Behavioural Science Centre
The Behavioural Science Centre is based in the Economics Division of Stirling Management School and integrates approaches from Economics and Psychology to better understand connections between economic, psychological, and health outcomes and their determinants. We are the only specialist centre within Scotland and one of few in Europe. We are an interdisciplinary group with members coming from a range of backgrounds with expertise in Economics, Psychology, Management, Philosophy and Public Health. This blog provides up to date information about what's going on at the Centre.
News & Events
Jayne Brown wins the SGSS ESRC student-led Open Competition for a PhD scholarship.
Jayne Brown is a recent graduate of the MSc Behavioural Science for Management programme at the University of Stirling. The SGSSS ESRC Open Competion is a very selective and prestigious funder that only supports the most promising candidates.
It is the opinion of the supervisory team that Jayne has developed a highly innovative and well-rounded research proposal that addresses an important and under-researched topic: The importance of behavioural biases for the acceptance of environmental policies. Climate research has reached a quasi-consensus that the use of fossil-fuel energy needs to be dramatically curbed to avert the acceleration of life-threatening climate change. While increasing majorities agree that things need to change in principle, people are often unwilling to change their ways when this is associated with personal sacrifices. In fact, many environmental policies that address climate change tend to be unpopular because they increase the cost to consumers and corporations (e.g. environmental taxes or emissions trading) or because they regulate (and even outlaw) the use of certain products or behaviours that people are unwilling to give up. This constitutes a great challenge for policy makers who need to trade off the benefits of enacting socially optimal (but individually unpopular) environmental policies with the risk of being voted out of office if the electorate perceives these policies as paternalistic overreach. Jayne’s dissertation addresses this dilemma by studying the behavioural nexus that determines public opposition to environmental policies such as a carbon tax. Her proposal has immense impact potential as policymakers will be able to leverage the behavioural insights from Jayne’s research to optimize the design and the communication of climate policies.
We at the Behavioural Science Centre are very happy welcome her back!24 May 2021, 07:18pm
Stirling Behavioural Scientist interviewed on expectations for a post-Covid Economy : One role of experts is to apply their knowledge to chip away at uncertainty. MSc Behavioural Program Director, David Comerford, was recently approached by the Herald HQ Business Magazine to make some forecasts about the very uncertain world that we enter post-Covid. Read more7 October 2020, 10:43am
Nudge FORGOOD: We apply the Lades and Delaney (2020) FORGOOD framework to explicate ethical trade-offs encountered when designing behavioural interventions in policy and business. The session starts at 10:00am in 2B38 of the Cottrell Building.28 February 2020, 06:00am
Thesis Development Session I: Students on out MSc programmes present their initial thesis ideas. The session starts at 9:00am in 2A9 of the Cottrell Building.12 February 2020, 08:00am
Behavioural Science Seminar: Julia Sader from the University of Geneva present "Clinical Decision Making and Behavioural Insights"Wednesday 5 Feb 2020, 2B88, 2.00pm
Behavioural Science Seminar: Nathalie Libera from Cycling Scotland "Behaviour Change in Practice". Nathalie is an alumni of our MSc Behavioural Science for Management (cohort 17/18)Wednesday 29 Jan 2020, 2B88, 2.00pm
Behavioural Science Seminar: Nicolai Vitt of the University of Edinburgh presents "The Influence of Stress and Failure on Economic Decision Making: A Planned Lab Experiment"Wednesday 22 January 2020, 2B88, 2.00pm
How can we improve tenement maintenance? Dr. Conny Wollbrant speaks at the "Tenements today, tenements tomorrow" conference on the role of Behavioural Science in creating sustainable and better maintained homes in Scotland.18 September 2019 ,09:00am
The programme for our annual workshop on Behavioural Science is now complete. Experts gather in Stirling to discuss challenges and opportunities in the area of health and behaviour.17 September 2019, 09:00am
Induction week has begun! Today we welcome a new group of students in Behavioural Science for Management and Behavioural Decision Making for Finance - our largest cohort yet!9 September 2019, 09:00am
Academic Promotion Success: Dr. David Comerford is promoted to Senior Lecturer and Dr. Seda Erdem to Associate Professor. Congratulations from all members!Thursday 13 June 2019
Dr. Seda Erdem speaks to the Health and Behaviour programme at the University of Stirling on how Behavioural Science can be applied to improve health outcomes.10 June 2019
Dr. Conny Wollbrant speaks at the Institute of Applied Ethics at the University of Hull on the topic of "Ethics of Nudging"16 May 2019
Daniele Maraffi has been accepted to the PhD level course on Behavioural Environmental Economics offered in collaboration between CERE (Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics) and Department of Forest Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The course will take place between the 3rd and 6th of June at Ulltuna Campus in Uppsala, Sweden.
