The answers to these questions – and so many other perplexities of human behaviour – are the domain of behavioural science.
“We humans notoriously underestimate how happy it makes us to give to others.”
– Nava Ashraf
Behavioral Science Teams Increasingly Important to Financial Services
Offering financial rewards to people trying to quit smoking could save the NHS billions of pounds a year and boost the economy, according to research.
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Seevers waited nervously at the 2019 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The high school senior was about to demonstrate to the public a new kind of underwater propulsion system she’d created and tested in her parents’ basement. But no one came to talk to her. So, Seevers tried an experiment. She and a nearby male participant, who’d been getting lots of attention, switched spots, presenting each other’s research. Lo and behold, his project became much less popular with her standing in front of it, while hers suddenly attracted more interest.
In May 2018, more than 76,500 Ontario public service employees received emails from their employer encouraging them to use the federal government’s retirement income calculator. The emails were the same, but the subject lines were different. Each one targeted a different way of thinking: emphasizing the simplicity of retirement planning, playing up its immediate benefits or prompting the receiver to consider who they’ll spend their retirement with.
The Journal went on a quest to identify the user actions — an app download, an article share, repeat reading of a particular reporter’s stories — that can turn a new subscriber into a loyal one. Then it turned that knowledge into churn-reducing action.