The Effects of Nudges: One-Shot Only? Exploring the Temporal Spillover Effects of a Default Nudge

Merije Van Rookhuijzen*, Emely De Vet, Marieke A. Adriaanse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Nudges, such as defaults, are generally found to be effective in guiding immediate behavioural decisions. However, little is known about whether the effect of a nudge can be lasting, meaning that it spills over to subsequent similar choices without the presence of a nudge. In three experiments, we explored the temporal spillover effects of a default nudge. The results of Experiments 1 (N = 1,077) and 2 (N = 1,036) suggest that nudging participants into completing a longer questionnaire affected their decision for the same behaviour a day later without the presence of a nudge. However, nudging participants into a healthier food choice in Experiment 3 (N = 969) did not result in such a temporal spillover effect. The results indicated that participants' change in attitude towards the nudged behaviour may partly explain the temporal spillover effects. These findings suggest that for some, but not all behaviours, default nudges may have the potential to yield temporal spillover effects and warrant a further investigation of boundary conditions and facilitators of the spillover effects of nudges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number683262
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2021


  • choice architecture
  • default
  • food choice
  • nudge
  • prosocial behaviour
  • temporal spillover


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