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Departmental Colloquium: Can gentle directions in the right way engage people with things that really matter?

Denise de Ridder
Tuesday, June 13, 2023, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Involving people with complex societal issues that require broad commitment (e.g., the sustainability transition or COVID-19 vaccination) is challenging. Policy makers increasingly turn to behavioral scientists for nudging desired behavior as an alternative for mandates or persuasion to engage people with such cases. Whereas nudging as a policy instrument has great potential, its psychological underpinnings are not well understood. In a recent review on nudgeability, we have suggested that nudges are only effective when they align with people’s preferences and still work when people are in a reflective mindset and their presence is revealed. Building on these insights, we propose a new kind of behavioral prompts that invite people to consider meaningful options that are derived from situated cognition theory. In my talk, I will present findings from recent research on how these kind of affordance nudges can inform strategies for committing people to the greater good for the benefit of all.