COURTESY YURI MATROSOVICH
Many of society's most vexing problems - the rise of antibiotic resistance, the current epidemic of obesity, armed conflicts that leave both sides worse off - have their roots in the suboptimal and often puzzling actions of individuals. At times conflicting self-interests power such behavior; the best solutions from a collective perspective fail due to the nature of individual payoffs.1 In other situations, however, people simply fail to do what is best even for themselves, in the face of good, freely available information. Despite stern warnings and mountains of strong evidence, some people continue to take up smoking. They overeat, overindulge in alcohol, and refuse to wear seatbelts or bicycle helmets. Informed by their doctors that antibiotics will do nothing for a viral infection, people...
McDonnell Social Norms Group