What is Behaviour Change?

Why is falling for fake news so easy despite all the warnings? Why do we carry high-interest debt even when we have the means to pay it off? Why are there so many browser tabs open on your screen right now even though digital clutter is so stressful?

The answers to these questions – and so many other perplexities of human behaviour – are the domain of behavioural science.

Once upon a time, we believed human beings were logical creatures, capable of making good decisions and acting in our own best interests.
Today, we know better.
Thanks to breakthroughs in behavioural research, we’ve been able to peer at the inner workings of our decision-making processes – and instead of logic and reason, we’ve found a tangle of biases and cognitive pitfalls that lead to irrational and even harmful behaviours.
The good news? We have effective tools at our disposal to steer those behaviours in a more desirable direction.
At BCA, we mine insights from behavioural research to illuminate what really motivates human actions.
Then, we add rigorous data analysis and a range of creative strategies to develop behavioural and communication solutions that improve decision-making and create better outcomes for customers, employees and citizens.
"To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting-edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviours."
The biology of behaviour
Understanding something as wildly complex as human behaviour is impossible without considering our biology. The work of Stanford neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky has done a lot to illuminate the neurological and biological factors that influence how we act and make decisions. As we learn more about these interconnections, our insights can be used for positive behaviour change. In Sapolsky's words, “We’re learning more and more about the biological underpinnings of our behaviour, and that can help us produce better outcomes.”
Limited attention bias
Information overload leaves us effectively blind, meaning we’re unable to distinguish between what’s useful and what’s useless

“Our minds are not able to tease apart the useful information from the irrelevant information.”

– Iris Bohnet

Download the 2019 BCA Calendar

Fast driver, fast life: genetics and everyday behaviour reflected in risky driving

A new long-term psychological study of drivers has found an association between driving convictions, accidents and everyday behaviour such as eating junk food or alcohol consumption. The researchers have also uncovered evidence that this relationship is associated with genetic variation in serotonin metabolism – the same neurotransmitter targeted by many antidepressants. This suggests that risky behaviour in driving and in life may have a common psychological basis.
More...

Behaviour Change in the age of Covid-19

September 15, 2020

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.

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