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Read more about the work we do and our interests across behavioural science, design and data science.

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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

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

Omission Bias, the Trolley Problem and COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Omission Bias, the Trolley Problem and COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake

Imagine that you are standing beside a train track. A group of five people is crossing the track. Suddenly you notice a train barrelling uncontrollably towards the group. There is a fork in the track ahead of the group. Beside you is a lever, which you can pull to divert the train at the fork,...

Jul 1 2021 • 4 min read

Jul 1 2021 • 4 min read

False Positives and False Certainties of Covid-19 Test Results False Positives and False Certainties of Covid-19 Test Results

Imagine that you have recently been asked to take a Covid-19 test – maybe you are a resident of Lambeth, a school pupil, or about to travel abroad. You receive a message with your results, which reads as follows: ‘Your recent coronavirus test has come back positive’. Take a moment to consider how you would...

Apr 30 2021 • 3 min read

Apr 30 2021 • 3 min read

How Our Existing Beliefs About Vaccines Lead Us To Misinterpret New Information How Our Existing Beliefs About Vaccines Lead Us To Misinterpret New Information

As Covid vaccines have continued to be rolled out across the world, ‘vaccine hesitancy’ has become the subject of growing media interest. In some countries, surveys show a remarkable reduction in vaccine hesitancy. A recent survey of the UK population shows that 93% of people would accept a vaccine in the UK, up from 78%...

Apr 1 2021 • 5 min read

Apr 1 2021 • 5 min read

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