During the course Daniele will present his MSc thesis project on how to reduce litterin in Loch Lomon and Trossachs national park in Scotland. The project is a collaboration with Keep Scotland Beautiful. Congratulations from all Centre members!Posted: Wednesday 8 May 2019
Daniele is a student on the MSc Behavioural Science for Management. He is interested in environmental and conservation behaviour and how behavioural economics can be applied to decision making in business and management.
Event development: Behavioural Challenge Workshop2 May 2019 10:00am
The workshop focuses on developing a concrete public policy engagement tool that can be applied collaboratively with policy makers, stakeholders and practitioners to address the behavioural challenges they encounter in their organisations.
New preprint on intuition and cooperation “The intuitive cooperation hypothesis revisited: A meta-analytic examination of effect-size and between-study heterogeneity” with Dr. Conny Wollbrant.17 April 2019 08:55am
In the media: The article "Gender differences in altruism: Evidence from a natural field experiment on matched donations" published in Economics Letters earlier this year is covered by The Swedish newspaper Göteborgs Posten.Updated: Thursday 11 April 2019 09:00am
A short summary of the study is available here.
New publication: The paper "Asking for frequencies rather than percentages increases the validity of subjective probability measures: Evidence from subjective life expectancy" and has been accepted for publication in Economics Letters.
Until the paper has gone through the editorial production process, a PDF of the accepted version is available here. An accompanying blog post about the published research "The outlook for the future is: "More accurate"" is available here.Wednesday 10 April 2019 1.25pm
Dr. David Comerford is programme director of the MSc Behavioural Science for Management and MSc Behavioural Decision Making for Finance. If you would like to know more about his research or study at the Centre, send David an E-mail.
Dr. Conny Wollbrant and Dr. Mikael Knutsson feature in this episode of the "Decision Botanists" (in Swedish) discussing decision making in sports.
Topics include the hot hand fallacy, the significance of home advantage, superstition and expanding comfort zones. Link to the podcast is hereSunday 7 April 2010
Silvia Cottone has been accepted to the PhD level course on Behavioural Environmental Economics offered in collaboration between CERE (Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics) and Department of Forest Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The course will take place between the 3rd and 6th of June at Ulltuna Campus in Uppsala, Sweden. During the course Silvia will present her MSc thesis project on promotion of pro-environmental behaviour using green nudges. She has partnered with Tesco, a leading UK supermarket to implement an in-store survey on purchasing and consumption behaviour. The outcome of the study will provide the basis for an intervention intended to reduce food waste. Congratulations from all Centre members!Posted: Wednesday 3 April 2019
Project update: Increasing cervical cancer screening in Iceland30 March 2019 12:36pm
A thesis project led by Linda Karlsdottir aiming to increase cervical cancer screening in Iceland is launched this week.
The project is the result of a collaboration with the Icelandic Cancer Detection Clinic. Results are due after the summer but early indicators are promising: visits to the booking site reached an all year high following the launch of the project.
Dr. Conny Wollbrant suggests simple savings tactics short article published by The Telegraph. The article "How to use behavioural economics to help you save more smartly" explains how can we fight back against powerful decision making biases and develop good savings habits.
Conny is Associate Professor in Economics and Director of the Behavioural Science Centre. His research focuses on behavioural and experimental economics and applications to business and policy, especially health, finance and the environment.
This week Dr. Leonhard Lades is visiting the Centre. Leo will deliver a lecture on Behavioural Science and Environmental Behaviour in our MSc programmes covering behavioural barriers to environmentally-friendly behaviour as well as behavioural policies to overcome these.Tuesday 26 March 2019
Leo was a lecturer at the Behavioural Science Centre until 2017 and then moved to Dublin to work on environmental behavioural economics research with high policy-relevance. He is the lead researcher of the EPA-funded beast project hosted by EnvEcon and a member of the University College Dublin Behavioural Science and Policy Group. From September 2019 he will be Lecturer in Environmental Policy, UCD Dublin. His research combines economics and psychology to inform environmental policy-making. He has worked on present-bias, temptation in everyday life and soft paternalism. Feel free to get in touch with Leo via [E-mail] or visit his [web site].
Dr. Seda Erdem welcomes colleagues from Aarhus University to Stirling to work on an international research project investigating consumer behaviour in retail as part of a Stirling Connect collaboration. Interested in consumer behaviour in retail? Send Seda an email to find out more [E-mail].Monday 25 March 2019
Seda is a Senior Lecturer of Economics and a member of the Behavioural Science Centre. Her research broadly focuses on eliciting preferences and perceptions, consumer choice behaviour and decision-making in the areas of food, health and agriculture and leads the Food Choice and Consumer Behaviour theme of the Global Food Security Programme at the University of Stirling.
