“A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions… [S]mall and apparently insignificant details can have major impacts on people’s behavior… Good architects realize that although they can’t build the perfect building, they can make some design choices that will have beneficial effects…“ – Nudge, Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein
As a behavioral scientist, I’m always seeking to understand the barriers people face when pursuing their goals. My aim is to find ways to reduce those barriers and help people achieve their objectives. We all have experienced how difficult it is to commit to exercising more, eating better, being better family members, better friends, better citizens, reading more, etc. New year’s resolutions are packed with ambitious and often long-standing hopes for change. Behavioral science helps us understand why change is hard and provides people with tools to reduce the intention-action gap that is part of our daily lives.
Cognitive biases are an essential subject of study in behavioral science. They indicate why we behave as we do in certain situations and why we are not always rational and coherent in our decisions. We often act following “rules of thumb” or heuristics as we behavioral scientists call them. Heuristics allow our brains to save energy and lead to cognitive biases. The planning fallacy, optimism bias, projection bias, and temporal discounting – all very popular cognitive biases – lie at the heart of why we don’t accomplish our new year’s resolutions. They are also barriers we all face when we want to be kinder, happier, or healthier. But what are these biases, and why can Beni of KindWorks.AI help us overcome our own biases in our intent to be Kinder?
The planning fallacy is the tendency we have to schedule unrealistically little time to complete our future projects. The optimism bias leads us to believe we are more likely to achieve things than others and that we won’t face adverse events on our way. Therefore, we will be capable of doing everything we plan and want. The projection bias explains why we make plans based on what we think and feel in the present, without considering that we may feel differently in the future. Therefore, we don’t acknowledge that tiredness, stress, or sadness can get in the way, making us want to do something different from what we planned before. Temporal discounting bias shows that we tend to choose immediate rewards over long-term gains. That is why making efforts in the present is so tricky, even if we know they will bring big rewards in the future.
At KindWorks.AI, we understand the biases and significant barriers that we as individuals encounter when wanting to change our Kindness habits. Doing regular Acts of Kindness might at first seem complex or time-consuming. That is why we created Beni – our empathic, friendly and fun cloud-based AI agent that connects with you in the channel you already use (e.g., Slack, WhatsApp, MS Teams, etc.). Beni uses simple yet powerful behavioral change tools that make your Kindness Journey easy, joyful, and inspiring, while seamlessly facilitating (Kindness) habit change.
On an easy-to-use interactive platform we combine edutainment, gamification, customizable Kindness Challenges, and reminders with Artificial Intelligence. All of this helps our users reduce the impact of their biases and, therefore, enables them to accomplish their Kindness goals. We put behavioral science at our users’ service to live happier, healthier lives and to deepen their connections with others.
Being Kinder is a goal most of us have, and most of us have experienced the enormous satisfaction that comes with doing Acts of Kindness. However, in everyday life many of us find it hard to accomplish our Kindness goals. If you also want to grow your Kindness habits, I invite you to join us. With Beni right by your side, making Acts of Kindness a part of your daily life is now easier than ever before. Our Acts of Kindness are easy to do, mostly free or inexpensive and require almost no to little time. Try for yourself and experience that life-changing power of Kindness!
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