#ogilvychange, Yale University and the UK Cabinet Office: Perspectives on behavioural economics from Nudgestock 2013

Tom Bristow

The emerging science of ‘behavioural economics’ has become increasingly influential over the last few years. So much so that the Digital Shoreditch Conference – organised in London by Ogilvy – devoted an entire day of its schedule to the latest thinking in this area.

Behavioural economics is the science of identifying and attributing the underlying social, cognitive and emotional causes of human economic decisions. One of its key insights is that humans make most decisions without thinking about them. Instead, we act on impulse, and when presented with a range of choices we go for the safe option, more often than not. But when it comes to important decisions, such as choosing a house, we think it through. However, thinking hard consumes the body’s energy and tires us out. It would be inefficient to do it for every choice. So the mind mostly coasts on autopilot, waiting in readiness to tackle harder tasks.