Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


A nudge in the right direction?

I am surprised I hadn’t heard about the book Nudge, by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler.
I haven’t read it yet, but from the web page it seems to be about how policymakers can take into account the heuristics and biases characteristic of human decision-makers and create a choice architecture which yields “proper” decision-making.
I confess that this whole line of thinking is somewhat alien to me, and that I never cared much about psychologists trying to understand how we think, since many of their explanations could also be seen as just-so stories. Of course, with amazing advances in brain imaging that has changed, and I am realizing that I should have given these folks more respect.
Why should anyone care? Sunstein (who is the most cited legal scholar in the U.S.*) is now the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Policy for the Obama administration.
* He does not, however, seem to have an Erdös number

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