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Nudging emotions and community feelings in public space

Nudge and the manipulation of choice

While finishing our forthcoming paper Nudge & the manipulation of choice: a framework for the responsible use of the nudge approach to behavior change in public policy I recently had a conversation with Jamie Kimmel from Ideas42.

The issue was the various nudges currently tried out in the UK. Jamie called my attention to an interesting example of installing pink lighting in areas where teenagers hang out. The underlying idea: to highlight their acne, so they’re too embarrassed to be seen there!

One of the many implications of our paper is the conclusion that the use of a nudge like this is actually acceptable. The end pursued by this nudge, however, is not likely to be compatible with any reasonable democratic policy position – yet, that’s a problem that do not pertain to nudging as such.

Nudging emotions and community feelings

Well enough about oour paper. Still, it was great timing when Rory Sutherland tweeted the following BBC piece last night. The piece covers a story of how a community is trying to fight crime by painting babies’ faces on the shutters of shops. You may read the story here:

A host of conventional measures have been tried to control anti-social behaviour – CCTV, community policing, court orders, and tougher sentencing – but could paintings of babies and other offbeat techniques help?


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