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Brain Culture

Jessica Pykett’s new book Brain Culture: Shaping Policy Through Neuroscience is now out! This unique book offers a timely analysis of the impact of rapidly advancing knowledge about the brain, mind and behaviour on contemporary public policy and practice. Examining developments in behaviour change policies, neuroscience, architecture and urban design, education, and workplace training programmes the […]

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Archiving Nudge

The novelty of behaviour change ideas and practices tends to give them something of a contemporary feel. In this context it is easy to overlook the complex and contested history of this movement. Two books that I recently started to read promise to offer some valuable insights into the scientific and political histories of the behaviour change […]

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Nudge, Ethics and Oxymorons

By Jessica Pykett In a new research article published this week, prominent critic of ‘nudging’, psychologist, Gerd Girgerenzer effectively casts doubt on the several decades of behavioural economic evidence which has shaped the behaviour change agenda public policy in countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Singapore. In the article published in […]

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MBCEPP

Mindfulness and Behavioural Change: an Evaluation We recently delivered a Mindfulness, Behaviour Change and Engagement in Public Policy (MBCEPP) programme to civil servants in Wales. The programme explored the impacts that  learning about new behavioural insights through the practices of mindfulness could have. The programme yielded some very positive results and the evaluation report can […]

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Nudge: the Real Ethical Debate?

I recently returned from my second trip to the Netherlands this year. As with my first visit I was speaking with various government officials and advisors about the application of behavioural insights to public policy design. Discussions are now fairly well advanced in the Netherlands concerning how the central government would like to apply nudge-type […]

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Global Nudge

Nudging all Over the World – The Final Report We have recently completed a global scoping study of the rising impacts of the behavioural sciences on public policy design and execution. This report uncovers interesting geographical patterns in the global spread and application of nudge type policies. The full report can be downloaded here nudgedesignfinal

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Heuristics – Half Baked!

Heuristics – Half Baked! There is an ongoing debate (of kinds) concerning the pliability of heuristics (those conscious and unconscious behavioural shortcuts we routinely rely on to get through our daily lives, which include things such as future bias and social proofing). This debate (or in this particular case fairly amicable discussion) was evident in […]

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MIndfulness and Behaviour Change

As part of our ongoing ESRC research project, exploring the impacts of the behavioural sciences on public policy, we have just completed a mindfulness based behaviour change intervention with 15 members of the Welsh civil service. The Mindfulness, Behaviour Change and Engagement in Public Policy  course ran for 8 weeks and sought to combine Mindfulness […]

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On Resilience

Psychological Resilience: Conference Reflections We recently held the second seminar in our seminar series on ‘Behaviour Change and Psychological Governance’. This seminar was held at the University of Birmingham and explored issues pertaining to psychological resilience. Below, Colin Lorne (University of Birmingham) provides a summary of the seminar. To find out more about the seminar […]

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The Experimental Citizen

The Psychological State and the Experimental Subject In a previous post we considered the ways in which the psychological sciences are reshaping how policy makers understand human subjectivity. The classical view of the human ‘[…] as a bounded, unique, more or less integrated motivational and cognitive universe, a dynamic centre of awareness, emotion, judgment and […]

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