As an editorial for Acta Psychologica Sinica’s special column, this paper provides a concise overview of the nudge concept and its progress. The necessity of the concept is analyzed, and the main methods and fields of application are summarized. The effects of the concept on the promotion of people’s health, wealth, and happiness are elucidated, and the related disputes are clarified. Several suggestions that may help researchers in carrying out nudge research are also derived. We briefly draw the outlines for several papers in this special column and discuss the outlook for how nudge research should begin in China with the goal of attracting psychologists to devote to nudge research.
Our current lifestyle is not sustainable. One way to increase sustainability is by developing greener technologies. Another, complementary way, is by altering people’s attitudes, habits, and behaviors. Here we discuss six techniques that aim to gently push or nudge people towards more pro-environmental choices and behaviors. These techniques range from ones that can be applied from a distance, e.g., techniques which could inform the construction of communication messages, to ones that involve changes in the context where the choice takes place. Therefore, the present review can be of interest to practitioners such as marketers, policymakers, and consumer representatives. For each technique, we discuss its theorized cognitive and/or emotional underpinnings. Furthermore, we identify gaps in the literature and ways in which future research could fill these gaps.
Evaluation mode is an important yet under-studied aspect of decision-making. All decisions are made in one of two evaluation modes or some mix of the two. One is joint evaluation (JE), in which different options are presented together and evaluated simultaneously. The other is single evaluation (SE), in which different options are presented separately, and each option is evaluated in isolation.
This article reviews existing literature on how JE and SE can lead to reversed preferences, with one option favored in JE and another option favored in SE, in domains including hiring, consumer choice, moral judgments and healthcare decisions. For example, in JE, a plain-looking but experienced job candidate would be favored over a good-looking but less-experienced job candidate, but in SE, the good-looking but less experienced candidate would be favored. We also review existing research on the “less is better” phenomenon-that in SE (but not in JE), a normatively less valuable option is judged more favorably than its more valuable alternative. For example, in SE (but not in JE), 7 oz. of ice cream served in a 5-oz. cup is valued more favorably than 8 oz. of ice cream served in a 10-oz. cup.
To interpret JE/SE preference reversals and the less-is-better effect, several explanations have been proposed, such as a want/should conflict, a within-category versus between-category comparison, the option as information model, and the dual-process model. The present review focuses on the general evaluability theory (GET), which ascribes JE/SE preference reversals and the less-is-better effect to attribute evaluability. According to GET, the evaluability of an attribute depends conjunctively on three factors: evaluation mode (JE versus SE), knowledge of the decision-maker about the attribute, and the inherent/learned nature of the attribute. Not only can GET explain JE/SE preference reversals and the less-is-better effect, it also explains many other effects, such as scope neglect, differences in risk preference between JE and SE, differences in time preference between JE and SE, misprediction of future hedonic experiences, and so on.
Understanding JE-SE differences and attribute evaluability also offers insight into how to improve decisions in contexts such as fundraising, pricing strategy, public service, and subjective well-being. |||The review suggests that evaluation mode (JE versus SE) is an important independent variable that influences a wide range of decisions in counterintuitive ways and thereby provides opportunities to design choice-architecture-based nudges to improve decisions. Yet despite its importance, evaluation mode has not been well-studied and therefore is a fertile ground for researchers to explore and develop.
Obesity is an important risk factor for many diseases. Consuming too much high-calorie food is one of the important factors that lead to obesity. Thus, it is important to investigate how to reduce high-calorie food consumption. The present study investigated the impact of health goal priming on high/low-calorie food consumption and the mediating role of affective forecast.
To test the hypotheses, three experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, a total of 40 participants were randomly divided into two conditions. One half looked at pictures of the discobolus to prime their health goal, while the other half looked at geometry pictures as a control group. Then, participants made a choice between a beef sandwich and a vegetable sandwich. The participants in the goal priming condition chose more vegetable sandwiches and fewer beef sandwiches than those of the control condition. A chi-square test showed that the difference was significant, χ 2(1) = 5.01, p = 0.025. Therefore, goal priming helps people to reduce high-calorie food choices and increase low-calorie food choices.
