Recent scientific advances have meant that eyesight can be partially restored to those who previously would have been blind for life. However, scientists at the University of Montreal and the University of Trento have discovered that the rewiring of the senses that occurs in the brains of the long-term blind means that visual restoration may never be complete.
Abstract: We use choice experiments and randomized information treatments to study the effectiveness of alternative energy efficiency labels in guiding households’ energy efficiency decisions. We disentangle the relative importance of different types of information and distinguish it from intertemporal behavior. We find that insufficient information can lead to considerable undervaluation of energy efficiency. Simple information on the monetary value of energy savings was the most important element guiding cost-efficient energy efficiency investments, with information on physical energy use and carbon dioxide emissions having additional but lesser importance. The degree to which the current US EnergyGuide label guided cost-efficient decisions depends on the discount rate. Using elicited individual discount rates, the current EnergyGuide label came very close to guiding cost-efficient decisions. Using a uniform 5% discount rate, the current label led to one-third undervaluation of energy efficiency. Our results reinforce the centrality of discounting in understanding individual behavior and guiding policy.
Have you ever done something simply because someone asked you to? In psychology, this is known as compliance. Learn more about the psychology behind compliance, including some of the techniques people use to get people to comply with their wishes.
What Is Compliance?
In psychology, compliance refers to changing one's behavior due to the request or direction of another person. It is going along with the group or changing a behavior to fit in with the group, while still disagreeing with the group. Unlike obedience, in which the other individual is in a position of authority, compliance does not rely upon being in a position of power or authority over others.
"Compliance refers to a change in behavior that is requested by another person or group; the individual acted in some way because others asked him or her to do so (but it was possible to refuse or decline.)" (Breckler, Olson, & Wiggins, 2006)
"Situations calling for compliance take many forms. These include a friend's plea for help, sheepishly prefaced by the question "Can you do me a favor?" They also include the pop-up ads on the Internet designed to lure you into a commercial site and the salesperson's pitch for business prefaced by the dangerous words "Have I got a deal for you!" Sometimes the request is up front and direct; what you see is what you get. At other times, it is part of a subtle and more elaborate manipulation." (Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2011)
Do you think of yourself as a conformist or a non-conformist? If you are like most people, you probably believe that you are non-conformist enough to stand up to a group when you know you are right, but conformist enough to blend in with the rest of your peers.
Imagine yourself in this situation: You've signed up to participate in a psychology experiment in which you are asked to complete a vision test. Seated in a room with the other participants, you are shown a line segment and then asked to choose the matching line from a group three segments of different lengths. The experimenter asks each participant individually to select the matching line segment. On some occasions everyone in the group chooses the correct line, but occasionally, the other participants unanimously declare that a different line is actually the correct match.
Humans regulate intergroup conflict through parochial altruism; they self-sacrifice to contribute to in-group welfare and to aggress against competing out-groups. Parochial altruism has distinct survival functions, and the brain may have evolved to sustain and promote in-group cohesion and effectiveness and to ward off threatening out-groups. Here, we have linked oxytocin, a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus, to the regulation of intergroup conflict. In three experiments using double-blind placebo-controlled designs, male participants self-administered oxytocin or placebo and made decisions with financial consequences to themselves, their in-group, and a competing out-group. Results showed that oxytocin drives a “tend and defend” response in that it promoted in-group trust and cooperation, and defensive, but not offensive, aggression toward competing out-groups.
Neuroscience has gained so much popularity in the last few years, because of advancements made by scientists in human nature and behavior change. I find neuroscience so interesting, and have been spending a lot of my free time learning more about it. All of this research is especially relevant for being a good leader in the workplace, where executives need to change the behavior of potentially thousands of employees. But getting people to change their behavior is easier said than done. Change literally hurts us. In studies of people who have had coronary bypass surgery, only one in nine people adopt healthier day-to-day habits. I won’t go into too much detail behind why this is, but it’s basically because of the parts of the brain that are used to develop new habits vs continuing with old habits. The part of the brain used to build new habits uses a lot more energy than the part that’s used for old habits. A simple example is when someone that’s been driving a car for years goes somewhere in the world where they drive on the other side of the road. They find that driving incredibly difficult.
