Sunday, July 15, 2012


In a world of increasing globalization people with very different experiences and backgrounds are bound to interact even more intensely. The nudge approach offers its own ways of smoothing the process and Singapore leads the way.

Read the full post on

Friday, April 6, 2012

Traffic Nudge: Countdown Traffic Lights

Green man walk, Red man STOP! - but the red man not only stops you from walking, he also prevents you from thinking of much else than when the lights turn green again. Faced with the uncertainty, we all know how impatience starts to build up threatening to turn us into jaywalkers.

Read the full blog-post here: Traffic Nudge: Countdown Traffic Lights

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Op-Ed on Nudging Smokers Away from Tobacco Risks

... read more about it on our new site.

New report on how to nudge businesses toward greener decisions

In a new report a team of theorists thoroughly evaluate different scenarios where heuristics and biases might make an impact on managers ability to choose between different strategies for sustainability as well as suggest different tools to help remedy the process... read on, on our new site.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thaler and Hansen take up prompted choice for organ donation in Denmark

Prompted choice in US and UK 
Contrary to what is often thought by commentators Thaler and Sunstein argues for prompted choice for registering for organ donation in Nudge: Improving decision on health, wealth and happiness - not presumed consent.

As Thaler and Sunstein reports inprompted choice has already been introduced with success in Illinois, US.
Since then Thaler has been advisor for the UK Behavioral Insight Team (the so-called "Nudge-unit") - a collaboration that led to the introduction on prompted choice in the UK last year.

In a recent OPC in The American Journal of Bioethics titled 'Getting the purpose of mandated choice wrong: Is Increasing Supply of Donated Cadaver Organs really what we want to nudge?' I've defended prompted choice against criticism suggested by Whyte et al. supporting presumed consent (see paper here).

Prompted choice in Denmark?
Against this background it was only a natural next step that we... read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nudge, Fun Theory and the role of incentives in libertarian paternalism

Recently Richard Thaler featured with the Op. ed. in the New York Times:  Making Good Citizenship Fun. In this he mentions the Piano Stairs of Volkswagen sponsored Fun Theory as a prominent example of how government may include positive reinforcement as an effective tool to encourage citizens to engage in civic behavior.

As readers of this blog are likely to have noticed we have our qualms and concerns with the validity of the Piano Stairs of Volkswagen Sponsored Fun Theory as well as with the place of Fun Theory within the nudge approach to behavioral change.

On the first node, there is little evidence of (if any at all), and we have little reason to believe that the piano stairs work outside touristic settings. On the second node, the piano stairs introduces incentives and thus breaks with the definition of a nudge.

Still, in our outreach work (lectures, workshops, etc.) we constantly experience how strongly attracted decision and policy makers are to Fun Theory - even when the arguments are put forth and the missing validity is pointed out....


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Yes! We are on!

I promised to say when it would happen.

Richard Thaler, Robert Cialdini, and David Halpern... they are definitely on the top 5 list of my intellectual heroes. Needless to say, I'm very proud to see my name next to theirs... and then it's on  Now I've said it and tomorrow will be one of those days where our hard work will feel a little less hard.

Remember to follow us by subscribing on WWW.INUDGEYOU.COM and then check out:

Sincerely yours, Pelle

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Green nudge: The Wattson clock cuts your electricity bill with style

Green nudges may improve the road to a more sustainable world. We take a look at how the Watson Clock nudges you to cut down on the electricity.

The Watson ClockYou might remember the OKITE clock we featured a while back, which effectively countered our own laziness and inability to get up on time by tweeting your friends everytime you hit snooze?

Now we turn to a clock with an even greater potential – Wattson from the company Energeno. Wattson initially looks just like a ordinary although fancy clock, but along with the clock you get a clip and a transmitter. These are connected to your home´s electricity meter and with them connected, Wattson starts measuring your total energy of your home's use in real time. Besides giving you the watts used, Wattson can calculate the costs and give you an idea of how much money your air-con or your fancy stereo is actually burning up. On top of that, Wattson can be made to glow in different lights that correspond to your energy usage, blue for low energy use, purple for average and red for high.

How does it work?
The Wattson clock qualifies as a nudge, since it doesn't really give you any new information. You could easily get the same data from your home's energy meter, look up the price for every watt consumed and calculate your costs. It doesn´t change the options you have, you still need to regulate your electric products yourself.

What it does, and does well, is that it predicts how we are going to act and is designed to counter that. We know that we should be aware of our exact energy spending, but inertia postpones looking up the watts and calculating the costs. Even if we do look it up, it's an abstract number and we have to constantly update it if we want it to be meaningful. By giving us the number in real time, and calculating the costs for us, Wattson makes it a salient piece of information that we can then act on all the time. It even predicts that we would probably come to ignore even this very salient information after a short while when the novelty wears of, and counters this by making its presence felt with the different lights. By hooking it up to your computer, you can store the information and see your energy usage go down over a period of time, which encourages you to keep saving or risk loosing money.

Cost and benefit
If you´re worried about the costs of the clock, we can tell you that the developers at Energeno claims it reduces energy usage by 25 pct and given the features and their collaboration with how we humans work, we're pretty sure that's this estimate is likely to be reliable. Given that a typical Danish household consumes 3-5.000 kWh per year – the clock pays for itself within a half to a whole year while saving the environment for a lot of co2.

