Category Behavioral sciences

[Book] Guardrails

When we make decisions, our thinking is informed by societal norms, “guardrails” that guide our decisions, like the laws and rules that govern us. But what are good guardrails in today’s world of overwhelming information flows and increasingly powerful technologies, such as artificial intelligence? Based on the latest insights from the cognitive sciences, economics, and public policy, Guardrails offers a novel approach to shaping decisions by embracing human agency in its social context.

Voting, fast and slow

The online voting platform that was used by Italy's Five Star Movement to select the candidates for the 2013 parliamentary elections didn't take account of human decision heuristics and cognitive shortcuts, research shows. Candidates were more likely to attract votes if they appeared towards the top of the screen and if they appeared more likeable from the self-uploaded picture.

Behavioral science driven public policy “led astray”

What nudge theory got wrong
Many behavioral scientists propose and test interventions that attack policy problems by seeking to change individual behavior (adopting an “i-frame”) rather than the system in which they operate (an “s-frame”). Such i-frame interventions, which typically have small or null effects, reduce support from more effective systemic actions (such as regulation and taxation). For this reason, researchers advocating i-frame solutions may have unwittingly helped promote the interests of corporations who oppose systemic change.