Nudging and citizen science: The effectiveness of feedback in energy-demand management

Francesco Cappa, Federica Rosso, Luca Giustiniano, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nudging is a framework for directing individuals toward better behavior, both for personal and societal benefits, through heuristics that drive the decision-making process but without preventing any available choice. Considering the Grand Challenges that our society faces today, nudging represents an effective framework to tackle some of these pressing issues. In this work, we assessed the effectiveness of informational nudges in the form of detailed, customized feedback, within an energy-demand-management project. The project aligns energy production and demand, thereby reducing greenhouse gases and pollutant emissions to mitigate climate change. We also offered evidence that this kind of feedback is efficacious in involving individuals as citizen scientists, who volunteer their efforts toward the success of the environmentally-related aim of the project. The results of this research – based on surveys, electroencephalography measurements and online participation measures – indicate that feedback can be an effective tool to steer participants’ behavior under the libertarian paternalistic view of nudging, increase their motivation to contribute to citizen science, and improve their awareness about environmentally-related issues. In so doing, we provide evidence that nudging and citizen science can be jointly adopted toward the mitigation of pressing environmental issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110759
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Citizen science
  • Crowd
  • Electroencephalography
  • Energy-demand management
  • Grand challenges
  • Nudging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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