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CA government using behavioral science to ‘nudge’ for better civic behavior




Brittany Ortiz (C) and Jaimie Waxman (2nd L) and other high school students look at the signature of Florida Governor Rick Scott on Florida Senate Bill 52, after he signed the legislation to ban texting while driving.
Brittany Ortiz (C) and Jaimie Waxman (2nd L) and other high school students look at the signature of Florida Governor Rick Scott on Florida Senate Bill 52, after he signed the legislation to ban texting while driving.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Forget public service announcements and giant freeway billboards, the government is now taking a page from the social sciences to influence our behavior.

It’s called “nudging” and uses tenets of the academic field of behavioral science to effect changes in how we act.

President Obama is a fan of the effort and has issued an executive order calling federal agencies to embrace the use of “behavioral science insights” to “better serve the American people.”

Locally, California’s Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) is also a believer. Earlier this month, he co-wrote an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle explaining how California can better use “nudging” to help Californians cut down on texting while driving, and to get us to go out and vote.

Here’s to explain the concept is Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters, whose column this week looks at the phenomenon.

Guest:

Dan Walters, long-time columnist for the Sacramento Bee. His column this week is titled, “Politicians advocate ‘nuding’ to influence how we act’