In Experiment 2, with a 2 (goal priming vs. control group) × 2 (high calorie vs. low calorie) between- subject design, we investigated the mediating role of affective forecast in a field experiment. The health goal was primed in the same way as in Experiment 1. In the low-calorie framing condition, the instructions mentioned that this new type of M&M contains low-calorie, highly rated, imported ingredients. In the high-calorie framing condition, participants were told that this new type of M&M contains high-calorie, highly rated, imported ingredients. An analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction between priming condition and calorie framing, F(1,76) = 8.37, p = 0.005. Mediation analysis showed that the affective forecast of chocolate mediated the impact of health goal priming on high/low-calorie chocolate consumption.
In Experiment 3, a total of 88 adults of a travel group were randomly divided into two buses. Participants in one bus were provided a menu with a picture of discobolus to prime their health goal, while those of the other bus were provided a menu with geometry pictures as a control group. Participants were asked to choose between cheese sandwich crackers and sugar-free chive crackers as snacks. Before ordering the snack, they first predicted how happy they would be after eating the two kinds of crackers. The results showed that participants in the goal priming condition chose more chive crackers than those in the control condition. A chi-square test showed that the difference was significant, χ 2(1) = 7.11, p = 0.008. Mediation analysis showed that the affective forecast of crackers mediated the impact of health goal priming on the choice of high/low-calorie crackers.
The present study investigated the impact of goal priming on high/low-calorie food consumption and the mediated role of affective forecast. The findings could help people to reduce high-calorie food consumption and increase low-calorie food consumption.
Anchoring effect refers to the phenomenon that a target estimation was influenced by the numerical anchor value in the way that the final judgment would be close to the anchor value. Previous studies have found that external anchor could improve ones' attitudes and behaviors that may promote their physical and mental health. However, studies about other anchor types were not being found in the literature.
Anchor values ??that are highly personally relevant can stimulate deep processing. The current study integrated anchor value with prevention science, conducted two on-site experiments that focused on the physical and mental health of older adults and adolescents, and explored design options of internal anchors and fine anchors and their effectiveness in improving outcomes.
Experiment 1 examined the effect of positive nostalgia on the emotional state and well-being of older adults. A two-factor mixed design was adopted. A positive nostalgic internal anchor (the number of positive reminiscences) was built through 10-week nostalgic story sharing. 80 senior citizens participated in 10 weeks’ interventions of compelling narrative life sharing (positive nostalgia condition) and collecting life stories (free nostalgia condition). The subjects shared two stories per week about different topics. The first experiment tested whether the positive nostalgia of internal anchors had any effect on positive emotions and happiness. The results showed that, the number of pleasant and inspirational stories (positive internal anchor) in positive nostalgia group was significantly higher than those in the free nostalgia group. The positive mood and well-being of the positive nostalgia group (intervention group) were significantly higher than those of the free nostalgia group (control).
Experiment 2 examined the influence of fine anchor on persistence of physical activity among middle school students. There were three study conditions: fine anchors, rough interval anchors and no anchors. According to their base line performance in plank and 2 minutes rope skipping, 180 adolescents were divided into 3 groups Individualized “motivation tips” were delivered before the second experiment. It was found that the self-reported persistence levels and improvement rates were higher among students in the fine anchor group than those of the other two groups. Results of comprehensive analysis showed that the designed internal anchors and fine anchors played an active role in promoting physical and mental health among older adults and adolescents.
The study provided evidence that self-generating internal anchor or fine anchor for individual promotes positive attitudes and behaviors on physical and mental health. A possible mechanism of the effect could be that the anchor values were personally relevant and could stimulate deep processing, which in turn triggered changes in feelings, emotions, or motives. Results of the study have implications on practical significance for improving the physical and mental health of older adults and adolescents and for increasing ways and methods to improve their health.
Environmental issues are currently of particular concern in the world. Thus, it is important to understand the processes that contribute to prudent long-term choices regarding the environment. To this end, it is important to study environmental intertemporal choice, especially the improvement of foresight in environmental time discounting.
The present research combined questionnaire-based, lab-based and field studies to investigate whether “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” decreased time discounting in environmental intertemporal choice. Study 1 probed the link between pregnancy and environmental intertemporal choice. Study 2 aimed to replicate the results from Study 1 by controlling for the confounding variables of the physiological state of pregnancy in a lab experiment. In Study 3, a priming paradigm was developed to test this hypothesis. Participants were instructed to indicate their degree of support for specific environmental policies after the benefits of the policy were described. The test materials were the same in the experimental and control groups with the exception that an additional phrase was included in the experimental condition: “To leave our children with blue sky, green earth, clear water, and a beautiful home”. Building on Study 3, Study 4 employed a similar nudge-like intervention to investigate the effects of “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” on the extent to which participants support a federal environmental policy and donation incentive for charitable organizations.
