The Ethics of Nudging
TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, 2016
Dr Murieann Quigley starts this speech with the example of a canteen that rearranged the order of its food options, making it very hard to find those that are commonly classified as unhealthy. She points out some of the main psychological biases that sistematically shape our behaviour and that are more and more often exploited by privates and policy makers to nudge people. Nudging has been frequently criticized as an unethical threat to the individual's freedom of choice that influences her/his subconscious. What the speaker proposes is a different, innovative perspective. She believes that, even in the absence of nudges, individual's choice set is influenced by external forces. Therefore, it is more important that policy makers correctly assess the impact of nudges on society and see whether these are actually succesful in changing our behaviour for the better.
Comment from our editors:
Definitely an insightful video. An extensive body of literature on behavioural science focuses on narrow contexts but generalizes its results and implications. Given the growing role played by behavioural science in the public and private sectors, it is paramount to correctly assess the impact of nudges on society.