The Nudge Theory
  • June 30, 2020
  • bassiuxd
  • Design

The Nudge Theory: A Modern Approach to Solve Problems

The concept of Nudge theory is a part of behavioral economics, political theory, and behavioral sciences. Its main goal is to reinforce a human being positive, to bring changes in the decision-making style of an individual or a group.

A nudge means encouragement in order to get something going. Hence, its aim is to achieve its target in the fields of education, legislation, or enforcement using the motivation concept of nudge theory rather than force.

In a nutshell, nudge theory is a flexible and modern concept to:

  • Understand how a human mind works, thinks, and makes decisions.
  • Help people to improve their thinking and decision-making skills.
  • Manage changes in case of emergencies.
  • Change unhelpful influences on people.


Background of the Nudge Theory

The concept of the nudge was tossed in 2008, in a book called “Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R Sunstein. The book is entirely based on the sole winning works of Israeli-American psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.

The theory runs with its aim to explore, understand, and explain how people behave and think with the intention of altering or removing it in a positive way. Such unhelpful nudges can be found in advertising agencies, government work, some accidental cases, and more such instances that require the nudge theory to take decisions positively.

How does it help humanity?

The nudge theory is entirely for humanity by humanity. It cannot be implemented if there is no presence of humanity in the world. Please note that it is implemented to ease the complexities of human behavior.

The nudge theory focuses on discovering how a human mind thinks and decides several actions, based on their prior research. It focuses on discovering the impulsive and irrational decisions of individuals, rather than how leaders and authorities usually believe how people think and make decisions rationally.

It is a completely different approach to achieve its target of altering human decisions positively, using indirect encouragement and enablement. Its technique is to avoid direct instruction or enforcement.

The following cases in the form of the Nudge theory examples will summarize the entire theory:

Enforced Change Nudge Techniques
Instructing a child to clean the mess of his room Making the child play a ‘room-cleaning’ game.
Strictly mentioning signs like ‘no littering’ and giving warnings Improving a certain area’s quality and keeping bins to put junk.
Joining a gym Use of stairs for fun
Keeping the count of calories Having a small plate only
Shopping on a limited budget Use of basket and not a trolley


The relation of Nudge Theory with Psychology

Several theories based on psychology are related to our decision-making skills and of course, the Nudge theory. Psychology reads human thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This is also called the science of human behavior which is based on two of its components:

  • Describing human behavior
  • Making predictions about their future behaviors

A decision making skill in psychology, says that it is a step-by-step process which results in the selection of something we believe in or choosing an action out of the presented alternatives.

In other words, the nudge theory is interrelated with the concepts of psychology, in terms of human behavior, tendency, science, and thought patterns.

Types of human behavior in Psychology:

  • Molecular and Moral Behavior
    Molecular is an irrational behavior that occurs without thinking much of the consequences, and moral behavior is more of rational behavior that thinks of its consequence with immense care.
  • Overt and covert behavior
    Overt is a visible behavior that is clearly shown in a person when he/she takes a decision, and covert ain’t visible.
  • Voluntary and involuntary behavior
    Voluntary behavior of a person says that it depends on human wants while involuntary one, occurs naturally without thinking much.
  • Human personality
    Human personality can be understood in categories such as optimistic, pessimistic, trustworthy, or envious. The different behavior of a different person decides the scale of the Nudge theory and helps in implementing a proper decision.

How is human behavior related to the Nudge theory?

So, the entire procedure depends on the mindset. As mentioned above, the work of Nudge theory is initially to discover a person’s mind and then enable a person to follow certain criteria to make things happen. The nudge theory uses its different scales for a different person, depending on their behavior. It depends on how a certain person perceives tasks because this is where the trait of a person is shown in the first place.

Role of human tendency and the law of human behavior

Everything in cognitive psychology is interrelated and followed by each other. It is also connected to the human tendency and the law of human behavior, that is, the potential of a person to adapt and survive in a particular time or situation. Human tendencies are inherent drives that push people to interact with their surroundings in a certain way. That is, how a person interacts with their surroundings. It makes a person explore, communicate, calculate, plan, manipulate, create and self develop.

Human tendency and the law of human behavior are directly related to the Nudge theory, which makes a person mold the process in an environment that fosters and builds these tendencies and gets certain work done as per his or her tendency.


The entire idea is a learning concept, which requires cognitive psychology. It is an imperative need which can be applied in various fields, such as public policy, official work, healthcare, finance, etc.

It does not feel like a burden on a human being. Hence, the nudge summary says that the entire theory does the most needed favor which is eradicating anxiety; meanwhile providing mental peace.

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