Cognitive Biases, Heuristics and Decision-Making in Design for Behaviour Change
19 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 5, 2012
Much human behaviour can be seen as decision-making, and so understanding and influencing those decision-making processes could be an important component in design for behaviour change. This paper examines the 'heuristics and biases' approach to modelling decision-making, and attempts to extract insights which are relevant to designers working to influence user behaviour for social or environmental benefit -- either by exploiting biases, or helping to counter those which lead to undesirable behaviour. Areas covered include a number of specific cognitive biases in detail, and the alternative perspective of Gigerenzer and others, who contend (following Herbert Simon) that many heuristics potentially leading to biases are actually ecologically rational, and part of humans' adaptive responses to situations. The design relevance of this is briefly considered, and implications for designers are summarised.
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