Think Before You Send a Nudge Note

Culture and Behavior: Think Before You Nudge

nudge notes doctorBy: Robert Wright PhD Behaviorist

Behavior is what a person does, not what they think or what we think they think in sending a Nudge Note. Cultural and gender differences are influencers on behavior, but it is well-timed feedback through a Nudge Note that is the most powerful tool to shape behavior in a positive way.

We are a vast species that has spread out around the world. We adapted to our various environments and managed not to kill ourselves off.  We are two genders and are represented by physical pigmentation characteristics that we refer to as brown, black, yellow, Nudge Notes and Cultural Differencesred, and white.  Regardless of pigmentation or culture, all people take in nourishment by eating it.  With few exceptions we live 4 score years and we reproduce identically.  We live, we love, we work, we have our differences, we age, and we die.  When the heart stops beating, pigmentation and politics make no difference.  Until that time we behave and at times we misbehave, a time when a Nudge Note may be sent.  But, what is considered misbehavior in one culture is fully acceptable in another.

Cultures are rapidly coming together in this age of global migration. While we are a nation of immigrants our blended culture is more of a stew pot than a melting pot. “What’s the difference,” Nudge Notes and Cultural Differencesyou may ask?  A fondue takes multiple cheeses and melts them together into a single gooey mass that takes dark yellows and whites, ambers, and light yellows and produces a blended color with blended flavors.  The individual cheeses become as one.  In a stew the added vegetables and meats come together with various added spices to come up with a celebration of the various parts.  When you look into the stewpot you can still identify the carrots, peas, and potatoes, etc.   In both pots the whole is greater than the parts.  The common theme between the two recipes is the fact that the constituents have become one meal, consider this when preparing to sent a Nudge Note, is it constructive to the whole group involved, or a cultural complaint.

Shaping behavior through a Nudge Note is like cooking a stew. We may want the flavor that an Nudge Notes and Cultural Differencesonion brings or the heat that is found in a good pepper.  Preparing the onion or pepper can be a little “dicey” to begin with but once it is shaped and added to the pot it mellows a bit and you get the meal you wanted.

Our human ingredients come from Anglican, Hispanic, African, Eurasian, Native American, Polynesian, etc. roots and with those people comes their behaviors that reflect that culture. They are neither right nor wrong given the appropriate environment.  They are simply different behaviors.  They are what people do.   The “rightness” or “wrongness” of a behavior is defined in the various laws that have been developed on the thousands of years of human existence.  Many culture based behaviors are below the legal threshold but may be aggravating to people not familiar with the culture.  For those of us lacking familiarity with a particular culture centered behavior our first response deals with the “behavior’s” sanity. “Clearly,” we think, “No one in their right mind would not take a shower daily!”  Time for a Nudge Note?

Nudge Notes and Cultural DifferencesMy wife creates a layered stew that is absolutely wonderful. I don’t pretend to know how she does it but she layers each of the ingredients.  If, when the stew is served you don’t dig deeply into the pot you can end up with a plate full of peas surrounded by an amazing broth.  The bottom line is a plateful of peas.  Culture is a layered stew, think of this when deciding which Nudge Note to send in different circumstances.  We have a national existence that says who we are as a country and what our values are.  This is a diverse and somewhat confusing array of people and behaviors held together by the rule of law.  When a national disaster or threat is thrust upon us we behave as a nation. Nudge Notes and Cultural Differences

I have lived around the world and country and have come to fully appreciate the regional aspects of cultures.  The three years that I lived in Hawaii were different from the three years in Oklahoma and the three years in Washington State or the two years in Alabama.  There were variations on a common theme with some changes in religion, ethnic composition and articulation of our common English language.  Within each of these regions and our national existence there is not sufficient variation to lead to significant behavioral misunderstanding when sending a Nudge Note.  There is a gender layer that brings Nudge Notes and Cultural Differencesabout some differences in how behaviors are interpreted and, as always, there is the generation gap with the meanings of words changing and the subsequent misunderstandings. Education and corporate cultures round out the stew with gaps between education levels and those who work as employees in occupations and those who do not work outside of the home, or at all.  Consider the culture of the person you want to send the Nudge Note toNudge Notes and Cultural Differences.

That brings us to the complex nature of deciding whether to: 1. Read a Nudge Note and do nothing with it, 2. Read a Nudge Note and pick up a hint or two of how to manage a problem behavior, 3. Read a Nudge Note and send it while hoping for the best, or 4. Read and send a Nudge Note, look for changes in behavior from the person you sent it to and then reinforce the new behaviors. Of course if you go with option 4 you may blow your cover as the anonymous “Nudger”.

