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No Need to Reinvent the Nudge

A Boston Globe article explains how “positive deviance” — a way to change behavior by using “nudges” that already exist in a community, rather than imposing them from the outside — substantially decreased malnutrition in a Vienamese village: researchers observed children who looked more nourished than others, found that their families were feeding them crabs — considered a low-class food — and encouraged neighbors to follow the family’s good example. The method has also worked in hospitals, in place of extensive outside educational campaigns, to reduce infections from bacteria by, for example, applauding and encouraging imitation of nurses who boldly remind doctors to wash their hands. [%comments]