Designing the decision-making environment through the way we prompt, structure, or frame information to harness cognitive biases has a strong influence on behavior.

Principles & Strategies

Direct attention

  • Make desired behavior the default option
  • Make desired behavior salient to direct attention to it

Simplify messages and decisions

  • Streamline complex processes (without changing major costs or benefits)
  • Provide decision-aids for behaviors with many steps or options

Use timely moments and prompts

  • Target moments of transition and habit formation
  • Provide prompts and reminders about behavior

Facilitate planning and goal setting

  • Support implementation intentions for doing the behavior
  • Use commitment devices to limit future decisions


Use choice architecture in a way that support’s people goals as much as possible. People are very sensitive to manipulation and may respond poorly to feeling that someone is trying to control their actions. Choice architecture is separate from any of the ‘common’ levers in that a) it does not eliminate choices, b) it does not change the incentives or disincentives of doing a behavior, and c) it goes beyond giving factual information. Choice architecture works because of the reliance on cognitive biases, habits, routines, etc.

Buoys serve as salient reminders and markers of no-take fishing zones.