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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Good News! You're Not an Automaton

By Cass R. Sunstein
Bloomberg View
Originally published March 30, 2016

A good nudge is like a GPS device: A small, low-cost intervention that tells you how to get where you want to go -- and if you don’t like what it says, you're free to ignore it. But when, exactly, will people do that? A new study sheds important light on that question, by showing the clear limits of nudging. Improbably, this research is also good news: It shows that when people feel strongly, it’s not easy to influence them to make choices that they won’t like.

The focus of this new research, as with much recent work on behavioral science, is on what people eat. Numerous studies suggest that if healthy foods are made more visible or convenient to find, more people will choose them. We tend to make purchasing decisions quickly and automatically; if certain foods or drinks -- snickers bars, apples, orange juice -- are easy to see and grab, consumption will jump.

The article is here.

Note: The podcast on nudge theory and how it applies to psychotherapy can be found here.