Choice Architecture: Defaults, Sorting, Awareness of Nudges

Eric Johnson, Kellen Mrkva, Crystal Reeck

Not only do individuals make decisions between options based on the inherent qualities of those options, but the presentation of the options can also affect the decisions they make as well. Choice architecture is the practice of pushing individuals to choose a particular option by manipulating how the options are presented. Everything from options being selected by default to being placed at the top of a list to being hidden in a sublist can affect an individual's chance of choosing a particular option. Importantly, choice architecture interventions do not limit the options available to individuals--they simply change how those options are presented. In addition, different individuals may be affected by choice architecture to different degrees. An individual making a financial decision, for example, may be much more likely to acccept a defalt if they have little financial knowledge than if they have a lot. Along with defaults and sorting, we want to examine how aware people are that they are being influenced.