How The 'Nudge' Method Could Help You Quit Smoking

There's a conference of legal experts in Ottawa (at which I'm speaking) in early September which may fly under the media radar. But it will deal with an interesting and very useful concept: the "nudge." The nudge is the brainchild of two American academics, economics professor Thaler and legal professor Sunstein. They've rolled out their ideas in nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008). Subsequently Sunstein has elaborated these views in Simpler: The Future of Government (2013) and Why Nudge? (2014).

Thaler's and Sunstein's goal is to help people make better choices in a variety of areas without removing their right to choose. A central claim of theirs is that individuals select more wisely when provided with a clear set of options, which respond to various aspects of human judgment that is not always cool and rational. Instead we can act on impulse and be influenced by such elements as "status quo bias," which prompts individuals to go along with the default option when provided with various choices and the "planning fallacy" the tendency to be unrealistically optimistic about the time it takes to complete a project.

Continue reading on the Huffington Post ➝