Nudge Notes and Cultural DifferencesThere is a fifth option within the Nudge Notes website that is generally appreciated regardless of nationality, region, gender, generation, education, or work status. “Positive Nudges” are at the top of the list for a reason.  Almost everyone enjoys a compliment. Right now The Nudge Notes website carries 23 Positive Nudges, with more being added every day.  If you want to run a test that causes no harm send out a, “You are the best!”  Timing… always remember timing.  Behavior that is reinforced will generally produce more of that behavior.  If your boss has been yelling at the staff, threatening termination of entire divisions, referring to every other employee as a loser, etc. do not send out, “Keep up the good work” or “Atta boy”. “I just wanted you to know you are doing a great job!” You will get more of that behavior.   What ever you decide, sending a Nudge Note is the first step, then judge reactions and send another, you get the hang of it and improve your Layered stew in the process!

1. Know someone with a problem? (e.g. - They have stinky feet, They're a Drunk, They need a makeover)

When’s Your Nudge Note Not a Nudge?

nudge notes doctorWhen is a Nudge Sent on Nudge Notes not a Nudge?

by: Robert Wright, PhD Behaviorist

So you are aggravated with something that your spouse, boss, co-worker, friend, colleague, associate, partner, relative, and so on, said or did. You really want to give him or her a piece of your mind and send a Nudge Note but in the past they have not listened to you.  More likely is that in the past you simply, in exasperation, said, “That’s <<fill in the name>> and that’s just the way he/she is. We have just gotten used to that <<fill in the behavior>>.”

Have you ever had the experience of watching someone’s behavior and wondering, “What in theNudge Notes world was he/she thinking? I would have never done it that way”?  Or, “No one in their right mind would have done it that way!” None of us have random behaviors.  A Nudge Note can be helpful in adjusting behaviors.   All behaviors have a consequence and if that consequence is positive it is highly likely that the behavior will occur again.  As long as the behavior is positively reinforced you can bet on seeing it again.  If the behavior is reinforced over a period of time it can become a habit and that is apparently the thing you are observing and can’t understand why he/she would do it.

The better question to ask yourself when you see an upsetting behavior is this: “When <<person’s name>> does that behavior, what happens?” My colleague and friend Dr. Aubrey Daniels developed what he called the PICNIC Analysis® and defined it as an effective but not scientific way for understanding the power of consequences on behavior.  Every behavior has a Nudge Notesconsequence (now that could include a Nudge Note) that either strengthens or weakens the probability of that behavior occurring again.  Consequences are either POSITIVE/NEGATIVE, IMMEDIATE/FUTURE, CERTAIN/UNCERTAIN.  PICS (positive, immediate, certain) are powerfully reinforcing consequences that increase the likelihood of the behavior.  NICS (negative, immediate, certain) are just the opposite (punishing) and will most likely result in decreased behaviors.  When you see the undesired behavior occur and you determine that the consequence is a PIC you can count on that behavior occurring again.  What is the best way to change the PIC to a NIC?  This is where a Nudge Note can be helpful with either PIC or NIC.  Or is there a preferred behavior that you can reinforce that is incompatible with the undesired behavior?

Suppose you have identified an undesired behavior (e.g., My Boss is a Jerk) and are clueless about how to change that behavior. A friend may have mentioned Nudge Notes to you or you may have found it while surfing the net. Whatever the case you have at least looked at it.  NudgeNudge Notes Notes don’t just provide a topic that you can send to the “offending” person.  That kind of program is similar to telling an employee, “You have a problem. Now go fix it.”  A ton of time will be spent trying to figure out what the so called problem is. Additional time will be wasted, if he/she realizes they indeed have a problem, trying to come up with an appropriate solution.



Why not try a Nudge Note today and let us know the if a behavior change occurs.

1. Know someone with a problem? (e.g. - They have stinky feet, They're a Drunk, They need a makeover)

A Nudge by Any Other Name

Nudge Notes Nears International LaunchWhat is a Nudge and why are There Nudge Notes

by: Robert Wright, PhD Behaviorist


There are several definitions for the word “nudge” that are acceptable for use in this blog.  I ways to use nudge notespersonally prefer, “To touch or push gently or gradually”.  It is a subtle suggestion or urging to move in one direction or another.  One would hope that the nudge is positive suggestion to improve the “nudgee’s” position or condition.  In some instances the nudges can be positively reinforcing as in, “You are doing a good job with this project.  Keep it up.”  The net effect of this nudge is movement in a preferred direction.

Far too often our young managers, parents, supervisors, and others use negative reinforcement to change or nudge behavior in a preferred direction.  Why would they do that you ask?  Because most likely that was how they were raised.  I happened to be walking into an Office Depot the other day and could not help but overhear a mother talking sternly and loudly to her young daughter.  Her exact statement was, “When you get home I am going to have your father kick you’re a**.”

