Daniella Zunda, Amanda Jakobsen, [No Value] Borup, Julie Anna Selma Østebo Weng & Bibi Saeeda Rahimi

Student thesis: Termpaper


Drawing on the perspectives of cognitive and existential psychology, the following paper examines the extent to which nudging threatens one's freedom and can be perceived as a manipulative intervention. The paper contains a review of some of the main points of criticism nudging has received since its emergence. The paper then analyzes a number of selected nudging initiatives through a framework which takes its starting point in cognitive psychology. The cognitive psychological theory we turn to is Dual Process Theory, and thus we make cognitive psychology one of the applications of psychological perspectives in the following discussion. An opposing psychological theory is existential psychology and the notion of free will and choice. We discuss these contradicting theoretical views against the points of criticism of nudging to determine the degree to which nudging operates by manipulation. Our results about whether nudging is manipulative prove to be inconclusive, because of the reductionist limitations of cognitive psychology and the matrix in use. Although, it can be said that some nudging interventions will always be positioned in a grey zone and that the experience of manipulation depends on the individual.

EducationsPsychology, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Undergraduate or graduate
Publication date18 Dec 2015


  • Nudging