Boris Johnson was secretly ‘nudged’ into wearing a facemask during the pandemic, according to the head of the government’s Behavioural Insights Team.
Published September 2018
The behavioural and social sciences are the future of public health. Evidence from behavioural science suggests that simple and easy ways of helping people to change their behaviour are the most effective. Whether it’s encouraging smokers to quit, increasing uptake of the NHS Health Check, making healthier food choices easier, or reducing the number of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions, this evidence can help in understanding and therefore influencing behaviour change that promotes health, prevents disease, and reduces health inequalities. We must reach and be meaningful to people in the lives that they are leading.
It is time for the public health system to advance the use of behavioural and social sciences, and for this purpose, PHE’s Behavioural Insights experts, working with many partners, have led the collaborative development of this comprehensive strategy – the first of its kind in the field.
How did we listen to that bonkers, ahem, advice with a straight face? I thought it was worth compiling a list of the 50 craziest measures
The collaboration between a major UK broadcaster and the Nudge Unit to promote one of the most controversial policies today is deeply alarming. The report, The Power of TV: Nudging Viewers to Decarbonise their Lifestyles, jointly published by BIT and Sky, shows little regard for the obligation imposed on broadcasters by Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code to maintain “due impartiality” across all their output, particularly when it comes to news and current affairs. It also neglects the requirement that broadcasters expose viewers to a wide range of different views when it comes to “matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy”.
A government research paper recommending people “shift dietary habits” towards plant-based foods has been hastily deleted.
The paper focuses on changing public behaviour to hit climate targets and also suggests promoting domestic tourism and portraying business travel as an “immoral indulgence”.
…In a chapter in the deleted document titled “Applications to Net Zero Policy”, under the subheading “Diet Changes”, researchers recommend following the example of the sugar levy with a tax on producers or retailers of “high-carbon foods” to incentivise “reformulation and diversification” towards more plant-based and local food types.