Before I discuss this particular bit of parenting I need to disclose that I am a parent and may how to use nudge noteshave used similar threats against my two sons and in fact had similar threats used by my parents when I was a child.  As a career soldier I am familiar with hand grenades and suggest that the “nudge” presented by this mom was about as subtle as a hand grenade.  Like a hand grenade her statement is likely to blow up in her face sometime in the future.

how to use nudge notesThe things that are wrong with this mom’s statement can be the topic of several chapters on parenting.  She wanted a particular behavior from her daughter and did not get it so she used a harsh version of a nudge that she was trained to use.  Her do it or else nudge will achieve compliance and little more.  In the world of behavioral studies, we refer to mom’s threat as negative reinforcement.

Now I am not against punishment.  There are times when punishment is the correct course of action.  To be effective punishment and reinforcement must be given during the behavior or shortly after the behavior.  So here we have a little girl who misbehaved in one place and is now going to be punished in another.  In addition the punishment (e.g., “kick you’re a**) is going to be delivered by a person who did not actually see the behavior occur.  Negative reinforcement is designed to cause certain behaviors to occur or stop them to avoid a punishing consequence.  “If you don’t get this project done by 5 you can plan on staying until it is done… or else.”

how to use nudge notes
Nudges can come in five varieties:  Positive Reinforcement Nudges, Negative Reinforcement Nudges, Punishing Nudges, Penalty Nudges, and Extinction Nudges.  The literature and empirical research supports the use of Positives should be four to one over the other Negatives  if you really want to see a behavioral change.
how to use nudge notesThink about why you are sending a nudge to your friend, family member, associate, boss, co-worker, etc.  Do you want to change their behavior or at least make them aware of a behavior that is offensive to you and others?  You may have tried a direct approach in the past and received a “kick your a**” response.  The direct threat of punishment will have a chilling effect on your behavior and then you get to live with the behavior as long as you have the association.    In our next blog we will begin to look at each of these areas and how to effectively use Nudge Notes to effect change and then how to transition to direct interaction with others.


1. Know someone with a problem? (e.g. - They have stinky feet, They're a Drunk, They need a makeover)

Anonymous Emails Tackle Co-Worker Habits and Issues that Annoy You

email from nudge notesWays to Tackle Co-Worker Habits and Issues that Annoy You or Please you with Anonymous Emails


Ever work with a co-worker that had poor personal hygiene, bad smelling breath or annoying personal habits such as picking their nose or constantly coughing?  Do you have fellow employees that drink heavily in the evening, coming in to the office with the smell of alcohol mixed with the odder of cigarettes and coffee all day at work?  Have you tried an anonymous email system like


What about a friend or employee that has a smell coming from their mouth or pours that makes anonymous email from nudge notes you Ill, you know it is a cultural food issue and it is politically incorrect to say anything about it, but the situation is unbearable for you, what can you do?


There are many answers; the easiest and most anonymous solution is the new social media anonymous email system that allows friends and coworkers to send mild nudges to the offender in a nice and totally anonymous way, to gently nudge them into action.


email from nudge notesOther more direct ways to get action from a co-worker or friend may not be as anonymous and easy on interpersonal relationships as anonymous email system is easy, but here are a few that may do the trick:



  1. Start with the softer approach but don’t candy coat the problem, if you are going to approach someone with a problem that concerns you, potentially embarrassing them, be direct and state the problem. You must also suggest solutions, saying there is a problem and not offering a solution, may make the problem worse. When you send a Nudge Note the stated problem always offers solutions right in the anonymous email.
  2. Tell your co-worker or friend directly that there is a problem and how you perceive that anonymous email from nudge notesproblem affecting you. If you talk around or soften the issue you will potentially make it worse. If you for instance say “I have a friend that….” The point may never get to the intended offender; instead it may empower the offender with ammunition against another instead of taking action to correct the problem. With a simple Nudge Note, no one is affected since there is no sender, but the recipient is given a direct problem that exists and simple solutions if they wish to correct the stated problem.
  3. Use the roundabout approach to get attention to a problem. Say others are saying that there is a problem and you wanted to bring it to the friend or co-workers attention. This approach lets you remove yourself from direct conflict by referring to others displeasure with the problem, however an anonymous Nudge Note can be a much more effective way to keep problems in interpersonal relationships from arising when relating such an issue with a close co-worker or friend.
  4. Another possible solution is statements make to groups of co-workers or friends about a anonymous email from nudge notesparticular problem being caused by only one person. This can cause even further embarrassment as the entire group rounds on the actual offender. Using a simple free anonymous email system Nudge Note solves the problem and need not evolve others in the discussion. A Nudge also provides suggested solutions. The recipient then knows it came from someone but will never know who so the group effect still exists in a way, but the anonymous Nudge Note has done the work privately and potentially without embarrassment.
  5. Be sensitive to cultural differences, but be firm if those differences are interfering with harmony of the group. It comes down to the question, if a cultural practice brought from another country is alienating that person to the rest of a group or even just you, and that person is being ostracized for that practice, don’t they have the right to know? The easiest anonymous email from nudge notesway to gently let this person know a problem exists is with an anonymous email Nudge from
  6. If you are a Boss in a situation where one or more employees are causing distractions to work, you owe it to the employee to hold the difficult conversation, epically if other employees have brought the problem to your attention. There is an easier way to start the conversation, why not send a totally anonymous email Nudge from, it s easy free and may solve the problem without the embarrassing one on one conversation in the first place.