Study 1 indicated that pregnancy increased long-term thought in environmental intertemporal choice and decreased the temporal discounting rate through comparisons between pregnant and non-pregnant participants. Moreover, long-term thinking mediated the effect of pregnancy on the discounting rate in environmental intertemporal choice. Study 2 replicated the results of Study 1 regarding the links between the psychological priming of pregnancy and the discount rate in environmental intertemporal choice. The first two studies investigated whether natural pregnancy influenced the time discounting rate in environmental intertemporal choice. Based on these results, Study 3 tested the intervention hypothesis, which suggests that the subtle priming associated with the characteristics of pregnancy would influence the degree of support for long-term environmental policies. The results demonstrated that a simple prime that referred to “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” increased long-term thinking in intertemporal choice. Importantly, we produced similar nudging effects in Study 4 and showed that “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” increased the donation incentive towards a charity that aimed to improve the environment of China.
The results from our four studies provide consistent evidence that “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” decreased myopic behaviour in environmental intertemporal choice. These results are crucial for the design of nudge interventions that improve the long-term interests of both individuals and collectives while persevering the freedom of individual choice. Furthermore, this research also sheds light on the theoretical attributions to underlying intertemporal models and the effects of the physiological state of pregnancy on choice.
The global challenge of organ shortage has grown severe in China because of its large population base. To explore the possible means of solving the serious gap caused by demand imbalance, this study attempts to draw lessons from psychological effects, such as default option effect and choice architecture to improve the overall rates of organ donation and number of organs donated. Specifically, we investigated the influence of the organ donation system and registry form design on organ donor registry participation by conducting three online surveys among college students in China.
In Study 1, we compared the organ donation rate of people with a Chinese cultural background under the “opt-in” and “opt-out” systems. The results were consistent with those of foreign studies that the organ donation rate under the “opt-out” system was significantly higher than that under the “opt-in” system. To examine the optimal design of registry forms under these systems, Study 2 compared the organ donation rates under the organ donation registry forms of different countries/regions between these systems. In the “opt-in” system, we selected Japan, Texas (USA), and New York (USA), whereas we selected Cyprus and Wales in the “opt-out” system. The organ donation rates of countries/regions under the “opt-out” system did not show any significant differences although they were higher than those of countries/regions under the “opt-in” system. However, Japan (which uses the “rejection response mode” in its registry form) shows a higher organ donation rate than the other countries/regions under the “opt-in” system and even features the same level compared with the countries/regions under the “opt-out” system. To investigate the possible effect of the response mode on the organ donation registry form, we designed a “selection response mode” version of the registry form as the manipulated contrast of the “rejection response mode” and found that both the rate of willingness to donate and the number of donated organs were higher in the rejection response mode than those in the selection response mode.
Study 3 mainly focuses on the number of donated organs. We manipulated the response mode and other possible factors in organ donation, namely, the influence on the appearance of donors and the presentation order of organs. Consistent with those of Study 2, the results of Study 3 indicated that using the rejection response mode in registry forms considerably boosted the number of donated organs. Moreover, presenting the organs with the lowest influence on the appearance of donors in an ascending order can reach the highest number of donated organs in rejection response modes.
In sum, these results demonstrate that the “opt-out” system and response mode can effectively promote the organ donation behavior in China. Therefore, policymakers may consider the following suggestions to improve the organ donation rates in China: changing its current “opt-in” organ donation system to the “opt-out” system; or, under the current “opt-in” organ donation system, adopting the rejection response mode in registry forms and presenting the organs with the lowest influence on the appearance of donors first.
Numerous studies showed that music mode and lamplight color impact audiences’ emotions. It’s generally accepted that major-mode, Chinese ancient Gong-mode and red light are associated with excited and vigorous emotions. Minor-mode, Chinese ancient Yu-mode, and blue and green light have characteristics of calm and contented emotion. Furthermore, recent studies indicated that both music modes and lamplight colors induce emotional changes. Beyond exploring the effects of two emotional stimuli on emotional induction, this study validated the consistency of emotional information of the stimuli with the two emotional stimulations.
