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The Social Brain project is starting to gain some traction it seems. First of all it got a mention in a Guardian leader, then Madelaine Bunting wrote a really interesting article laying out pretty much its remit. I have a number of presentations coming up this autumn to various audiences. So it's nice to see the brave gamble the RSA took on this project paying off.

The Social Brain project is starting to gain some traction it seems. First of all it got a mention in a Guardian leader, then Madelaine Bunting wrote a really interesting article laying out pretty much its remit. I have a number of presentations coming up this autumn to various audiences. So it's nice to see the brave gamble the RSA took on this project paying off.

But what is really exciting is the deliberative research we are about to start in October. For the last few months a 'wiki' has been created laying out the most important insights of the neuro- and behavioural sciences, and weaving them into an accessible and (hopefully) clear series of metaphors and examples. This document is an achievement in itself, as it has been created with the help of a steering group of experts from various fields and will hopefully provide some thought leadership. But what we do next with it is in my opinion more exciting. Whereas Nudge rather paternalistically changes 'choice architecture' - of course, not too paternalistically, as free choice is not taken away just shaped by the way it is offered - our aim is to go though some learning and discussion sessions with a number of different cohorts of people and ask them to think creatively about how the new knowledge might inform what they do. So we want to empower people to change their own behaviour. Of course, this is risky: they might just turn round and say 'I knew all this already', or 'interesting but so what?' Well, we took a risk getting this far so there's no point in playing it safe from here on in!

By the way, as mentioned in Madelaine Bunting's article, a pamphlet detailing the findings of the first (desktop research) phase of the project is due out soon. I'll keep you posted.

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