Tagged: social psychology

Nudging might be sexy, but it isn’t enough.

Last week I went to a workshop in London about nudging, titled “Silver Bullets Need A Careful Aim. Dilemmas in applying behavioural insights”. It was very interesting, and my gratitude goes out to the organisers who put together a really interesting day focused on the ethics and effectiveness of ‘Nudge’, which, seven years after Thaler and Sunstein’s book of the same name was published, still seems to be capturing the imagination of academics, marketers and policy-makers. (If you have no...

The Potential of Epigenetics for Sociology

A careful understanding of epigenetic mechanisms allows sociologists to include a new biological perspective into research designs – when it is incorporated carefully and not used casually or blindly as a deus ex machina explanatory device that is. Epigenetics provides us with one of several “mechanisms by which social influences become embodied” (Kuzawa and Sweet 2008: 2). A promising place for sociologists to enter into this research or use it fruitfully is to examine how social environments and inequalities become embodied...

election day and attributing blame

By Dena T. Smith In elections, we determine who to vote for via a number of factors: party affiliation, the economy, the character of the candidate, advertising, etc. It’s a complicated process. One key force in determining the outcome of elections is who is attributed responsibility for both the pitfalls and promise of a given state of the nation, state, city or even district.   The process of attribution, generally explored by social psychologists, and usually used to describe blame...

Health Care Reform? If it’s not too “costly.”

By Dena T. Smith Health care reform is in the foreground of the American political landscape. Politicians in favor of transformation face staunch opposition and must convince the public and their fellow representatives in congress of both the imminent need and potential effectiveness of a major overhaul.  Classical studies on altruistic behavior inform us that actions aimed at helping others, such as supporting health care reform, are more likely when we experience empathy for the person(s) in need. Estimates as to how many...