Science

Good News! You're Not an Automaton

Why a nudge will never be a push.

She's going to pick whatever bread she likes.

Photographer: Staton R. Winger/Bloomberg

A good nudge is like a GPS device: A small, low-cost intervention that tells you how to get where you want to go -- and if you don’t like what it says, you're free to ignore it. But when, exactly, will people do that? A new study sheds important light on that question, by showing the clear limits of nudging. Improbably, this research is also good news: It shows that when people feel strongly, it’s not easy to influence them to make choices that they won’t like.

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