ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (4): 437-449.

• Special Column: Behavioral decision-making is nudging China toward the overall revitalization •

### Accept or reject?The nudge effect of response options on making a balanced choice between enhancement and enrichment classes

LIU Jun1,2,ZHANG Zhen1,2,SUN Yan2,3,HAN Bu-Xin1,2,LU Qin4,LIU Ping-Ping1,2()

1. 1 CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Beijing 100101, China
2 Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3 CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Beijing 100101, China
4 Department of Computing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
• Received:2018-08-14 Published:2019-04-25 Online:2019-02-22
• Contact: Ping-Ping LIU E-mail:liupp@psych.ac.cn

Abstract:

In recent years, extracurricular classes have always been hot topics of research in areas such as Education, Economics and Sociology. Taking extracurricular classes have become an important part of student lives. There are two types of curricula for students: (1) the enhancement classes which aim to improve the learning abilities and academic performance; (2) the enrichment classes which focus on developing the comprehensive abilities, such as interests and specialties. Recent studies have shown that enrichment classes of various kinds are much more popular than enhancement classes targeted for improvement of academic performances. Primary school students and their parents tend to choose enrichment classes which are more enjoyable than enhance classes which have long-term benefit academically. How can we achieve the balance in choosing between the two types of curricula? Guided by the theoretic framework of the Nudge Effect of the two response options - Accept and Reject, this work explores the task-type effect of accept and reject as different options to influence the selection of different types of classes through three experiments.

Experiment 1 observes the difference in class selection strategy categorized by generations as three groups (students/parents/grand-parents) of different families under the two response options. Experiment 2 observes the difference in class selection strategy by three generations of the same family under the two response options. The design and procedures of the two experiments are similar except participants invited under the laboratory scenario. It adopts a 2 (response options: accept/reject; between-subjects variable) × 2 (curricula types: enhancement classes / enrichment classes; within-subjects variable) × 3 (types of decision makers: primary school students / primary school parents / grandparents; between-subjects variable) mixed design. Results show that (1) people in the parent group tend to select more classes than that of both the student group and the grand-parent group; (2) all three groups tend to select more enrichment classes than academic enhancement classes no matter which response option is used; and (3) when comparing the two response options, all three groups tend to select more number of classes under the reject option. More specifically, under the reject option, people tend to select more enhancement classes relatively than that in the accept option. However, under the reject option, the differences between enrichment classes and enhancement classes are narrowed, which means the selection of enrichment classes and academic enhancement classes are more balanced under the reject option.

Experiment 3 is conducted as a field study to directly talk to people who are submitting applications for extracurricular classes to see whether the use of different response options can indeed influence their decision making on the spot. It adopts a 2 (response options: accept/reject; between-subjects variable) × 2 (curricula types: enhancement classes / enrichment classes; within-subjects variable) mixed design. Consistent with those results of Experiment 1 & 2, Experiment 3 shows that parents tend to select more classes in the rejection response condition than in the acceptance response condition. Participants also tend to select enrichment classes in both response conditions. However, their preference to enhancement classes in the rejection response condition was significantly higher than that in the acceptance response condition. All the three experiments show that the rejection response option has a significant boost to a more balanced selection of primary school parents.

This study successfully proved that the use of the reject option is also applicable to decision making strategies of child education. The result of this work can serve as a direct reference to both educators as well as student families when making choices on extracurricular classes.

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