Thaler And Sunstein's Nudge Analysis

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Thaler and Sunstein's Nudge: An Analysis In 2008, an economist from Chicago and a Harvard law professor came together to develop an incredibly fascinating award-winning book that utilizes both behavioral economics and psychology research to explain "nudges" in economics. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, written by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, describes "nudges" as items that are capable of influencing individuals' decisions after the utilization of indirect suggestions and positive reinforcement. These nudges have the ability to achieve compliance (that is not forced, mind you) of individuals in nearly every context. While I have yet to have had the pleasure to read the entire book, I have a far…show more content…
Anchoring is described as starting the decision-making process at a point that you know or are familiar with, the anchor, and then adjusting in whichever direction you believe to be correct (Thaler and Sunstein 23). The second heuristic, availability, is an assessment of risk based on how quickly an individual can think of examples of a given threat (Thaler and Sunstein 25). The third and final heuristic is representativeness, which is described as the "similarity heuristic". People will often employ stereotypes when asked how similar object A is to object B, and this heuristic is used because it is typically effective (Thaler and Sunstein 26). I'd like to go more in depth on the first heuristic, anchoring, due to the fact that it is heavily rooted in psychology - priming the brain, specifically. Thaler and Sunstein illustrate an experiment in which college students were asked two different questions - the first asking about their personal happiness and the second asking how often the individual was dating (Thaler and Sunstein 24). The correlation had a drastic increase when the dating question was asked initially - priming the brain to associate one's love life with happiness. The dating question gives an individual a "starting point" for the thought process, which gives the interviewer more

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