Tweaking Behavior

Tweaking BehaviorNews hit the Web last week, talking about a certain squad-in-the-making in the U.S. that will aim to “nudge” people’s behavior towards the direction that President Barack Obama wants. With the success report of a similar project from the United Kingdom, everyone is apt to think that this system is indeed effective. But is it right to manipulate people’s behavior? Will it have a more desirable outcome for the country?

‘More responsible’

For sure, opinions will erupt left and right about this issue. Some will be optimistic about this project, thinking that within a few years, we will have less violence, more responsible taxpayers, less irresponsible parents, and more model families. Of course, some will negate this notion, thinking that it will be futile and that it is not right to manually tweak people’s behavior just so a “better” country will be realized.


‘Manipulated’

Not to be polarizing here, but maybe we DO need a little tweaking in our behavior. What will all the outrageous behavior and rampage going around, not to mention all the unexplained violence and uncontrolled liberty that our young people are exhibiting. If the present generation of parents cannot control their own children, or rather, cannot guid the next generation towards the right path, then the government stepping in to do the job might just be the help that we need right now.

On the other hand, there’s all the other issues to consider about this project. Will this result in an “artificial” environment wherein everybody will seem to be somebody else and a person’s natural personality is restrained? And how will the people themselves feel about this? Will they feel like a pawn being manipulated in a chessboard, or will they feel happy that finally somebody is providing legitimate guidance?

Which side are you going to be on? Do you think tweaking people’s behavior is a good thing?

Image: Stay at Stove Dad

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