Cass R. Sunstein
Other affiliations: Brigham Young University, Indiana University, University of California, Berkeley ...read more
Bio: Cass R. Sunstein is an academic researcher from Harvard University. The author has contributed to research in topic(s): Supreme court & Constitution. The author has an hindex of 117, co-authored 787 publication(s) receiving 57639 citation(s). Previous affiliations of Cass R. Sunstein include Brigham Young University & Indiana University.
Papers published on a yearly basis
08 Apr 2008
TL;DR: In Nudge as discussed by the authors, Thaler and Sunstein argue that human beings are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder and make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.
Abstract: A groundbreaking discussion of how we can apply the new science of choice architecture to nudge people toward decisions that will improve their lives by making them healthier, wealthier, and more free Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nobel laureate Richard Thaler and legal scholar and bestselling author Cass Sunstein explain in this important exploration of choice architecture that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself. In Nudge, Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new take-from neither the left nor the right-on many hot-button issues, for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging and provocative books to come along in many years.
New York University1, University of Chicago2, Mackenzie Presbyterian University3, Middlesex University4, University of Kent5, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń6, Harvard University7, Yale University8, Stanford University9, Northwestern University10, University of Sussex11, Utrecht University12, University of California, San Diego13, University of Maryland, College Park14, McGovern Institute for Brain Research15, University of Queensland16, University of Michigan17, California Institute of Technology18, Lehigh University19, University of Regina20, University of Oregon21, Ohio State University22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology23, University of St Andrews24, University of Cambridge25, University of British Columbia26, University of Illinois at Chicago27, University of California, Berkeley28, Carleton University29, VU University Amsterdam30, Cornell University31
30 Apr 2020-Nature Human Behaviour
TL;DR: Evidence from a selection of research topics relevant to pandemics is discussed, including work on navigating threats, social and cultural influences on behaviour, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping.
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. Here we discuss evidence from a selection of research topics relevant to pandemics, including work on navigating threats, social and cultural influences on behaviour, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping. In each section, we note the nature and quality of prior research, including uncertainty and unsettled issues. We identify several insights for effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight important gaps researchers should move quickly to fill in the coming weeks and months.
TL;DR: The rise of fake news highlights the erosion of long-standing institutional bulwarks against misinformation in the internet age as discussed by the authors. But much remains unknown regarding the vulnerabilities of individuals, institutions, and society to manipulations by malicious actors.
Abstract: The rise of fake news highlights the erosion of long-standing institutional bulwarks against misinformation in the internet age. Concern over the problem is global. However, much remains unknown regarding the vulnerabilities of individuals, institutions, and society to manipulations by malicious actors. A new system of safeguards is needed. Below, we discuss extant social and computer science research regarding belief in fake news and the mechanisms by which it spreads. Fake news has a long history, but we focus on unanswered scientific questions raised by the proliferation of its most recent, politically oriented incarnation. Beyond selected references in the text, suggested further reading can be found in the supplementary materials.
TL;DR: Group polarization has many implications for economic, political, and legal institutions as discussed by the authors, including juries, legislatures, courts, and regulatory commissions, and it is closely connected to current concerns about the consequences of the Internet; it also helps account for feuds, ethnic antagonism and tribalism.
Abstract: In a striking empirical regularity, deliberation tends to move groups, and the individuals who compose them, toward a more extreme point in the direction indicated by their own predeliberation judgments. For example, people who are opposed to the minimum wage are likely, after talking to each other, to be still more opposed; people who tend to support gun control are likely, after discussion, to support gun control with considerable enthusiasm; people who believe that global warming is a serious problem are likely, after discussion, to insist on severe measures to prevent global warming. This general phenomenon -- group polarization -- has many implications for economic, political, and legal institutions. It helps to explain extremism, "radicalization," cultural shifts, and the behavior of political parties and religious organizations; it is closely connected to current concerns about the consequences of the Internet; it also helps account for feuds, ethnic antagonism, and tribalism. Group polarization bears on the conduct of government institutions, including juries, legislatures, courts, and regulatory commissions. There are interesting relationships between group polarization and social cascades, both informational and reputational. Normative implications are discussed, with special attention to political and legal institutions.
TL;DR: In this paper, a broad vision of how law and economics analysis may be improved by increased attention to insights about actual human behavior is presented, including cognitive and motivational problems of both citizens and government.
Abstract: Economic analysis of law usually proceeds under the assumptions of neoclassical economics. But empirical evidence gives much reason to doubt these assumptions; people exhibit bounded rationality, bounded self-interest, and bounded willpower. This article offers a broad vision of how law and economics analysis may be improved by increased attention to insights about actual human behavior. It considers specific topics in the economic analysis of law and proposes new models and approaches for addressing these topics. The analysis of the article is organized into three categories: positive, prescriptive, and normative. Positive analysis of law concerns how agents behave in response to legal rules and how legal rules are shaped. Prescriptive analysis concerns what rules should be adopted to advance specified ends. Normative analysis attempts to assess more broadly the ends of the legal system: Should the system always respect people's choices? By drawing attention to cognitive and motivational problems of both citizens and government, behavioral law and economics offers answers distinct from those offered by the standard analysis.