2010 lecture by Ralph Abraham to Ross School Seniors on the history of mathematics leading to the development of Complex Dynamical Systems Theory and the impact that Chaos Theory had on this 'new' branch of mathematics.
Paul Dolan argues that there are two broad approaches to behavioural change: changing minds and changing contexts. He argues that while the former approach relies more heavily on conscious and reasoned processes, the latter predominantly deals with the subconscious, automated system of the human brain and attempts to facilitate change by altering the ‘environmental context’ in which people make decisions. In particular, he notes that the latter approach (i.e. changing contexts) has received relatively little attention in the past and that, by focusing on altering people’s choice environment, ‘mindspace’ represents a promising framework for improving the public’s financial capabilities. In explaining the rationale behind the development and application of the mindspace framework, he states: ‘new models of behaviour change are needed in general, and in consumer finance in particular, as existing theories and methods leave a substantial proportion of the variance in behaviour, beyond the effect of rational (conscious) intentions, to be explained’
Abstract: Il termine inglese nudging viene tradotto in italiano con la locuzione “spinta gentile”. Esso indica un’azione svolta dallo Stato diretta ad incentivare (o disincentivare) comportamenti individuali ritenuti benefici (o nocivi) per il soggetto stesso che li compie. L’ipotesi teorica che sta alla base di tale pratica è che le scelte che il consumatore può compiere non rispondano sempre ai postulati di razionalità propri della teoria neoclassica del consumatore. Si ipotizza l’esistenza di due tipi di consumatore l’Homo Economicus, definito anche “Econ”, che è in grado di compiere scelte che rispettano i postulati propri della teoria neoclassica del consumatore e l’Homo Sapiens, o “Human”, che compie errori sistematici nell’effettuare le proprie scelte. In questo paper, dopo aver esposto i tratti principali del nudging, si analizzano in modo critico gli aspetti teorici e leimplicazioni di policy di tale teoria.
Abstract: We provide evidence that perceptions of crime risk are severely biased for many years after a move to a new neighborhood. Based on four successive waves of a large crime survey, matched with administrative records on household relocations, we find that the longer an individual lives in a neighborhood, the higher their perception of the crime rate in the neighborhood. This finding holds irrespective of whether the move is from a relatively low-crime to a relatively high-crime area or vice versa. We find that avoidance behavior adjusts in line with the observed changes in beliefs.
Abstract: This paper proposes a simple framework to model social preferences in a game theoretic framework which explicitly separates economic incentives from social (context) effects. It is argued that such a perspective makes it easier to analyse contextual effects. Moreover, the framework is used to exemplify both theoretically and empirically how contextual variables such as social norms can worsen a social dilemma or possibly make it disappear. The empirical results of a randomised controlled classroom experiment show that women are more responsive to such contextual effects and that social agreements can also worsen economic inefficiencies
Abstract: At a time when policy makers want to change the behaviour of citizens to tackle a broad range of social problems, such as climate change, excessive drinking, obesity and crime, a promising new policy approach has appeared that seems capable of escaping the liberal reservations typically associated with all forms of regulatory action. The approach, which stems from the increasingly ubiquitous findings of behavioural research, is generally captured under the evocative concept of ‘nudge.’ Inspired by ‘libertarian paternalism,’ it suggests that the goal of public policies should be to steer citizens towards making positive decisions as individuals and for society while preserving individual choice. As governments are taking considerable interest in the use of ‘nudging,’ this collection of essays provides a pioneering analysis of this innovative policy approach as it is currently experimented in the United Kingdom and the United States. In particular, it aims at critically examining the application of nudging approaches to the current efforts of regulating lifestyle choices, such as tobacco use, excessive use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and lack of physical exercise. In his opening essay, Nudging Healthy Lifestyles, Adam Burgess provides a critical assessment of the introduction of behavioural, nudging approaches to correct lifestyle behaviours in the UK. His thought-provoking analysis triggered a lively debate that has been framed along the subsequent essays signed by On Amir and Orly Lobel, Evan Selinger and Kyle Powys White, Alberto Alemanno and Luc Bovens. Each of these essays critically reflects upon the effectiveness as well as legitimacy of ‘nudging’ approaches
Using data from the 1980 U.S. presidential election, we investigate the extent to which voter expectations about candidate electoral success and margin of victory are subject to systematic biases. In particular, we examine the extent to which candidate supporters overestimate their choice's likelihood of success. After finding a rather dramatic bias in the direction of “wishful thinking,” we review alternative explanations of this phenomenon, including a model based on nonrandom contact networks and one based on preference-related differences in expectations about exogenous variables that could affect the election outcome.