Participants (total 41) were divided into two groups randomly to take part in different experiments. In the first experiment, three lamplight colors and four music modes were stimulated on 21 participants to study their subjective perception. Simultaneously, the EEG data of participants were collected. In the second experiment, dual-factor stimulations with three lamplight colors and four music modes were applied on 20 participants to evaluate their subjective perception, with the EEG data collected. Before each experiment, every participant was asked to execute two moderately difficult calculations to clear their minds. The average frequency band power of EEG was calculated and the subjective emotional evaluation was done at the end of each experiment.
The first experiment showed that major-mode and Chinese ancient Gong-mode tunes were positive emotional stimuli; on the contrary, minor-mode and Chinese ancient Yu-mode tunes were negative. The arousal degree of tri-color light (red, blue, and green) is greater than the minor-mode tune. The second experiment revealed that red lamplight color inhibited the effect of tune mode on emotional potency. Despite the fact that blue and green lamplight colors promoted the effect of Western tune mode, they inhibited that of Oriental tune mode. The study concluded as below. (1) It is feasible to study the effects of different tuned modes and lamplight colors on human emotion using qEEG technology. (2) Western major mode tunes, Chinese ancient Gong-mode tunes and green lamplight color have positive effects on the human mood emotion. However, Western minor mode tunes, Chinese ancient Yu-mode tunes and red light color have negative effects on the human emotion. (3) Tune mode and lamplight color have interactive effects on human emotion, which can strengthen emotion under the condition of positive correlation and vice versa. (4) Tune mode is the main factor for affecting human emotion when the two factors of tune mode and lamplight color act as stimuli simultaneously. However, lamplight color also has significant contributions and differences for emotional effect when the two factors are combined. (5) The emotional information of the stimulating tune is consistent with the induced emotions. The mood labels of the lamplight colors are generally related to the responded emotions.
For humans, both face and body play important roles in conveying emotional information. Previous studies showed that body postures rather than faces could provide more valid information about valence in the recognition of victory and defeat. The present study aimed to compare the processing of the faces and the bodies of victory and defeat.
The current study employed emotional expressions of Chinese professional players reacting to victory or defeat to compare the processing of emotional faces and body postures using behavioral and ERP recordings. 80 images (40 winners and 40 losers) were obtained through Google and Baidu image search, using the search keyword “reacting to winning a point” or “reacting to losing a point”, intersected with “tennis” or “table tennis” or “badminton”. In Experiment 1, the behavioral experiment asked participants to rate the valence and intensity of the faces and the body postures on a 9 point scale (valence: 1-the most negative and 9-the most positive; intensity: 1-the least intense and 9-the most intense). In Experiment 2, participants were asked to determine the type of emotion (neutral, happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust) expressed by the faces and the body postures. In the ERP study (Experiment 3), participants were instructed to indicate the valence (positive or negative) of the faces and the body postures.
The behavioral results showed that body postures rather than faces facilitated the discrimination between victory and defeat. Compared to body postures, the faces were more complex and involved a variety of facial expressions. The behavioral result of the ERP study showed that body postures rather than faces could provide more valid information about valence. The ERP results showed that the emotional information of body postures could be detected earlier than faces, as reflected by larger N170 amplitudes for winning body postures than losing body postures. However, there was no significant N170 difference between winning faces and losing faces. The emotional effect of faces was reflected by the EPN component, and losing faces elicited larger negative EPN amplitudes than winning faces. On the contrary, winning body postures elicited larger negative EPN amplitudes than losing body postures. Moreover, victory elicited larger LPP amplitudes than defeat under both face and body conditions.
These data suggest that the higher rate of discrimination between winning body postures and losing body postures is possibly due to the stimulus evaluation and categorization of body postures at multiple stages of processing. It is hoped that the current results regarding the emotional processing of facial and body expressions will help us understand the mechanisms of the emotional brain.
Recent years have witnessed the increasing prevalence of celebrity endorsement as advertising in China. The reason for this increased prevalence is that celebrity endorsements can boost the credibility and attractiveness of advertisements and therefore lead to increased profits for companies in most cases. In the social media environment, the influence of celebrities is amplified remarkably by the following of their fans. Previous studies have demonstrated that the effect of celebrity endorsements is mostly positive or self-enhancing. However, this effect does not always apply in social media platforms. For example, several celebrity endorsements actually contain self-deprecating content. In this study, we explored the role of self-enhancement and self-deprecation in celebrity endorsement effectiveness and examined their impact on consumers’ intent to share. Furthermore, we introduce the moderating effect of product types, namely, whether a product is utilitarian or hedonic.
