The answers to these questions – and so many other perplexities of human behaviour – are the domain of behavioural science.
“Our minds are not able to tease apart the useful information from the irrelevant information.”
– Iris Bohnet
Fast driver, fast life: genetics and everyday behaviour reflected in risky driving
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.
There is a problem with behavioural science. It’s not about a particular campaign, or about whether ‘behavioural scientists’ have been given too big or small a role over recent years. Spotting claims & probing the methods behind them is key to a better bullshit detector. It’s a skill we can learn & even teach our kids. Perhaps surprisingly, our common intuitions about behaviour - our thinking about thinking - are often wrong.
“A nation that respects freedom of speech and freedom of religion, or that is committed to human dignity, will nudge people by virtue of that very fact”. Cass Sunstein, author of Nudge: Improving Decisions about health, wealth and happiness.
There has not been a time in recent history when the truth has mattered more than today. As governments, the medical system, and global citizens grapple with misinformation surrounding the economic and health costs of COVID-19, knowing what information to trust is now a matter of life and death, and helping people separate fact from fiction is critical.
Reading aloud to children has many benefits, but low-income families in the United States often struggle to find the time. Research shows that cognitive development in early childhood is best promoted if parents create learning opportunities for their children in the home environment. Reading aloud is a key activity. Unfortunately, many young low income children in the United States are not read to on a regular basis. Some parents find it challenging to carve out time each day to engage with their children in educational activities, and parents’ busy lives make it hard to create and stick to a routine of reading and other learning activities.