The answers to these questions – and so many other perplexities of human behaviour – are the domain of behavioural science.
“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.”
– Daniel Kahneman
Jennifer Morgan: Is the rich world doing enough to combat climate change?
This Mail & Guardian webinar was sponsored by The Behaviour Change Agency. Speakers included Antoine Ferrere, Global Head of Behavioural Science at Novartis, Switzerland; Matthew Battersby, Chief Behavioural Scientist at Reinsurance Group of America, United Kingdom; Aimee Wesso, Advanced Strategic Specialist at Afrocentric Group; Pat Govender, Founder and Managing Director of The Behaviour Change Agency and Dr Anam Nyembezi, Behavioural Medicine Specialist and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape.
This article is part of a series based on “A Manifesto for Applying Behavioral Science” from the Behavioural Insights Team. In each article, Michael Hallsworth draws from the manifesto’s agenda for the future of behavioral science and offers a new angle on current thinking. This week, he asks if current debates about “nudges versus boosts” fail to capture the most meaningful choices facing behavioral scientists.
With households responsible for 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Dr Jako Volschenk, senior lecturer in Strategy and Sustainability at Stellenbosch Business School, says on World Earth Day (22 April) it is time to stop waiting on governments to fight climate change, and to focus on how the behavioural changes of individuals can achieve the substantial reduction.
Adrian Gore writes that he has a deep belief in the potential of our country and it is clear to him that this is not a time for pessimism, despair and inaction. He argues that, on the contrary, we are in desperate need of optimism, hope and action.
Behavioural science involves understanding humans. However, it fails if it develops a limited understanding of humanity – 17% of whom who live in Africa. Africa’s voice must therefore be included in behavioural science research. Collaborations with African researchers should be grounded in respect. Public policy has been experiencing a behavioural renaissance. Policy-makers in august bodies such as the World Bank and the United Nations are beginning to recognise that one must understand human behaviour and the context that shapes it to understand how people will react to a policy intervention.