Behavioural science has contributed greatly to understanding how and why the epidemic of smoking has evolved throughout the 20th century. The perusal on the subject has also elucidated various tools to help society to extricate itself from the tenacious grip of this public health disaster.
We have witnessed some marvellous innovations in the field of technology, and this evolution combined with better insights into human behaviour further has enhanced our living standards.
In the last decade, behavioural science has become mainstream. Can you believe that it is now over seventeen years since “Daniel Kahneman” won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002 for his contributions in founding and developing the field of behavioural science with “Amos Tversky”. The duo fought hard to change established and entrenched notions in both psychology and economics, during the 1970s and 1980s.
It is also hard to believe that it is over ten years since “Richard Thaler” and “Cass Sunstein” published their bestselling book ‘Nudge’. The book revolutionized the way we think about the choice and decision-making of people. It ultimately helped in launching the concept of behavioural insights team.
The momentum behind the subject has only continued with growth in its application over years. It picked up even more recognition when “Richard Thaler” won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2017. Robert Cialdini, psychologist and the author of ‘Influence’, another classic bestseller on the behavioural science application once said, “Behavioural science is no temporary fling”. The field is not only established but is getting integrated with other disciplines, teams, and technology such as technology, machine learning, and neuroscience.
The rapid growth of the field can be best explained by its timing; the new insights came when there was a general dissatisfaction and surge in frustration that rational models were not elucidating behaviour and that attitudinal understanding was not leading to change in behaviour.
It is a scientific model of human behaviour which acknowledges and embraces the inherent cognitive biases and distortions that often characterise judgements and decision making of human, recognising that much of what influenced our thought process is taking place subconsciously. It emphasizes the significance of habits in our lives- automatic behaviours that we do without a second thought, cued by the surrounding around us, of social and cultural effects as we try to fit in with society. Furthermore, it sheds light on how much decisions can be unbeknown to us and the information and choices are presented to us.
Tversky and Kahneman, originally identified concepts such as ‘framing’ and ‘anchoring’ to illustrate how small and subtle differences in questions or choices are explained, which can drastically affect our decisions. The concept of anchoring explains how we fix on a particular piece of information as a reference point, and then navigate from it to decision-making. It is hard to know what to choose without a reference point and we can be unsure of what to do, whereas, framing elucidates the level of influence by how much information is presented and made salient to us. Knowing about the two concepts in detail from the top behavioural science assignment help through guided sessions experts at My Assignment Services.
Have you ever noticed that we also rely on mental shortcuts for decision-making? We do not always have the time or inclination to critically evaluate everything systematically. So, when we are making a choice or judgements, we often ignore information, preferring to use basic rules of thumb or heuristics, to aid us to decide faster and more easily. Some of these are hardwired through evolutionary processes and others are learned through experience.
There are other heuristics or shortcuts as well. It comprises concepts such as ‘availability bias’ or ‘affect bias’ to aid us to make a decision either rightly or wrongly.
Furthermore, we tend to get attracted towards the status quo and stick with what has already been pre-selected for us, or what we have provisionally opted for. According to various researches, descriptive social norms-what others are doing to people can change or nudge their behaviour. Human beings have the tendency to conform- to adopt the opinions and follow the majority’s behaviour.
Behavioural science has brought a breakthrough in thinking and our approach. It has provided a structure for what we may have done intuitively along with robust vocabulary and various methodological tools to explore and navigate the behaviour of consumers. Furthermore, it has allowed us to better understand consumer behaviour to get better equipped for predicting and explaining behaviour, providing a more robust basis for strategic decision making.
Moreover, this understanding has enabled us to systematically consider ways to nudge or change behaviour. The aforementioned concepts provide us with a multi-faceted toolbox to design interventions to influence behaviour. The two elements mentioned have upended the world of marketing, consumer insight, and research. This gave the field the fuel it needed to grow exponentially. Do you know global corporations like Google, Prudential, Uber, PepsiCo, etc. apply insights from behavioural science to form a better understanding and influence their consumers to make decisions amongst their teams effectively?
Did you know of the aforementioned examples? Do you want to know more about such occurrences? Visit the best online assignment writing platform to avail of behavioural science assignment help through guided sessions.
We can also witness the applications of behavioural science strongly embedded in the public sector as well. There are now more than 200 behavioural insights team within government across the globe such as the behavioural insight team in Australia, etc.; it focuses on the application of behavioural insights for the improvement of public policy. Moreover, organisations such as The World Bank, Oxfam, and UNICEF also apply behavioural science to make their work effective.
Various behavioural science practitioners have developed and honed frameworks and models for the application of behavioural science in a rigorous, systematic way, for example, there is the COM-B model developed by University College London and the B=MAT model developed by Stanford professor and behavioural psychologist BJ Fogg.
Behavioural science has brought new understanding, insights, and approaches that are being applied in various sectors such as healthcare, regulation, public policy, finance, and tech to international aid.
The field is all about continued learning as it is with any other science. Many behavioural scientists are building on original learning, bringing further nuance and precision to this field, ultimately enabling more accurate insight into our behaviours. Its dynamic nature is incredibly exciting, offering new opportunities for anyone studying behaviour changes.
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Albert Freddie is an educational technologist who has worked at the department of industry, innovation, and science, then joined a private institute to teach students about energy, and resources. He loves to write blogs and articles to help students in providing guidance in the subject area and assignments.
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