Behavioural Science Workshop: Health and Behaviour 26-27 September 2019
An inter-disciplinary Behavioural Science Workshop on the theme of Health and Behaviour is currently being planned for 26-27 September 2019. The purpose is to bring together practitioners, policy-makers and researchers from academic disciplines concerned with improving Public Health outcomes. The workshop is now in its early stages. Progress will be announced on the Behavioural Science Centre web page and our Twitter account.15 March 2019
Behavioural Science Seminar: Dr. Emma Bridger from Birmingham City University presents "Social disadvantage and health: Cognitive ability as a moderating factor"Wednesday 13 Feb 2019, 2B88, 2.00pm
Emma is a senior research fellow in Psychology and was a student in one of the first cohorts of our MSc Behavioural Science for Management programme.
Behavioural Science Seminar: Jenny Robinson of Irrational Insights Ltd. will present some counter-intuitive results on life expectancy and the pension decumulation decisions.Wednesday 30 Jan 2019, 2B74, 1.30pm
Jenny is an alumnus of the MSc Behavioural Science for Management programme and went on to found Irrational Insights, a financial consultancy based in Edinburgh.
New publication: "Gender differences in altruism: Evidence from a natural field experiment on matched donations" by Mikael Knutsson, Emil Persson, Peter Martinsson and Conny Wollbrant is now published in Economics Letters.Friday 1 March 2019
Behavioural Science Seminar: Professor Eyal Winter from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem presents "Feeling Smart: Why our Emotions are More Rational than We Think"Tuesday 23 January 2019, Logie Lecture Theatre, 1.30pm
New member: We are happy to announce that Dr. Erlend Sandorf will be joining the Centre today. Erlend holds a PhD in Environmental Economics from the Arctic University of Norway and will join the Economics Division as Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow. Erlend is interested in modeling and will work with Professor Danny Campbell on decision making heuristics. To find out more about Erlend and his research, please visit his web site.Thursday 1 November 2018
Behavioural Science Seminar: Professor Olof Johansson-Stenman from the University of Gothenburg presents "Green nudges as a policy instrument"Wednesday 31 October 2018, 2B88, 2.00pm
To find out more about Professor Johansson-Stenman and his research interests, visit his web page
Behavioural Science and Economics Seminar: Dr. Robert Akerlof from the University of Warwick presents "Narratives and the Economics of the Family"Tuesday 16 October 2018, C3A142, 2.00pm
Half-day workshop: Behavioural Health EconomicsWednesday 10 October 2018, 2B88, 2.00-4.00pm
We are organising a half-day workshop on the topic of Behavioural Health Economics. Speakers: Dr. Simon McCabe (Stirling), Professor Marjon van der Pol (Aberdeen), Dr. David Comerford (Stirling)
Behavioural Science and Economics Seminar: Dr. Johannes Lohse from the University of Birmingham presents "Social distance, matching and inter-charity competition"Tuesday 9 October 2018, C3A142, 2.00pm
Behavioural Science and Economics Seminar: Professor Simeon Schudy from the University of Munich presents "A Field Experiment on Leadership Functions and Team Performance in Non-Routine Analytical Team Tasks "Tuesday 2 October 2018, C3A142, 2.00pm
New member of staff: We are happy to announce that Dr. Till Stowasser will be joining the Centre as Senior Lecturer from today. Till comes to us from the University of Munich and does very interesting research on consumer behaviour.Monday 1 October 2018
To find out more about Till's research interest, please visit his web page
Behavioural Science and Economics Seminar: Marcel Lukas from Heriot-Watt University presents "Financial technology and its impact on investing and spending behaviour"Tuesday 25 September 2018, C3A142, 2.00pm
Workshop: Applied Ethics of NudgingThursday 20 - Friday 21 September 2018, Court Room
We hold an interdisciplinary workshop on the Applied Ethics of Nudging. The workshop takes place in the Court Room, University of Stirling
Speakers include: Erik Angner (Stockholm), Luc Bovens (UNC), Amanda Cawston (Tilburg), Christine Clavien (Geneva), Liam Delaney (UCD), Bart Engelen (Tillburg), Till Grüne-Yanoff (Stockholm), Leonard Lades (UCD), Thomas Nys (Amsterdam), Adam Oliver (LSE), Karen Renaud (Abertay).
A provisional schedule can be found here. The workshop is open but registration is required.
Thanks to our sponsor the Scots Philosophical Association we will be able to financially support childcare provision for speakers and participants.
Behavioural Science and Economics Seminar
Dr. Vojtech Bartos from the University of Munich presents "Effects of Poverty on Impatience: Preferences or Inattention? "Tuesday 18 September 2018, C3A142, 2.00pm
To find out more about Dr. Bartos research, visit his [web page]
The Guardian league table is now publishes and the Economics Division (Behavioural Science Centre host) is ranked 2nd in Scotland and 5th in the UK for Economics. Well done everyone! The complete ranking for Economics is the UK is available here.29 May 2018