Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"Decision-making styles and nudge effectiveness"

Universiteit Utrecht - Social, Health and Organizational Psychology

PhD Student
Femke de Boer

Denise de Ridder Promotor Utrecht University
Marleen Gillebaart Daily supervisor Utrecht University

1 September 2017 - 31 August 2021

NWO/Dutch Science Foundation


Nudges - modifications of the choice architecture that gently steer towards a particular choice - are of increasing interest to researchers and policy makers as a promising tool to improve food choice. In spite of the rising attention, most studies have only focused on the effectiveness of nudges instead of the underlying working mechanisms. Originally, the concept of nudging was based on insights from dual process theory, stating that behavior is controlled by two processes: automatic and reflective processes. Nudges aim to target automatic processes, including impulsive and habitual decisions. Currently, however, these two automatic decision-making styles are poorly understood, while they might hold important consequences for the effectiveness of nudging. Therefore, the aim of this research project is twofold. Firstly, we aim to examine the occurrence and characteristics of impulsive and habitual decisions in one of the most important point-of-choice settings in daily life: the supermarket. Secondly, we aim to use these insights to develop nudges that are adapted to impulsive and habitual decision-making styles. The results of this study will contribute to our understanding of the boundary conditions of nudging and will assist in promoting healthier food choice, ultimately reducing overweight and cardiometabolic risk.

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