Case Studies

Organ Donation

Research Question: 95% of Americans support organ donation. And yet, only 48% of Americans are registered organ donors. What can we do to get more Americans to register as organ donors?

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The Coin Study

Research Question: People frequently save less for the future than they should. Which behavioral interventions and financial incentives do the most to increase the saving rate of individuals with low and irregular income?

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Member Engagement

Research Question: Many financial service providers are forced to make tradeoffs between incentivizing their members to stay engaged, and ensuring their own institutional sustainability. What can be done to nudge greater engagement among credit union members without undermining institutional sustainability?

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Low Interest Loans

Research Question: Many times customers do not switch to a new service when it is introduced, even when it is strictly preferable. One such example is when a financial institution introduces a new low interest loan. What can get those who currently have a high interest loan to switch to a low interest loan?

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Making Exercise Meaningful

Research Question: Most people would be better off if they exercised more, yet so few manage to do so. How can we encourage people to exercise more and help them savor exercise, rather than dread it?

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Reducing Inequality

Research Question: For decades, the US has experienced a staggering growth in wealth inequality, and a large portion of Americans wish there were a lower amount of inequality. What can be done to motivate people to take actual action pursuing a preferable wealth distribution?

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Tax Refund Savings

Research Question: When Americans receive a tax refund it is an incredible opportunity to put aside money to save, because that money is typically not already allocated to other expenses. How can we get Americans to save more of their tax refund, rather than increasing discretionary spending?

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Lying

Research Question: People tell lies for many different reasons, but what predicts when someone will tell a lie? Does social network have an influence on lying tendencies?

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Cheating

Research Question: We know that dishonesty is seen in societies across the world, but to what extent is there variation between countries in individuals’ core tendencies towards dishonesty? This research tested whether country affects dishonesty on an abstract, novel task.

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Snitching

Research Question: With illegal illicit behavior, snitching (also called passing information) is often the only way to gain enough information to allow a conviction in court. But even on a smaller scale, snitching can catch everything from cheating on tests to breaking a diet, and it serves as a powerful social force to guide everyday interactions. We wanted to know: what are the causes and consequences of snitching? How do people feel about snitching, and how do they think others feel about it?

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Sex Toys

Research Question: How are stigmas and taboos affected by the social and contextual environment in which the tabooed item is encountered? Because norms are not obvious around sex toys, it provides a good context to use social and environmental cues to influence perception. More specifically, how do perceptions of sex toys change when others voice support for sex toys or when placed in contrast with more unconventional sex toys?

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Goal Frustration

Research Question: What happens when an intention cannot be actualized – how does it affect our future actions and our self-perceptions? More specifically, how likely are people to make a second good choice after an initial good intention is frustrated?

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The Environment

Research Question: We know that our past actions can influence our future choices. Do past self-interested behaviors contribute to difficulty in getting people to act in the interest of society as a whole? In particular, how do past actions hinder the likelihood of someone acting in line with their reported concern for the environment?

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Saving for Health

Research Question: In Kenya, people do not typically save for health expenses. Instead, they wait until an emergency arrives, at which point it is often too late to find enough money even with the possibility of relying on money from friends and family. How can we shift attitudes and norms towards health saving so that people save more in advance?

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The Mood Study

Research Question: Can momentary discomfort, when caused by stepping out of one’s comfort zone to try new things, lead to greater long-term well-being?

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Employee Health and Wellness

Research Question: How can we get employees to make healthier choices? Specifically, what can be done to increase employee participation rates in health and wellness programs?

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