Humans perceive and act on risk in two fundamental ways. Risk as feelings refers to individuals' instinctive and intuitive reactions to danger. Risk as analysis brings logic, reason, and scientific deliberation to bear on risk management. Reliance on risk as feelings is described as “the affect heuristic.” This article traces the development of this heuristic and discusses some of the important ways that it impacts how people perceive and evaluate risk.
Stanford researchers found that walking boosts creative inspiration. They examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. A person's creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.Many people claim they do their best thinking while walking. A new study finds that walking indeed boosts creative inspiration. Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, was known for his walking meetings. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has also been seen holding meetings on foot. And perhaps you've paced back and forth on occasion to drum up ideas. A new study by Stanford researchers provides an explanation for this. Creative thinking improves while a person is walking and shortly thereafter, according to a study co-authored by Marily Oppezzo, a Stanford doctoral graduate in educational psychology, and Daniel Schwartz, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education. The study found that walking indoors or outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting. "Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking. We finally may be taking a step, or two, toward discovering why," Oppezzo and Schwartz wrote in the study published this week in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.
People believe they can control positive investment outcomes - when in reality, luck, chance, randomness is what mainly drives investment results.It is safe to say that the more someone’s investment performance deviates from the norm, the larger the probability of it coming from luck rather than skill.But since luck always reverts to the mean in the end, investing with the next hotshot fund manager could be a very bad (and unprofitable) decision.Therefore, the best and most cost-effective approach is to become a passive investor and take advantage of the market's long-term upward trend.More sophisticated investors can take it a step further by employing a barbell strategy which combines passive investing with dynamic hedging to protect against market downturns.
In the summer of 2012, I had the unfortunate privilege of attending a private investment conference. On the first day of this two-day event, each attendee was asked to predict what the market (the Dow Jones) would do the next day. To me, this contest seemed like a total waste of time. But after I realized how seriously everyone else was taking it, I decided to play along. I knew that the vast majority of people - expecting the market to remain calm as usual - would predict a small move, like up or down 75 points. So, I decided to have a little fun and predicted the market to be up 300 points. I knew that I would probably lose; but if I won, everyone would think I possessed some special knowledge or insight which they lacked. Sure enough, the next day the Dow was up 287 points, and I won by a huge margin - about 100 points.
After the conference, several dozen people came up to me wanting to know my "secret." Just to amuse myself, I told them that I used a highly accurate, proprietary algorithm that analyzed global news articles in order to predict the market's short-term performance. Of course, all of this was pure fiction. I had no idea what the market was going to do that day, nor did I care very much - I just got lucky. However, the fact that everyone believed me clearly demonstrates the blind faith and ignorance of these so-called "investment experts."
The main purpose of the following article is to help the general reader, as well as experienced investors, better understand and appreciate the role of luck in financial markets. Because only once we have a firm understanding of this mysterious and unpredictable force can we develop strategies to profit from it.