anonymous email from nudge notesCare enough about friends, employees and co-workers to hold the difficult conversations when needed.  Buy before you are forced into a one on one uncomfortable personal confrontation, why not try anonymous email system  This service is free, anonymous and can handle many problems in the kindest most private way, before the problem goes public. anonymous email system, making the world safe for difficult conversations.

1. Know someone with a problem? (e.g. – They have stinky feet, They’re a Drunk, They need a makeover)

2. Search for that problem or browse through our categories to find the appropriate message to1. Know someone with a problem? (e.g. - They have stinky feet, They're a Drunk, They need a makeover) send to that person.

3. Don’t worry, the person you’re sending it to will never know it’s from you, so enter the person’s email or phone number and hit send.  The unique system sends an anonymous email right then and there.

4. The person will receive a message, an anonymous email from Nudge Notes that tells them that they have a problem and provides the solution for their problem, or that they are great and special, most importantly that someone noticed all in a totally anonymous email.

5. Problem solved!

1. Know someone with a problem? (e.g. - They have stinky feet, They're a Drunk, They need a makeover)

Nudge Notes Nears International Launch – Dr Robert E. Wright Brought in to Evaluate Nudges

Press Release: 7.22.14:

Nudge Notes Nears International Launch1. Know someone with a problem? (e.g. - They have stinky feet, They're a Drunk, They need a makeover)

Emerging new social media has engaged Dr. Robert E. Wright, World Famous Research Behaviorist to evaluate over 200 Nudges and Answers. offers friends and co-workers the opportunity to send constructive criticisms and positive re-enforcements

Dr. Robert E. Wright, MHA, MA, RN and CEO of Behavioral Education and Research Services, Inc. has evaluated all 200+ Nudge Notes to be sent by co-workers and friends to recipients advising suggested changes in lifestyle, habits as well as a number of positive compliments.  “We want to ensure that the criticism is of a positive nature.  The advice is intended to help and encourage the recipient.  It is not our intent to send messages that are of a bullying nature,” said Dr. Wright.

Nudge Notes has 4 stated values:
1. Nudge Notes are intended to help someone you know or care about become aware of an Nudge Notes Nears International Launchopportunity to improve.
2. Nudge Notes should be sent with a caring-heart and an absence of malice.
3. Nudge Notes are should never be used to bully or harass.
4. Nudge Notes should make the world a better place. “Do a good deed…send a Nudge” is the NudgeNote slogan.

Dr. Wright has been associated with autism and behavioral disorders dating back to 1965 when his brother Ben was diagnosed. He conceived and created the Behavior Simulation Training (BeST®) family of programs with the flagship program Virtual Behavior for Families (VBF®).

Nudge Notes is the brain child of Bob Hanson and noted programming wizz Daniel Majovski. Nudge Notes Nears International LaunchThe program engine has been in development since 2007, evolving into what will soon be a free resource available to millions of office workers and mobile users worldwide.  John Scorsone, a retired USAF senior officer, was brought onboard as a professional project manager to lead the team effort. The firm of Professional Marketing Associates International, is overseeing the branding and launch of the site.

Dr Wright commented “This kind of outlet can assist behavior shortcomings in social and business life and even within families.”  Wright continued “people tend to shy away from making constructive criticisms, particularly with those close in our lives.  Sending an anonymous NudgeNote can reduce concerns about possible consequences.”

Dr Wright has made a number of changes in the initial Nudges and recommended solution Nudge Notes Nears International Launchbehaviors by their recipients.  Dr. Wright has also suggested a rule that does not let the same nudge be sent to the same person twice by the same person. “It is important to our team that recipients see Nudges as recommendations for constructive behavior change rather than hateful hints.” is in Beta test now and anyone can participate for free; send an anonymous Nudge today in its test phase.  The official USA launch will be announced next month.

For more information contact Nudge Notes at
For Press information contact Thomas R. Reich or YourPMA at