Understanding society: How do we change behaviour? Make it simple

Date: May 20, 2013
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In this issue we bring together some of the world’s leading thinkers in social psychology and behavioural economics and researchers from the global Ipsos network to consider the impact these disciplines are having on public policy.

We are delighted to have in this publication an interview with Professor Cass R. Sunstein, one of the key figures in describing then applying these approaches. Professor Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University and Harvard Law School and until recently, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration. Perhaps best known globally for co-authoring Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness with Professor Richard Thaler, he has just published a new book – Simpler: The Future of Government – and as the title of this edition shows, we feel this sums up a key theme in behaviour change. In office, he took a decidedly empirical approach to working out which regulations work, and he outlines here some of the insights from his time in the White House.

We are equally thrilled to have interviews with Professors Susan Michie of University College London (UCL) and Theresa Marteau of the University of Cambridge. Professor Michie, Director of UCL’s Health Psychology Research Group has advanced one of the most well-regarded frameworks for characterising and designing behaviour change interventions. Professor Michie discusses the advantages of starting from a diagnosis of the “behaviour in context” and drawing on what has worked before, as well as outlining new areas of research she and her team are working on.


Publisher: Ipsos Mori Social Research Institute
Year of Publication: April, 2013

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