How Behavioral Economics and Nudges Could Help Diminish Irrationality In Suicide-Related Decisions

Document Type


Publication Date





People regularly make decisions that are not aligned with their own self-interests. These irrational decisions often stem from humans having bounded rationality (e.g., limited computational power), which produces reliable cognitive biases that occur outside of people’s awareness and influences the decisions people make. There are many important decisions leading up to a suicide attempt, and it is likely that these same biases exist within suicide-related decisions. This article presents an argument for the likely existence of cognitive biases within suicide-related decision making and how they may influence people to make irrational decisions. In addition, this article provides new evidence for using a behavioral economic intervention—nudges—as a potential way to combat rising suicide rates. We explore how nudges can help increase means safety, disseminate suicide prevention skills/materials, diminish well-known biases (e.g., confirmation bias), and uncover biases that may be occurring when making suicide-related decisions.

Publication Title

Perspectives On Psychological Science

Find in your library