Research Activity & Results
NIBS brings together internationally renowned economists, psychologists, computer scientists and complexity scientists with track records of multilateral collaboration at three major centres for behavioural social science. These are the:
This provides the hub for a broader behavioural research network, involving both a wider range of disciplines and world class researchers from North America and Europe.
The Network has four main objectives, which are to:
- draw on cross-disciplinary knowledge and methods to develop and promote high quality theoretical, empirical and applied research on behaviour and behaviour change
- make an important contribution to capacity building in behavioural science via the development and nurturing of a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers
- promote high quality, policy relevant work, which will inform dialogue on the appropriate policy context for understanding behaviour and behaviour change
- develop and sustain an innovative knowledge transfer and communication strategy.
Different social sciences provide strikingly different accounts of the underpinnings and dynamics of human behaviour. These perspectives capture aspects of the truth, but considerable work is needed to properly bridge between them.
Our goal is to create a more integrated science of behaviour, leading to tractable, useable models featuring agents with properties based on well-established cognitive principles, and to apply this new synthesis to policy. For example, the UK government’s Behavioural Insight Unit is dedicated to using insights from behavioural science to develop policy; and several governments are placing faith in ‘nudging’ to achieve policy goals. Yet, in the absence of clearly articulated and properly tested theoretical underpinnings, these approaches to policy formulation risk being ad hoc, normatively ungrounded or even counter-productive.
Our objectives are broad and ambitious. In pursuit of them, we aim to establish and operate an interdisciplinary network that will develop collaborative research, focussing on four inter-related themes. The first two explore questions of basic science whilst the second two draw out policy implications of the basic science.
Initial cross-disciplinary sub-groups have been established across the Network to take forward strands of the research. These sub-groups are able to bid for funds from the Network in a twice-yearly call. Progress from the sub-groups is regularly monitored and research outputs are noted. This can include publications and discussion papers or any activity which contributes to the over-arching objectives of NIBS.