"Nudge" policies are spreading across the globe because they supposedly offer a less expensive and more effective way to get people to make the "right" decisions. In the original formulation, such decisions are defined as those that people would like to have made, had they not been hobbled and blinkered at the time by irresistible irrationality.
The game is an example of a hot trend: The gamification of many aspects of life that used to be addressed by lectures, pamphlets, informational videos and the like.
Data-mongering is how Americans try to explain or control someone's actions. And yet, statistics about people in general, or about some category of people, tell you nothing certain about any one individual.
David Berreby is the author of "Us and Them: The Science of Identity." He has written about human behavior and other science topics for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Smithsonian, The New Republic, Nature, Discover, Vogue and many other publications. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Paris, a Science Writing Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory, a resident at Yaddo, and in 2006 was awarded the Erving Goffman Award for Outstanding Scholarship for the first edition of "Us and Them." David can be found on Twitter at @davidberreby and reached by email at david [at] davidberreby [dot] com.