The Power of a Nudge: Little nudges with big impact

Cognitive psychology and behavioral economics have demonstrated again and again that small and apparently insignificant contextual changes can have a major effect on people's behavior. I will in this article present several famous examples of how small changes of context can nudge people’s behavior significantly. I will also dive deeper to understand the real power of a nudge.

Default This and That
One of the most popular and powerful tools for nudging people’s behavior is the use of defaults. It is fairly well know that a pre-selected or presumed default choice can increase a selection significantly. Nations that require citizens to explicitly opt-out of organ donation have a significantly higher—more than 3x—organ-donor rate than nations that require citizens to explicitly opt-in. Simply changing the presentation of the choices—a seemingly insignificant change of context—has a huge effect on what people ultimately choose.

There are several reasons why defaults have such a strong effect on behavior. First, defaults change the perception of the social norm, because people may believe that default choice is the one picked by most others. So people simply choose the default due

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