By Andreas Maaløe Jespersen

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Green nudge: trayless cafeterias for reducing food waste

We do throw out an incredible amount of food, and little do we think about the role that trays in cafeterias play in this. But the truth can be surprising.

A tray of spicy dishes
At the moment I’m living in wonderful Singapore. A couple of days ago I got shown around the city by an Indonesian guy, who lives partly in Indonesia and Singapore. After a long walk at the Marina Bay, we went for some Asian food at a cafeteria. Asian food is amazingly delicious, but, as you probably already know, it is usually also really, really spicy.

In the cafeteria I grabbed a tray and walked around selecting a series of dishes – and as long as there was room on my tray, I kept putting food on it. But imagine the size of a tray, and compare it with the size of an average plate - it may be difficult to eat up a plate of food, but very few people are actually able to eat an entire tray of food! Unintentionally, I was headed either for a severe stomach ache, or making a rather large contribution to the global problem of food waste.

After trying most the food, burning of my tongue and sweating chili out of my forehead I had to give up. This definitely wasn’t in the favor of my Indonesian friend who pointed at me: “Eat up! Don’t throw food away!” And he couldn’t be more right. (Though, I am pretty sure, that I would have pasted out eating up the rest).

How trays contribute to food waste and how to prevent it
We do throw out an incredible amount of food, and little do we think about the role that trays play in this. However, a study at...

read the rest at our new and improved site:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nudging traffic safety by visual illusions

Can you count the black spots? Traffic is fast and dangerous, and often it's fractions of a second that matters. While regulation and incentives are already in place, it's impossible to cover any situation and keep these structures in mind all the time. Using optical illusions like this one seems to be the perfect way to nudge traffic safety on the spot. Here follows some great examples for reflection.

By Pelle Guldborg Hansen & Andreas Maaløe Jespersen

Nudging by visual illusions
Traffic is fast, furious and dangerous....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

NudgeNews January

What could be the connection between CSR and green nudges? Few examples, but read about good arguments for exploring the idea here.

Nudging in the Recommendations
I recently published a book about information phenomena. This post explores how nudging could help break the filterbubble as well as echo chambers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Green nudges: saving trees by default

Credit: David Castillo Dominici
Computers and the Internet could save us millions of trees as well as dollars each year. Still, we stick to our habits and keep on harming the environment because of the status quo bias. In this post we give you a neat little trick to help you save the environment as well as your money - nudging the default.    

Teaching and preaching
Though, we now read books on our iPad's and Kindles, research papers on our laptops and buy train tickets on our smart phones there is still one place where we use a great amount of paper – our educational institutions and our workplaces.

I remember when I was just a little girl our teacher used to preach about how there wouldn’t be any trees to climb, if we weren’t careful with the paper we used. Usually, these sermons were more like prayers since it would only take a short while before we had slipped into our usual habits for using paper - after all, it seemed that no matter how much paper we used, the trees were always there in the school yard the next day.

Obviously, it isn’t only children who are immune to these kinds of preaches. Adults are as well. So how do we nudge people to save paper, short of providing the feedback by cutting down trees outside their windows?

Handing in your paper assignment
Each semester millions of students hand in their essays and assignments on printed paper. Multiply these millions of assignments with the number of the pieces of papers and you could probably reach the moon.

Credit: Salvatore Vuono
For instance, a very conservative estimate for Denmark would be that there are approx. 200.000 students. If each hand in 20 pages twice a year (very very conservative estimate), that makes 8.000.000 pieces of paper. A piece of paper weight 4,8 gr. Thus, the total weight would be 38.400 KG paper. According to some websites it takes 1 tree to produce 2,6 KG of paper. That makes 14.769 trees!... just for the number of university assignments handed in! 

By the way 2,6 KG is what one of those boxes of office paper weights - so it seems that you're cutting a tree down for every box that you open.

(We would be very happy if anyone out there has more precise numbers)

Saving trees by default
While most of us already think of the world in a sustainable perspective by default, few of us have truly aligned our behavior and decisions with this. We mostly do our work and business as usual, and only activate our environmental perspective when prompted.

However, Rutgers University decided to nudge themselves by having their printers switched to printing double sided by default. This saved 7 million sheets of paper in just one semester!

Status Quo bias
Studies as well as real interventions thus show that just by installing printers with the standard option of printing doubled-sided as a default makes us much more likely to use this option.

Why? Because of the status quo bias.

You, or let's say a friend of yours, is probably familiar with buying a magazine subscription because it came with a free gift. But your friend probably also used an unplanned amount of money on the magazine subscription afterwards, because he didn’t make the necessary phone call to cancel the subscription again. Or perhaps your screen saver is still the same as when you received your computer? Or, you still haven't signed up for organ-donation, although you would be willing to donate your organs if the relevant worst case scenario should arise.
Credit: digitalart

You can blame all of this on the status quo bias. The status quo bias keeps us from changing how things are, and instead leaves us floating with the stream.

But as well as magazine companies can take advantage of this bias, it can also be nudged to work in our favor. By installing doubled-sided print as the default, you have to be prompted by a special reason to print one-sided papers before you care about switch the print option back to one-sided prints.

This is an easy change, with a massive beneficial result to help our environment.

How about you - what is your printer set up to?

By Katrine Lund Skov 
with Pelle G. Hansen (since he was never a little girl)