Digital Nudging

How Does the Design of Information Systems Inform, Change, or Influence Decision Making?

No choice is made in a vacuum, as there is no neutral way to present choices. For example, system designers have to decide to let users free choice or preselect options (and if so, where to set the default value). Presenting choices in certain ways – even unintended – can thus “nudge” people, or change their behavior in a predictable way, without forbidding any options.

Research at the Institute of Information Systems explores digital nudging to understand how the design of decision environments (such as websites) influences people’s choices. In particular, drawing on findings from behavioral science, the researchers test the effectiveness of “nudges,” i.e., small design modifications to Web sites, which can range from setting defaults to framing choice decisions.

The research results are made available to students, especially in the Master's programme Information Systems. The lecture “Decision Theory,” for example, covers basic concepts of both decision analysis and decision making, which provides a foundation to discuss how and why people systematically deviate from rational decision making.