Have you ever bought three chocolate bars, because they were 2 for the price of 3? Did you buy them, even though you knew you only wanted 1? The choice architecture of the store and its signs would have played a very important role in your decision. But don’t worry, no one can stop themselves when the deal is that good, can they?
Choice architecture describes the way in which our decisions are influenced by the presentation of choices, like those chocolate bars or those online magazine subscriptions. The choice architect is the policy maker, decision maker, or whoever is in charge who is able to frame information in a particular format, to get their customer to behave in a certain way.
As humans, we have a lot of choices to make: what to wear today, where & what to eat, what music to listen to, what to do after work, etc. So, when an important decision has to be made, such as how to invest one’s life savings or to do organ donation, many of us choose poorly due to all the information that is available to us at the same time, and because of the number of choices we have to make in a day. This is where choice architecture comes into play.
The majority of choice architectue influences that we see in our lives are nudges. A nudge is a term coined by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their book ‘Nudge: Improving Decisions about Wealth, and Happiness’ to refer to aspects of choice architecture that does not limit their options. Here, they suggest that nudges should be used for good.
These good nudges have been used by governments in many ways. One way has been to improve the numbers of organ donations. In the Netherlands, you are automatically enrolled as an organ donor when you are of the appropriate age, and have the option to opt-out. As this is a choice that people do not consider, as it is not that important to many on a day to day basis, having the default be to opt-in instead of opt-out, has increased the number of Dutch citizens who are organ donors.
If you would like to have more choice architecture in your campaigns, contact us at Lynn firstname.lastname@example.org.