About Behavioral Science

Why Behavioral Science & Economics?

Behavioral Science studies how people make decisions, behave, and respond to incentives, programs, and policies.

Behavioral Economics combines Judgment & Decision-Making, Psychology, and Economics. The behavioral science fields have identified over 200 biases and heuristics that people use to make daily decisions.

Behavioral Science, including Behavioral Economics, considers these to help people make better decisions.

How to apply?

Behavioral Design recognizes how people think and behave and uses techniques and patterns to influence people’s behavior (in the physical or online environment).

Behavior change design is the application of psychological methods and research to develop products, services, or experiences. Behavior change design can also be used to make consumer products and experiences more engaging—while sometimes having the positive side effect of helping users develop new habits or skills. (Amy Butcher, Engage)

How Good Intentions Work

1. The Two Ways How People Make Decisions

We make decisions in two ways: in a fast and automatic mode (System 1 thinking) and a deliberate, logical, but slow way (System 2 Thinking) (Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky – Thinking Fast and Slow).

The first system is responsible for approx.—95% of the decisions we make during the day. Now you know why people’s behavior often doesn’t make sense.

Science says that we make daily approx. 35.000 decisions. If you break the daily decisions down, you end up with 2,187 decisions every hour, 36 per minute, or more than one every two seconds. (M. Palmer)

2. Shortcuts, Biases, and Habits

They all ”live” in System 1 Thinking—the fast, automatic, unconscious one. We use heuristics (shortcuts) to assess situations, make decisions, and navigate the world. We don’t overthink them. That’s why it’s hard to catch yourself in the act or understand people’s motives when they do something that seems irrational. And it may be irrational, but now you know why.

Cialdini, the most known authority in the persuasion field, says that we use shortcuts because they are effective and help us save time.

”By reacting automatically to a normally informative trigger feature, an individual preserves crucial time, energy, and mental capacity. The disadvantage of such responding lies in its vulnerability to silly and costly mistakes; by reacting to only a piece of the available information (even a usually predictive piece), an individual increases the chances of error, especially when responding in an automatic, mindless fashion.”

(Cialdini, 2022)

3. Context and Social Influence

We decide in a context, and we are influenced by: how the environmental context is set up, what people do and talk about, and their choices; our past experiences and habits shape our behavior and influence our decisions.

We do this because we stay in System 1 often. We have limited willpower, so in some daily moments, we are more prone to be influenced by our context.

Here the intention-action gap occurs. We want to do something, but we fail to do it. Now you can better understand yourself and your customers.

How Motivation Works

Why do people resist change?

1. Fear of the unknown
2. Lack of understanding of the need for change
3. Fear of losing status, security, belonging, or competence
4. To tight emotionally to the current state
5. Don’t trust those promoting or driving the change
6. Don’t understand the proposed change and its implications
7. Don’t believe that change will lead to a better state

What attracts people’s focus based on neuroscience?

a. Familiarity (something that looks familiar to us)
b. Salience (something that pops up, it’s different, it’s moving)
c. “Goal-driven” (something that helps us accomplish a specific goal)

Inspiration: Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky – Thinking Fast and Slow
Amy Butcher – Engage
Stephen Wendel – Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics

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