Blog: Social Brain's Autumn Update - RSA

Blog: RSA Social Brain's autumn update


  • Behaviour change
  • Climate change
  • Social brain

Summer may be drawing to a close, but with so much happening in the behavioural science arena, the Social Brain team is gearing up for an exciting autumn. With several events on the horizon, our work on climate change soon to be published, and new projects getting under way, we’re looking forward to the next few months. So what’s on the agenda?

What we’re up to…

First up, the RSA Student Design Award briefs will be launched on September 1st. The SDAs are the RSA’s flagship design challenge and have been around for 90 years. We’re delighted that our recent report about the behavioural hurdles to financial capability,Wired for Imprudence, is the core theme of one of the briefs. This brief, and all of the other 2015/16 briefs, will be available to view and download online at on 1st September, and in the following weeks the RSA will be hosting launch events in London and Edinburgh.



Coming soon, the Social Brain team will be releasing its newest report as part of its project on climate change. In the report, Jonathan uses the seven dimensions of climate change to explore the divestment movement. Keep an eye on the RSA website for this over the next few weeks.

Alongside this, we’re also starting up some new partnerships and research projects, including, among other things, an exploration of how behavioural insight might be applied to some of our most pressing health challenges. We plan on posting blogs and updates over the next several months, so do keep reading.


Maybe see you at…

On Sept 1st, Harvard professor Max Bazerman will be speaking at a London Behavioural Economics Network (LBEN) and London School of Economics (LSE) joint event. I’m really looking forward to this, not least because Bazerman is a leading thinker in the field, but also because the want/should conflict is among his many contributions - and so much of human behaviour is finding the right balance between doing what you want to do and what you think you should do. I’ve written previously about how want vs should could be mapped onto similar axes of happiness now vs happiness later. This talk will be on the morality of joint versus separate decisions.

Then, Sept 2nd and 3rd sees the second annual behavioural exchange conference (BX2015) here in London, hosted by the Behavioural Insights Team. The programme looks great, with many of the world’s leading behavioural science thinkers due to attend, speak, and exchange ideas – many of whom have previously spoken at the RSA (see, for example, the RSA replay videos for: Dan Ariely, Steven Pinker, Robert Cialdini, Lord Nicholas Stern, Varun Gauri). The RSA Social Brain team will be attending the conference, so if any readers are also there please do come find us to say hello.

Fast forward to November, when the Nobel laureate Robert Shiller will return to the RSA to introduce his newest book, co-authored by George Akerlof, about how people and organisations use our emotional and cognitive capacities, and information, to influence our economic behaviour (and not always to our advantage).  


Say hello…

So it is set to be a very busy autumn for us, but as always, we’re keen to hear your thoughts and for you to engage with our research

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