Emma Tieffenbach (University of Geneva) has posted On the Cost of Shame Comment on 'Nudging by Shaming, Shaming by Nudging' (Int J Health Policy Manag 2014; 3: 409-411) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In his editorial, Nir Eyal argues that a nudge can exploit our propensity to feel shame in order to steer us toward certain choices. We object that shame is a cost and therefore cannot figure in the apparatus of a nudge.
In his thought-provoking editorial, Nir Eyal shows that a nudge may be related to our propensity to feel shame in two different ways. A nudge may, firstly, promote certain choices by making others shameful. The fear of shame could, as Eyal illustrates, deter people from smoking in the area dedicated to their habit, from neglecting to take their pills in the presence of treatment observers, from going for a soda refill or from requesting to be treated by a senior staff member at the hospital. Having people choose option a can thus be achieved by associating option b with an experience of shamee. A nudge may, secondly, elicit guilt as a perverse effect. This is because the choice it promotes is the sort for which one remains fully responsible. This is arguably an appealing aspect of being nudged when things go well (do not we like to choose?). Not so in the contrary case, however. No mild consolation partly compensating for the fatality of a surgery will be available on consideration that one did not have any choice. Guilt will ensue.