01 Jan 2006
TL;DR: Probability distributions of linear models for regression and classification are given in this article, along with a discussion of combining models and combining models in the context of machine learning and classification.
Abstract: Probability Distributions.- Linear Models for Regression.- Linear Models for Classification.- Neural Networks.- Kernel Methods.- Sparse Kernel Machines.- Graphical Models.- Mixture Models and EM.- Approximate Inference.- Sampling Methods.- Continuous Latent Variables.- Sequential Data.- Combining Models.
01 Sep 1998-International Organization
TL;DR: The authors argue that norms evolve in a three-stage "life cycle" of emergence, cascades, and internalization, and that each stage is governed by different motives, mechanisms, and behavioral logics.
Abstract: Norms have never been absent from the study of international politics, but the sweeping “ideational turn” in the 1980s and 1990s brought them back as a central theoretical concern in the field. Much theorizing about norms has focused on how they create social structure, standards of appropriateness, and stability in international politics. Recent empirical research on norms, in contrast, has examined their role in creating political change, but change processes have been less well-theorized. We induce from this research a variety of theoretical arguments and testable hypotheses about the role of norms in political change. We argue that norms evolve in a three-stage “life cycle” of emergence, “norm cascades,” and internalization, and that each stage is governed by different motives, mechanisms, and behavioral logics. We also highlight the rational and strategic nature of many social construction processes and argue that theoretical progress will only be made by placing attention on the connections between norms and rationality rather than by opposing the two.
23 Apr 2011-Implementation Science
TL;DR: Interventions and policies to change behaviour can be usefully characterised by means of a BCW comprising: a 'behaviour system' at the hub, encircled by intervention functions and then by policy categories, and a new framework aimed at overcoming their limitations is developed.
Abstract: Improving the design and implementation of evidence-based practice depends on successful behaviour change interventions. This requires an appropriate method for characterising interventions and linking them to an analysis of the targeted behaviour. There exists a plethora of frameworks of behaviour change interventions, but it is not clear how well they serve this purpose. This paper evaluates these frameworks, and develops and evaluates a new framework aimed at overcoming their limitations. A systematic search of electronic databases and consultation with behaviour change experts were used to identify frameworks of behaviour change interventions. These were evaluated according to three criteria: comprehensiveness, coherence, and a clear link to an overarching model of behaviour. A new framework was developed to meet these criteria. The reliability with which it could be applied was examined in two domains of behaviour change: tobacco control and obesity. Nineteen frameworks were identified covering nine intervention functions and seven policy categories that could enable those interventions. None of the frameworks reviewed covered the full range of intervention functions or policies, and only a minority met the criteria of coherence or linkage to a model of behaviour. At the centre of a proposed new framework is a 'behaviour system' involving three essential conditions: capability, opportunity, and motivation (what we term the 'COM-B system'). This forms the hub of a 'behaviour change wheel' (BCW) around which are positioned the nine intervention functions aimed at addressing deficits in one or more of these conditions; around this are placed seven categories of policy that could enable those interventions to occur. The BCW was used reliably to characterise interventions within the English Department of Health's 2010 tobacco control strategy and the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence's guidance on reducing obesity. Interventions and policies to change behaviour can be usefully characterised by means of a BCW comprising: a 'behaviour system' at the hub, encircled by intervention functions and then by policy categories. Research is needed to establish how far the BCW can lead to more efficient design of effective interventions.
TL;DR: It is shown that emotional reactions to risky situations often diverge from cognitive assessments of those risks, and when such divergence occurs, emotional reactions often drive behavior.
Abstract: Virtually all current theories of choice under risk or uncertainty are cognitive and consequentialist. They assume that people assess the desirability and likelihood of possible outcomes of choice alternatives and integrate this information through some type of expectation-based calculus to arrive at decision. The authors propose an alternative theoretical perspective, the risk-as-feelings hypothesis, that highlights the role of affect experienced at the moment of decision making. Drawing on research from clinical, physiological, and other subfield of psychology, they show that emotional reactions to risky situations often drive behavior. The risk-as-feelings hypothesis is shown to explain a wide range of phenomena that have resisted interpretation in cognitive-consequentialist terms.
01 Sep 2003-American Psychologist
TL;DR: Determinants and consequences of accessibility help explain the central results of prospect theory, framing effects, the heuristic process of attribute substitution, and the characteristic biases that result from the substitution of nonextensional for extensional attributes.
Abstract: Early studies of intuitive judgment and decision making conducted with the late Amos Tversky are reviewed in the context of two related concepts: an analysis of accessibility, the ease with which thoughts come to mind; a distinction between effortless intuition and deliberate reasoning. Intuitive thoughts, like percepts, are highly accessible. Determinants and consequences of accessibility help explain the central results of prospect theory, framing effects, the heuristic process of attribute substitution, and the characteristic biases that result from the substitution of nonextensional for extensional attributes. Variations in the accessibility of rules explain the occasional corrections of intuitive judgments. The study of biases is compatible with a view of intuitive thinking and decision making as generally skilled and successful.