The burgeoning literature on Nudges (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008; Kamenica, 2012) in many ways talks about the power of simple/ small changes to choice architecture (through understanding the role of various underlying mechanisms like priming, framing, defaults, “less is more”, loss aversion and various other biases/ heuristics, etc.) and how these small changes could be used to influence people’s choices and behavior, including help increase compliance rates to seemingly benign corporate and government policies.
While many of these nudges are designed to influence day to day, mundane behavior (from driving habits to consumption habits) and compliance, I wonder if the future of research on nudges entails asking how these can be leveraged to drive seemingly non-compliant and creative behaviors and thus further tap into rich, latent inner psychological resources?
There seem to be indications that external motivation/ resources and incentives (for example, monetary payouts) may suppress internal motivation/ resources (for example, pro-social behavior) (Kamenica, 2012). One interpretation of this possibly is that a presence/ abundance of extrinsic motivation/ resources, may possibly suppress and create an absence/ scarcity of intrinsic motivation/ resources, rendering these intrinsic resources latent and/ or defunct (for example, intrinsic resources like creativity, altruism, etc. may be suppressed in the presence of monetary payouts). Given this, one has to wonder how can behavioral research on nudges help tap into and activate rich, latent, intrinsic resources, which on the surface may lead to non-compliant behavior but at the same time may have potential for creative, non-traditional solutions to socio-economic problems? Also is there a possible risk of nudges in their benign pursuit of driving compliance, inadvertently influencing the evolutionary process by reducing diversity and variation?
While nudges surely can help drive compliance rates to seemingly benign corporate and government policies (and hence keen interest expressed by various national governments to jump on board the “nudges” bandwagon, the Behavioral Insights Group in the U.K. being one example – http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/), I wonder if the future of research on nudges entails figuring out ways of tapping into deeply entrenched human creative instincts that may possibly lead to seemingly non-traditional and non-conformist , albeit highly creative, solutions to various complex socio-economic problems?