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Better off, as judged by themselves: do people support nudges as a method to change their own behavior?

Gold, Natalie, Lin, Yiling, Ashcroft, Richard and Osman, Magda (2020) Better off, as judged by themselves: do people support nudges as a method to change their own behavior? Behavioural Public Policy. ISSN 2398-063X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/bpp.2020.6

Abstract

In this study, we investigated how people evaluate behavioral interventions (BIs) that are targeted at themselves, aiming to promote their own health and wellbeing. We compared the impact on people's assessments of the acceptability of using BIs to change their own behavior of: the transparency of the BI (transparent or opaque); the designer of the BI (researchers, government policy-makers, advertisers); and three types of arguments regarding their efficacy (positive, positive + negative, negative). Our target BIs were actual interventions that have been used in a range of policy domains (diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, personal finances). We found that transparent BIs were considered more acceptable than opaque BIs. On average, all BIs were considered acceptable for changing participants’ own behavior, except for the opaque BI in the finance context; there was differential acceptability of BIs across contexts, with finance clearly least acceptable. However, the perceived effectiveness of the BIs was at least as influential a predictor of acceptability ratings as the ease of identification of the behavior change mechanism across the five contexts. Furthermore, effectiveness was partially mediated by desire to change, suggesting that people do think BIs make them better off, ‘as judged by themselves’.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behavioura...
Additional Information: © 2020 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2021 15:03
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2021 18:06
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/109235

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