What is Behavioral Science?

Behavioral Science is the study of human behavior, specifically how people make decisions. This looks at human emotion, social behavior and how the environment influences behavior and decision making.

Behavioral Science & Decision Making

People can often make what seems to be “irrational” decisions. In today's always-on world, many people make automatic decisions. When it comes to marketing, researchers have found that people base their decisions on simple rules of thumb. No matter what you're designing -- a landing page or a school cafeteria -- you are creating a choice architecture that will influence how people choose.

Influencing Decisions Through Choice Architecture

When it comes to influencing consumers, the use of behavioral science provides you with two significant tools: nudges and experiments.

Nudges are simple, practical tools that help consumers make better choices. A nudge is a small reminder that can help people make better choices and therefore lead to better decisions. Behavioral scientists have been using nudges to shape consumer choice for a long time.

Experiments are a vital tool in the scientific method. By observing a specific variable or behavior and changing another variable, we can establish baselines, isolate variables that change human behavior, and provide evidence that our new choice architecture is working.

Using Behavioral Science To Get More Predictable Results In Decision Making

If you can harness a better understanding of how and why people make decisions by understanding the psychological principles that are behind these “rules of thumb” (some of which you may not even have been aware of), then you can design better behavioral science experiments. This is especially advantageous over the traditional “Mad Men” approach of tossing ideas at the wall and praying that something sticks.

Applied behavioral science allows you to deploy solutions that are backed by evidence based data and quantifies the effect of interventions on human behavior.

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