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Hearts and minds: The science of behaviour change

  • The Royal Institution of Great Britain 21 Albemarle Street London, England, W1S United Kingdom (map)

Hosted by The Royal institution

Many problems that our society faces – climate change, poor health, depleted natural resources – require us to change the way we do things. To combat climate change we need to use less fossil fuel. To reduce obesity we need to eat less and move more. To reduce lung cancer we need to stop smoking. The list goes on.

So if we know what to do, why aren’t these problems solved? Behavioural science has found that we don’t always act rationally or in our best interest, and simply being told what we need to be doing doesn’t work. Understanding how people make decisions can help us design interventions that encourage people to change behaviour in beneficial ways. However, there is an important balance to be struck between personal freedom and helping people lead better lives.

Join a panel of experts as they explore this fascinating area at the intersection of psychology, economics and policy.

About the speakers

Susan Michie is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at UCL. Susan's research focuses on developing the science of behaviour change interventions and applying behavioural science to interventions. She works with a wide range of disciplines, practitioners and policy-makers and holds grants from a large number of organisations including the Wellcome Trust, National Institute of Health Research, Economic and Social Research Council and Cancer Research UK.

Nick Chater has over 200 publications, has won four national awards for psychological research, and has served as Associate Editor for the journals Cognitive Science, Psychological Review, and Psychological Science. He was elected a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society in 2010 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2012. Nick is co-founder of the research consultancy Decision Technology; and is on the advisory board of the Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insight Team (BIT), popularly know as the 'Nudge Unit'.

Toby Park leads the energy and sustainability work at BIT (Behavioural Insights Team), covering topics as diverse as domestic energy use, sustainable transport and wider pro-environmental behaviours including recycling, food consumption, air quality and water conservation. The energy and sustainability team also work closely with the productivity and economic growth team, with an interest in promoting sustainable business practice and green growth. Toby also works with our consumers team supporting our housing work.

Toby’s background is originally in engineering, having spent a number of years running environmental impact assessments and acoustic design work for architectural and building services clients. He returned to academia to focus on social and cognitive psychology before joining BIT in 2014. He holds Masters degrees in Engineering (1st class) and Psychology (distinction).

The event will be chaired by Stavroula Kousta, Chief Editor of Nature Human Behaviour

What to expect?

The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted to the gallery.

By booking to attend events at the Royal Institution, you confirm that you have read and agree to the Ri's event terms and conditions.

The Merit Club members receive an exclusive 20% discount from the Royal Institution.

Date: 17th July 2019

Location: The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS

Investment: £10 ( £6 saving )

Please note, this event is not organised by The Merit Club

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Earlier Event: July 17
Social Breakfast