Using People’s Irrationality To Do Good 2

By Professor Leslie John, Harvard Business School

Identifying effective obesity treatment is both a clinical challenge and a public health priority. Can monetary incentives stimulate weight loss? Leslie John presents a study that examines different economic incentives for weight loss during a 16 week intervention.

Leslie John presented at the “The Science of Getting People to Do Good” research briefing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, co-sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation.


  1. are external incentives for behavior change just replacing one addiction with another? i haven’t watched the video yet, so perhaps she addresses this?

  2. Reblogged this on Opinion: Peace and commented:
    Very interesting on many levels. I’m fascinated by the psychology of decisions and motivation, and I immediately thought of influencing social, economic and ecological behaviours in this way, and I picked up a nugget or two that may prove useful in the dojo, but as the video went on I became increasingly uneasy… I’ve always assumed that the purpose of studying decision errors and biases was to educate humanity about itself and point towards a truly rational way of managing life. Utilising them to enforce ‘good’ behaviour (who says it’s ‘good’ anyway?) smacks ever so slightly of the Ludovico technique to me.

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