This image is a good representation of how I see behavioural science resources at the moment. Being a list fan and a natural organiser I find it a bit confusing. This article has two aims; 1) to gather together the current resources that manage the world of behavioural science and 2) a call to the wider behavioural science community to think about the need for a society similar to the market research society to support and lead people practising behsci techniques and young people coming into the field, to endorse educational courses and be a recognised central hub of information.
There are some amazing people out there doing some great work to both share resources, gather the community together and inform of upcoming events. As you will see below, these resources are wide-reaching and extremely useful. What is lacking so far in this field is a good umbrella society for newcomers to the subject and a recognised professional body. A good model would be The Market Research Society in the UK. This is a professional body with individual and company members. They have a code of conduct, specialist training, awards and advice on best practices. Its establishment in 1946 is very similar to where behavioural science is now:
“1946 — The Market Research Society is born on 5th November in the offices of the London Press Exchange. With 23 founder members, the early meetings operated as luncheon club where practitioners of market research — very much a fledgling discipline — meet to learn the business and keep in touch with industry developments.” (https://www.mrs.org.uk/about/history)
There is a need for a society for members who join a behavioural science agency or who are practising behavioural science techniques in a larger company(not all staff are behavioural scientists, they may be psychologists, anthropologists, economists or, heaven forbid, unqualified enthusiasts well-read and learned in the subject!). For example, leaving university with a degree in psychology, behavioural science, economics and wanting to work in the field — where would you become a member to connect with others in the field, do practical certificates, listen to talks? For example, joining a company in a junior admin role, working up the company and being interested in recognised certificates. A body that issues awards recognised by the whole industry.
At present, there is no individual membership that meets these needs or a place for recognised courses to train in the subject to give recognised certificates etc. There’s no one online published directory of agencies like the MRS handbook. It’s a bit of a treasure chest of resources for those in the know. This is a call for a sharing of ideas on this subject.
Behavioural Science Resources:
Twitter accounts to follow all available by this link here: Behavioural Science
- Behaviouraleconomics.com is a fantastic resource. Established by Alain Samson it is a behavioural science hub hosting information, discussions and resources and is as close to what is needed. It presumes a certain amount of pre-knowledge, is very academic and does not host information for people interested in starting out in the subject. That said, it is a brilliant resource.
They publish an annual behavioural economics guide with contributions by leading academics and practitioners in the field of behavioural science. They host a training course, the Certificate in Applied Behavioral Science Ethics, share insights articles in a blog once a month, have a jobs page and a great resources page.
The resources include a LinkedIn group of over 50, 000 members, an events page for online and in-person conferences, a great article from 2014 by Alain Samson ‘An Introduction to Behavioral Economics’ and a tab for behavioural science concepts. There is an extensive list of post-graduate programs, popular books, recommended TED Talks and scholarly journals on the subject.
2. Samuel Salzer is a leading behavioural designer in the field and hosts the very good Habit Weekly Newsletter. Subscribe to the newsletter for useful downloads and gain access to list collections of the best book, courses, jobs, best content, conferences and an ebook. Samuel also has a podcast with Aline Holzwarth, ‘The Behavioral Design Podcast’.
3. The Behavioral Scientist is a non-profit digital magazine. It hosts excellent articles written by leading voices in the field as well as the magazine’s team of writers and hosts the excellent notable books list twice annually in the summer and at the end of the year. They have a weekly newsletter and it is well worth subscribing to this magazine.
4. In terms of member organisations, The Global Association of Applied Behavioural Scientists (GAABS) is the newest group and is serving as a way to recognise those who are qualified in behavioural science in an unregulated field and to issue the GAABS recognised badge.
Aimed at applied practitioners in the private sector, to join as an individual you must have two of the following: an approved post-graduate training programme, two relevant publications in journals or books, a teaching position on a Behavioural Science related course, and endorsement of three members or a contribution to the field through an impact statement outlining practical applications.
Behavioural science agencies or teams within organisations can join if they have a portfolio of projects developed within the domain of applied behavioural science, and at least two-thirds of team members meet the criteria for individual membership.
5. The global applied behavioural science network Diversifi is a collaborative network of applied practitioners from eighteen organisations. They have cross-cultural expertise and cover all continents.
