Behaviour change

Understanding human behaviour is central to business and to public policy. We work with government, local authorities, businesses and charities to apply behavioural insight to help them understand their audiences and customers.

These insights demonstrate that there are two broad ways of thinking about individual behaviour:

  • The first is based on influencing what people consciously think about. This is sometimes called the ‘cognitive’ model. The presumption is that we will analyse the incentives offered to us, and act in ways that reflect our best interests. We can therefore influence behaviour by providing more information and changing minds.
  • The contrasting model focuses on the automatic processes of judgement the way we respond to the environment. This shifts the focus of attention away from facts and information, and towards the context within which people act. This is called the ‘context’ model of behaviour.

The basic principal of behavioural economics is that society is largely guided not by perfect information and logic, nor considered decision-making, but by instinctive – and often reactive – mental shortcuts (known as ‘heuristics’).

Heuristics are used to make decisions when there is too much information, or too little time, or when a situation is particularly complex or uncertain. While they are incredible useful in a variety of situations, they can also led to systematic and predicable biases. For example, large plates give us a cue to eat more food, we have a natural preference for stories over statistical evidence, and we are highly influenced by social norms and the actions of those around us.

We use our knowledge of the two alternative systems of human behaviour, allied with cutting edge practice from the field, to design effective behaviour change strategies.

For further details, contact us or visit our training page.