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Join The Thousands of Others Who Have Already Read This Post on Social Norms Join The Thousands of Others Who Have Already Read This Post on Social Norms

Would you adjust your alcohol intake if you were told that most people drink less than you? Have you ever opted for something labelled ‘most popular’ when you were unsure which option to choose? The above tactics are examples of descriptive social norms, which in recent years have become a go-to marketing method across the...

Sep 6 2022 • 3 min read

Sep 6 2022 • 3 min read

Can Your Online Banking App Improve Your Carbon Literacy? Can Your Online Banking App Improve Your Carbon Literacy?

Imagine that you are planning to travel from Bristol to Birmingham next week. As you consider the methods of transport available to you, you are taking three criteria into account: price, journey time, and carbon footprint. You find that comparing prices and journey times is easy enough. On that basis you rule out flying and...

Aug 18 2022 • 4 min read

Aug 18 2022 • 4 min read

What Do 19th Century Farmers Tell Us About Smartphone Notifications? What Do 19th Century Farmers Tell Us About Smartphone Notifications?

Imagine that you are a 19th century cattle farmer whose herd grazes on common land shared by many other farmers (and many other cows). You are trying to decide whether to add one more cow to your herd. On the positive side, an extra animal would bring you additional income. On the negative side, another...

Jul 28 2022 • 3 min read

Jul 28 2022 • 3 min read

To Make Better Policies, Should We Focus on Individuals or Systems? Spoiler Alert: It’s Both. To Make Better Policies, Should We Focus on Individuals or Systems? Spoiler Alert: It’s Both.

Imagine that you are a government health minister who’s been transported back in a time machine to December 2019, when the Covid-19 virus was first identified. Your challenge is to decide, with all the benefits that hindsight can bring you, how to approach the impending disaster. You can adopt a ‘system-level’ response: shutting down transport...

May 20 2022 • 3 min read

May 20 2022 • 3 min read

What Does the Virtual Property Market Tell us About the Psychology of Ownership? What Does the Virtual Property Market Tell us About the Psychology of Ownership?

How much would you pay for a virtual property? Not one of those ones made of bricks and mortar, but a digital one made of pixels that exists only in the virtual world. If your answer is around £375,000, then you have something in common with the person who recently purchased Mars House – a...

Mar 28 2022 • 3 min read

Mar 28 2022 • 3 min read

What’s in a Name? How Naming Something Changes the Way We Think About It What’s in a Name? How Naming Something Changes the Way We Think About It

Have you ever wondered why so many peoples across the world and through the ages have decided that they need a God of Thunder or Lightning? Be it Thor in Norse mythology, Zeus in Ancient Greece, Vajrapani in Buddhism, or Indra in Hinduism, the gods of extreme weather often play a particularly powerful and prominent...

Feb 22 2022 • 3 min read

Feb 22 2022 • 3 min read

Great Expectations: Comets, Cures, and Culture Great Expectations: Comets, Cures, and Culture

Adam McKay’s latest film, Don’t Look Up, tells the story of our response to a comet heading directly for Earth. One of the film’s main storylines is the battle between two tribes: those who believe in the threat posed by the comet, and those who do not. In the end, these contrasting beliefs both become...

Feb 11 2022 • 3 min read

Feb 11 2022 • 3 min read

Why Don’t We Give Cash at Christmas? Why Don’t We Give Cash at Christmas?

Take a moment to sift through your memories of Christmas past. What’s the best present you’ve ever received? It is unlikely that your answer is cash. And from an economic perspective, the fact that it is unlikely to be cash is interesting. That’s because a core tenet of classical economics is that people generally make...

Dec 15 2021 • 4 min read

Dec 15 2021 • 4 min read

Why We Sometimes Do the Opposite of What We Are Told: Romeo, Juliet, and Reactance Why We Sometimes Do the Opposite of What We Are Told: Romeo, Juliet, and Reactance

According to a recent YouGov poll, William Shakespeare remains the UK’s third most popular writer (just behind JK Rowling and Terry Pratchett). His most popular play is Romeo and Juliet, which the majority of the UK population claim to have seen or read. One of the most captivating elements of the play is the way...

Nov 5 2021 • 3 min read

Nov 5 2021 • 3 min read

Healthcare and Behaviour: Vinehealth Healthcare and Behaviour: Vinehealth

The global pandemic focused the minds of scientists, clinicians, government officials and pharmaceutical companies on developing clinical solutions. Vaccines were developed in record time, and new clinical practices and treatments were found for those who fell ill. Alongside this largely clinical research, however, emerged a parallel exercise, focused on human behaviour. It became apparent that,...

Sep 16 2021 • 3 min read

Sep 16 2021 • 3 min read

When is a Longer Wait Better than a Shorter Wait? When is a Longer Wait Better than a Shorter Wait?

Imagine that you call your local GP practice and are swiftly placed on hold. You are about to hang up, but you are informed that you are fifth in line. Expecting a short wait, you decide to stay on the phone. Five minutes later, you are told that you have progressed to fourth. After another...

Sep 10 2021 • 4 min read

Sep 10 2021 • 4 min read

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