National Social Marketing Centre


Behavioural insight update

Aiden Truss, Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 11:22

The Cabinet Office Behaviour Insights Team has just published its annual update for 2010-11. Though the press seems to have zeroed in on one recommendation around smoking, there are a variety of other developments worth looking at.

Trials and tribulations...

Aiden Truss, Monday, May 16, 2011 - 10:25

Writing at the weekend, Ben Goldacre yet again pointed out the disconnection between political good intentions and evidence-driven policy.

The dark side of nudging?

Aiden Truss, Monday, January 31, 2011 - 12:08

I had a call last week from someone concerned that our involvement in behaviour change at The NSMC was somehow directed toward something a bit more nefarious; along the lines of mind control over vulnerable target groups. I suppose that we were implicated in what you might call the 'dark side of nudging' due to the mention of psychological techniques being mentioned in the mainstream press in recent articles on behavioural nudges.

Nudging in the BMJ

Aiden Truss, Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 12:08

Obviously, we at The NSMC are fascinated with all things behavioural. So, it's been interesting to see an alternative viewpoint to the government's nudging policies evaluated from a scientific rather than a knee-jerk libertarian perspective.

Published yesterday in the British Medical Journal, Judging nudging: can nudging improve population health? (available for free, though you'll need to register!), discusses the possible pitfalls of nudging as opposed to using legislation and whole population approaches.

How about this for a nudge?

Aiden Truss, Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 12:08

A British company, Hu2 Design has produced a range of simple stickers designed to remind people about the ecological cost of their electricity usage:

Energy stickers.

They can be applied around light switches and plug sockets to give a little visual reminder to switch off.

You can see the full range of 'Eco Reminders' here.

Was he pushed, or was he nudged?

Aiden Truss, Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - 12:08

The government's 'Nudge' unit is back in the news after the launch of their recent paper on behavioural insight. And yet again the press are putting a strange spin on what they are trying to achieve.

The Indie published an article a couple of days ago, subtly titled 'Nudge, nudge, wink wink... How the Government wants to change the way we think', which carefully couched its appraisal in terms such as 'psychological tricks' and 'mental techniques' in order to describe the aims of the unit. Of course it's eye-catching and headline-grabbing stuff, but it doesn't give the big picture and it does smack of lazy journalism.


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