To obtain preliminary insights, we collected 86 micro-blog posts with celebrity endorsements and coded them as either self-enhancing or self-deprecating posts. Analysis of secondary data showed that consumers shared numerous self-enhancing celebrity endorsement posts with regard to hedonic products, and consumers shared many self-deprecating celebrity endorsement posts with regard to utilitarian products.
Subsequently, we conducted laboratory studies to validate our hypothesis further. First, we performed a robust test on the effect of different celebrity endorsements on consumers’ intent to share. The results of the two types of celebrity endorsements (self-enhancing and self-deprecating) indicated the effect of self-deprecating celebrity endorsement on consumers’ intent to share was stronger than that of self-enhancing celebrity endorsement. Second, we examined the interactive effect of celebrity endorsements and product types and the mediating role of social influence. As expected, the 2 (celebrity endorsements: self-enhancing vs. self-deprecating) × 2 (product types: utilitarian vs. hedonic) subject design experiment suggested that participants in the utilitarian product condition were willing to share self-deprecating content, and this effect was caused by informative influence. On the contrary, participants in the hedonic product condition were willing to share self-enhancing content, and this effect was driven by normative influence.
Our research contributes to literature on celebrity endorsement in social media by focusing on consumers’ sharing intention rather than purchase behavior. First, this research explores whether self-deprecating celebrity endorsement can strengthen consumers’ intent to share or not. Second, this study provides a new perspective on celebrity endorsement by differentiating its content into two types: self-enhancing and self-deprecating. Third, this research examines the impact of product difference in celebrity advertisement. It reveals that consumers in different product conditions might share different celebrity endorsement advertisements. Finally, we demonstrated the mediation mechanism of the interaction between celebrity endorsement and product type by examining consumers’ sharing intention. Aside from this empirical demonstration, our research also presents many useful implications for companies with regard to the design of celebrity endorsement.
Chinese scholar Zhi Quan Ju Shi [执权居士] originally created Xin Li (Xue) [心理(学)] as the name of psychology or mental philosophy in 1872, which was earlier than Japanese scholar Amane Nishi’s usage of Xin Li Xue [心理学] in 1875. This paper argues that late Qing Dynasty’s Chi Ping Sou [持平叟], Zhi Quan Ju Shi [执权居士], Chi Ping Zi [持平子], Chi Ping Ju Shi [持平居士] and Gong Dao Lao Ren [公道老人] were the same person, whose real name was Zhu Fengjia [朱逢甲]. A well-educated scholar, Zhu had rich knowledge in Chinese traditional culture. Meanwhile, through helping a few Western missionaries to establish a newspaper in China, Zhu had contacts with western disciplines and gained a sense of modern knowledge system. In an 1871 article on anthroposophy, Zhu used the words Xin Zhi Li Yu Shi [心之理与事] the laws and facts of the mind) from a perspective of psychology, laying out the basis for his coinage of the term Xin Li Xue. The interaction between Chinese and Western knowledge constituted the cultural context in which Zhu created the term Xin Li Xue. However, Zhu’s coinage of the term did not have the same degree of influence as the one by Amane Nishi.
During the late Qing Dynasty, with the import of psychological knowledge, Western missionaries and Chinese intellectuals created the following names for the subject: Ling Hun Xue [灵魂学] used by W. Lobscheid in 1868 and E. Faber in 1873. Xin Ling Xue [心灵学] used by C.W. Mateer in 1876 and Yan Yongjing in 1889; Xin Cai Xue [心才学] and Xin Xing Xue [心性学] by Yan Yongjing 1882. Xin Xing Xue was also used by J. Edkins in 1886. Xing Qing Xue [性情学] was used by H. B. Loch in 1886. Xin Xue [心学] was used by Yan Fu [严复] in 1895. Xing Xue [性学] was used by W. A. P. Martin in 1898. Ling Xue [灵学] was used by D. Z. Sheffield in 1890s. Although these subject names were not adopted by later Chinese intellectuals, they were all products of Chinese traditional culture encountering Western psychology. Of particular note was the non-elite intellectual Zhu Fengjia’s original creation of the term Xin Li Xue, as used in Chinese psychology and Japanese psychology today. This paper suggests that although non-elite Chinese intellectuals’ contribution were not huge and often ignored by subsequent generations, they nonetheless offered wisdom to some important events, such as the coinage of the term Xin Li Xue.