6. Action Design Network was founded in 2012 to promote the application of behavioural science, behavioural economics, and psychology to the development of products, services, programs, and public policy. With over 20,000 members they previously hosted in-person monthly speaker events in cities across the US. They also support a podcast, a blog, publishing, industry research, conferences, and other services in support of their members, our field, and the world.
A major contribution is the collection of data on global behavioural teams with a searchable map and table by name, location and organisation type (gov/non-profit/ private etc.). The list is completed by survey completion and is not complete but with over 600 organisations listed it is a great resource. There is also a report available.
They recently created a resource for the Spanish-speaking community of behavioural scientists Communidad and have created a LinkedIn group, Action Design Network Latin America.
Action Design press has published a free downloadable ebook ‘Building Behavioural Science in an Organisation’.
7. Nudgestock is an annual behavioural science festival hosted by Ogilvy Consulting. The YouTube video recording from 2013–2021 videos are available here and are well worth watching for the talks by the leading voices in the subject. There are recordings from 2014–2021.
8. A new global diverse festival hosted by Prakash Sharma was created in 2020. The Now! Fest is run to bring voices from all over the world and to have a wider remit. An exciting new event to follow the recordings are available here.
9. Online courses are a great way to learn and access behavioural science. 42Courses hosts four excellent courses. These are Behavioural Economics and Applied Behavioural Science hosted by Rory Sutherland along with many other leading voices in the field, Behavioural Science For Brands with Richard Shotton and Behavioural Science For Effective Messaging hosted by Patrick Fagan.
There are single-course fees or a much better value Yearly All Access Pass which includes subscriber-only live speaker events with leaders in their fields twice a month.
10. Another recommended course is that hosted by Mindworx; The Behavioural Economics & Psychology in Marketing. It is extremely comprehensive, includes behavioural science in practice examples, has downloadable course notes and excellent video tutorials from Rory Sutherland, Sam Tatam and the course designer Matej Sucha.
11. ABSA -The Applied Behavioural Science Association is a new group established in 2021 with the aim to “foster a community that works together to make behavioral science more accessible, inclusive, and impactful.” You can subscribe to their newsletter and follow their progress.
Quicklist additional useful links: all worth signing up to their newsletters and following on Twitter.
BSPA- Behavioural Science & Policy Association -A global community of social & behavioural science researchers and practitioners promoting the application of rigorous behavioural science to policy and practice.
Ideas 42 is a non-profit that uses insights from behavioural science to improve lives, build better systems and policies, and drive social change with teams in USA, Africa, Mexico & India.
The Center for Social Norms & Behavioral Dynamics at UPenn headed up by Christine Bicchieri with NoBeC talks (Norms and Behavioral Change) which showcase interdisciplinary early career and senior researchers working on norms and behavioural change around the world.
Irrational Labs with Dan Ariely and Kristen Berman for behavioural economics projects and Bootcamp.
The Center for Advanced Hindsight out of Duke Uni has tons of resources, links to free courses.
The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) using insights from behavioural science to encourage people to make better choices for themselves. Social purpose company, also known as The Nudge Unit.
The BVA Nudge Unit operates out of the Paris office but has satellite offices in NY, Singapore, China, UK & LatAm with links for free download of their book “Applying & Instilling Behavioral Science”.
The Centre for Utilising Behavioural Insights for Children (CUBIC) launched in 2020 at Save The Children is the first behavioural insights initiative or “nudge unit” in the world to focus on the most marginalised children’s rights and welfare and published The Little Jab Book , 18 behavioral science strategies for increasing vaccination uptake with Busara.
Busara in Kenya has a very good applied case study page.
The Chicago Booth Center for Decision Research is at the forefront of behavioural science, studying how individuals form judgments and make decisions. Links here to talks and also the newly opened Mindworks, the world’s first discovery centre and lab dedicated to behavioural science in Chicago.
BEAR — Behavioral Economics in Action at Rotman is headed up by Dilip Soman and has regular talks and new publications.
The Behavioural Architects work in the consumer field using behavioural sciences and behavioural economics to understand consumer behaviour and ways to influence it. They have a good page of behavioural science concepts.
As you can see, there are some amazing resources out there, many established for a good number of years and publishing books and running courses. Please message me here in LinkedIn with extra resources I should include and your views/ ideas.