which is surely an aspiration rather than a real deadline. Why do something now that you can put off until later? The other reason is more substantive. Talks and articles are different media. Readers interested in seeing the actual lecture can find it at Nobelprize.org.”

  • Citywide Behavioral Science Experiments Are Paying Off

    Fast Company covered ideas42’s nudge experiments in cities like New York and Chicago this week. Also check out this article about how the city government of Scottsdale, Arizona scaled up a testing-based approach initially spearheaded by the Behavioral Insights Team.

  • Are Nudges Cost-Effective?

    The UCLA Anderson Review unpacks a paper co-authored by Shlomo Benartzi that documents the cost-effectiveness of behavioral nudges compared to more traditional forms of government interventions. Hard to argue with those nice bar charts.