Nudging and Dodging: Behavioral Insights to Improve Health Behavior



Behavior is one the leading causes of poor health outcomes.  For example, people frequently avoid getting a flu shot, eat unhealthy foods, and fail to get enough exercise.  Recently, nudges that employ behavioral insights to encourage healthy behavior have been the topic of significant research.  I will present evidence for several health nudges that employ defaults, utilize reference points, or harness prosocial motives, but I will also examine the potential for dodges, or limitations of nudges where individuals sidestep or compensate for the intervention.  These findings highlight the potential but also the boundary conditions of decision theoretic interventions to enhance health.