Christopher Graves is the president and founder of the Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science in Washington, D.C. He’s done work concerning people being hesitant to take vaccines. This is certainly a current topic, since various polls show up to half of North Americans aren’t willing to take the coming Covid vaccines. Some of them worry that corners have been cut since these vaccines have been developed so quickly. Attitudes centre on both effectiveness and safety.
To solve this problem, Graves recommends … a lottery!
In behavioral science, almost nothing works as well as lotteries to incentivize behavior, for a lot of reasons. People overestimate their chance of winning (optimism bias) and prefer $5 of lottery tickets to $5 cash because of the asymmetry of the cost versus the large payout … Why not enter each person who gets vaccinated into an exclusive lottery? “Get a shot to get a shot at a million.” Make it easy, make it fun, make it rewarding.
I smiled as I read Graves’ words. “Why not, indeed? Worth a try.” But then …
The way our brains work, we just love lotteries.
Wait a minute. I don’t love lotteries. I wonder if that says something important about me.
In the interest of thorough research, I scoured the Internet, and found “Ten Surprising Things Successful People Like”. Unsure if I really wanted to be “successful”, I read the article. A few of the assertions did resonate with me, such as “Helping those who need and deserve it” and “Quiet time”. However, there were things I didn’t like:
1. Working my tail off (to the tune of 60-hour weeks)
2. Control (squeezing until you say “Uncle!”)
3. Mundane hobbies (such as building models or playing cards)
4. Winning (I get to be king of the mountain, with all of you looking up at me)
5. Giving advice (You need my wisdom because you don’t have much)
This human being doesn’t want those things
Perhaps it’s true that within the North American population of 370 million souls I am in the minority. That’s fine. My eyes do not go wide with the possibility of winning a jackpot or being better than you (smarter, wealthier, more enlightened …) All this comparison stuff doesn’t ring my chimes. I don’t care what other people like. I have a Bruce song to sing.