White House Creating ‘Nudge Squad’ To Shape Citizens’ Behavior

White House Creating 'Nudge Squad' To Shape Citizens' BehaviorThe federal government is hiring what it calls a “Behavioral Insights Team” that will look for ways to subtly influence people’s behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com.

‘Tweaking behavior’

While the program is still in its early stages, the document shows the White House is already working on such projects with almost a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

The document was emailed by Maya Shankar, a White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences, to a university professor with the request that it be distributed to people interested in joining the team. The idea is that the team would “experiment” with various techniques, with the goal of tweaking behavior so people do everything from saving more for retirement to saving more in energy costs.


‘Extraordinarily succesfful’

Such policies — which encourage behavior subtly rather than outright require it — have come to be known as “nudges,” after an influential 2008 book titled “Nudge” by former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and Chicago Booth School of Business professor Richard Thaler popularized the term.

The term “nudge” has already been associated with the new program, as one professor who received Shankar’s email forwarded it to others with the note:

“Anyone interested in working for the White House in a ‘nudge’ squad? The UK has one and it’s been extraordinarily successful.”

Do you think this “nudge” program is a good thing or a bad one? Feel free to discuss your thoughts with us regarding this issue!

Source: Fox News

Image: Weasel Zippers

Full Moon Linked To Sleep Pattern Disturbance

Full Moon Linked To Sleep Pattern DisturbanceA full Moon can disturb a good night’s sleep, scientists believe. Researchers found evidence of a “lunar influence” in a study of 33 volunteers sleeping in tightly controlled laboratory conditions.

‘Poorer quality sleep’

When the Moon was round, the volunteers took longer to nod off and had poorer quality sleep, despite being shut in a darkened room, Current Biology reports. They also had a dip in levels of a hormone called melatonin that is linked to natural-body clock cycles.

When it is dark, the body makes more melatonin. And it produces less when it is light. Being exposed to bright lights in the evening or too little light during the day can disrupt the body’s normal melatonin cycles. But the work in Current Biology, by Prof Christian Cajochen and colleagues from Basel University in Switzerland, suggests the Moon’s effects may be unrelated to its brightness.


‘Lunar effect’

The volunteers were unaware of the purpose of the study and could not see the Moon from their beds in the researchers’ sleep lab. They each spent two separate nights at the lab under close observation. Findings revealed that around the full Moon, brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by nearly a third. Melatonin levels also dipped. The volunteers also took five minutes longer to fall asleep and slept for 20 minutes less when there was a full Moon.

Some people may be exquisitely sensitive to the Moon, say the researchers. Their study did not originally set out to investigate a lunar effect.

Do you experience disturbance in your sleep pattern during Full Moon? What do you think is the reason behind this?

Source: Michelle Roberts | BBC News

Image: An Inspired Life