How Behavioral Economics is Being Used Against You

How Behavioral Economics is Being Used Against You

An article by Leslie Albrecht in Marketwatch looks at how nudges--forms of positive reinforcement that encourage people to adopt certain behaviors--can become manipulative and harmful when misused, or simply ineffective when overused.

The story features thoughts from AgeLab Director Dr. Joseph Coughlin.

Coughlin observes that nudges are "another classic example of great academic research put into practice in a way that was never intended or foreseen, especially with the changes in technology that are around now.”

With the advent of the Internet of Things, nudges now come from an overwhelming variety of sources--our cars, our phones, our coffee machines, our dishwashers.

“Suddenly all those gentle nudges empowered by new technology and relatively overzealous marketers have turned into noodges,” Coughlin says, using a Yiddish term for nag. He worries consumers will start to tune them all out, including the beneficial ones. “Then we will lose the value of nudging to do good in society.”

Read the full piece on Marketwatch here.