Influencing people‟s behaviour is nothing new to Government, which has often used tools such as legislation, regulation or taxation to achieve desired policy outcomes. But many of the biggest policy challenges we are now facing – such as the increase in people with chronic health conditions – will only be resolved if we are successful in persuading people to change their behaviour, their lifestyles or their existing habits. Fortunately, over the last decade, our understanding of influences on behaviour has increased significantly and this points the way to new approaches and new solutions. So whilst behavioural theory has already been deployed to good effect in some areas, it has much greater potential to help us. To realise that potential, we have to build our capacity and ensure that we have a sophisticated understanding of what does influence behaviour. This report is an important step in that direction because it shows how behavioural theory could help achieve better outcomes for citizens, either by complementing more established policy tools, or by suggesting more innovative interventions. In doing so, it draws on the most recent academic evidence, as well as exploring the wide range of existing good work in applying behavioural theory across the public sector. Finally, it shows how these insights could be put to practical use. This report tackles complex issues on which there are wide-ranging public views.We hope it will help stimulate debate amongst policy-makers and stakeholders and help us build our capability to use behaviour theory in an appropriate and effective way.
Abstract: We compare the effects of economic incentives with a “nudge” (a policy intervention that aims to influence behaviour through changing the “choice architecture”) in relation to improving dietary choices. We study a large-scale, nationally-implemented policy – the UK Healthy Start Scheme – that aimed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. The policy combined standard economic incentives with elements of nudge, the most important of which is a potential labelling effect. We show that the scheme was successful; the estimated intention to treat effect indicates that spending on fruit and vegetables increased by 15 per cent, or roughly two-thirds of a portion per household per day. The response can be attributed entirely to the economic incentive effects; there is no evidence of any effect from the nudge aspects of the policy.
Abstract: Based on an experiment conducted with undergraduate students from three different majors (business economics, psychology and engineering), we study the relationship between honesty and altruism. We asked participants to toss a coin with a black and a white side. Participants won a chocolate if they reported the white outcome, whereas no gift was given if they reported black. It was done privately, so they could decide whether or not to cheat. Reporting the prize-losing side (that is, being honest when losing) could result in 3 effects, depending on the 3 conditions run: (i) no penalty, (ii) paying a penalty, or (iii) paying a penalty with an altruistic end (a donation to a non-profit organization). The amount of penalty was decided by each participant and the payment was also done in private. Although we cannot detect dishonesty on an individual level, we use statistical inference to determine cheating behavior. We find suggestive evidence that economics is significantly the most dishonest major when no penalty is involved. With economists in the lead, the results also indicate that all majors cheat if a penalty is requested. Surprisingly, when altruism plays a role, economists tend to have the most altruistic behavior, followed by psychologists. However, altruism does not reduce engineers' propensity to lie. No significant differences are found regarding gender.
La 'spinta gentile' del 'nudging' è considerata una moda e, in effetti, lo è perché il suo scopo è orientare gusti ed esigenze globali verso un modello non scelto direttamente e consapevolmente dal singolo individuo. Chi è al potere tenta di disciplinare una società sempre più globalizzata, confusa e complessa praticando il nudging per suggerire-imporre un indirizzamento delle nostre decisioni. Una forma d'ipnosi, di subdolo intervento a dispetto del nostro libero arbitrio, supportato dai maggiori social network e motori di ricerca (Facebook, Google, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram) che sanno tutto di noi, i nostri gusti, i pensieri, i comportamenti e la nostra intera vita tracciata su Internet.
Abstract: Patient Safety is a global institution in the field largely assumed to have emerged following the publication of To Err Is Human by the Institute of Medicine in 1999. In this paper we demonstrate that Patient Safety has been constructed as an institution separately in the practice of anaesthesia since 1954 and in hospitalised care since 1964. The publication of To Err was, in fact, only one of a number of later field configuring events. We use Bruner's (1991) theory of narrative to frame the institution building process which we term deliberative instauration in recognition of the historic literature on the subject. We further link the process of institution building to Vygotsky's theory of social mediation and the use of artefacts in relation to the object of intended action. We conclude that a narrative can be understood as both an artefact and a process used in the social construction of institutions by professional psychological collectives (in this case physicians).