You may not realize it, but “nudges” have been used by businesses, policymakers, and governments for years to persuade people to make different choices. Small changes in our environment can “lean” us into different behaviors without limiting the options available to us. For example, printing low-calorie options in bold on a menu, or displaying calorie information, can change the food choices we make. But do the public support it? And do the nuances of how ‘nudge’ interventions are designed affect support, if at all? Research led by the universities of Göttingen and Bonn examined public support for tilting scenarios with different design variations, each aimed at promoting healthy and/or sustainable food choices. The researchers showed that there are two promising ways to improve public support for nudge strategies: by getting people to reduce the effort they would normally pursue, thereby avoiding the conflicted option; For people should spend. and improving nudge transparency. The results were published in BMC Public Health.

People can be asked to make a particular choice by making it a default option. For example, instead of automatically serving butter in a restaurant by default, restaurants can make it so that butter is only available upon active request. This type of nudge — called a “default nudge” — can be effective, but it can be less popular than other nudging strategies. The researchers set out to analyze consumer responses by conducting an online survey of a sample of German adults (N = 451), who were presented with five shock scenarios and prompted to rate their support for each. What did In each scenario, participants were also asked what their usual behavior would be (ie, do you usually eat butter at a restaurant), the extent to which they resented the intrusion on their freedom of choice. felt, and how effectively they believed in it. There will be a shock. Participants then answered the same questions for each shock scenario variation in which one aspect of the design was altered, allowing the researchers to identify whether these design variations How the conditions affected public support.

The researchers discovered that some designs were more promising than others for improving public support. For example, reducing the effort required to opt out of a nudged option — such as serving vegetarian dishes on the first pages of a menu followed by meat dishes, rather than just one vegetable on the table. Khor menu should be provided with menu with options of meat. Added support – available on request. Similarly, increasing the transparency of the nudge itself, such as by asking participants if they preferred a pre-filled ‘climate-friendly’ online grocery cart offered by default, increased support. Regarding the prediction of level of support, the perception that free choice is influenced was the most important driver of non-acceptance, while the perception of effectiveness was the most significant driver of acceptance.

“Public support — and understanding its drivers — is critical to designing politically viable, ethical and effective solutions,” says first author Simone Wahnschaft at the Sustainable Food Systems Research Group at the University of Göttingen. “We were surprised to find that our participants’ personal circumstances and their own behavior had no effect on their support. This study opens up avenues for future research on how to predetermine ‘sweet spots.’ Can be searched for plugins that are effective and widely supported.

This research was made possible thanks to funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG).