The answers to these questions – and so many other perplexities of human behaviour – are the domain of behavioural science.
“January is always a good month for behavioural economics: Few things illustrate self-control as vividly as New Year’s resolutions. February is even better, though, because it lets us study why so many of those resolutions are broken.”
African researchers must be full participants in behavioural science research
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.
Which politics does ChatGPT stand for? A study shows that AI is on the left side of the political spectrum. The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT has catapulted the technology of large language models into the public eye. It is already leading to changes in society, for example in the education system: schools and universities are trying to deal with the possibilities of such systems – or ban them.
Insights from South African farmers: This research lays the groundwork for implementing a behavioural strategy that could reduce the estimated 34,4% of food that is wasted in South Africa. It would also help the country to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, especially SDG 12.3, which states: “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.”
About 45% of South Africa’s total available food supply that enters the food value chain is lost or wasted, with much of it occurring during initial agricultural production on farms. But fewer than 40% of farmers measure how much food is wasted, a new study has found. The research was conducted by The Behaviour Change Agency, for the World Wildlife Fund South Africa (WWF-SA), the Nedbank Green Trust and Food Forward.
Critics of nudging argue that it is no longer equal to society’s problems. Nudges try to change behavior by altering the environment in which we make decisions rather than resorting to bans or incentives. For some, this makes them too focused on the individual when our attention should be on wholesale systems change. For others, nudges aren’t focused on the individual enough: rather than tweaking their environment we should be trying to change people’s psychology at a deeper level.
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