A Subtle Suggestion May Be More Powerful Than Direct Instruction
Would you rather have one option presented to you as the one you should choose, or a more subtle suggestion to persuade you to choose that item? Which do you think would be more effective? According to Nudge Theory, subtle suggestions are much more effective in influencing behavior than direct instruction. For example, telling someone to reduce their energy consumption would be less effective than showing them that their energy consumption is much higher than their neighbors'. The idea behind it is that direct instruction can be met with frustration, and could prompt someone to behave in a way opposite of what is intended. Many counter the support for Nudge Theory stating it is mental manipulation.
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from The RSA
Key Facts In This Video
Skeptics of Nudge Theory fear that "nudging" asserts disrespect upon the person being nudged. (0:18)
Psychologists argue that it can be more rational to choose not to choose in a situation in which one has limited bandwidth. (2:07)