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Department of Psychological
and Behavioural Science
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London WC2A 3LJ

Champa Heidbrink
Department Manager

Jacqueline Crane
Service Delivery Manager - MSc Programmes:
Department contact for issues relating directly to MSc study
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7995

Terri-Ann Fairclough
PhD Programme and Communication Administrator:
Department contact for issues relating directly to PhD study
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7700

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MSc Psychology of Economic Life

Aims for the programme

To present a social psychological approach different and complementary to the rational choice models which depict economic actors as information processors whose behavior can be understood independently of specific contexts.

Framed by our distinctive brand of societal psychology, the programme pays particular attention to the social environments that enable and support positive behavior change in settings characterized by cultural diversity, a need for sustainability and alternative models to growth.

Beyond Homo Economicus, we consider Homo Sapiens with its rationality, but also with its embodied, emotional, social and cultural dimensions as well as the cognitive characteristics and drives inherited from evolutionary psychology.

Our framework acknowledges the importance of context and socio-technical constraints but uses psychology to explain social-psychological aspects of economic phenomena considers (e.g., competition, cooperation, transaction, gift, value, culture, taboo trade-off, employment, resistance, poverty, motivation, participation, attitude towards risk, decision-making, communication, creativity, innovation, nudging, information processing, etc.)

Particular attention will be given to the role played by identity, dialogue and representation in shaping those forms of communication, collective decision-making and social participation that mediate in settings including consumers, providers, non-profit organizations and new alternative models for economic activities.

Programme outcomes: knowledge and understanding; skills and other attributes

This MSc will provide the students with psychological knowledge to analyse economic phenomena and business models, and also tools for change management and improving the systems, in the domains of creativity and innovation, consumer behaviour, decision-making, corporate communication, non-profit economics and economic life in general. It will also provide students with rhetoric instruments to discuss and critique some aspects of the current economic discourse (useful to “sell” their recommendations in organisations).

It will provide students with skills to understand, criticize, improve and change current economic systems and organisations by using social-psychological mechanisms. More precisely it will provide students with:

a) Capacity to analyse current socio-economic systems/phenomena with a psychological perspective (motivation of actors, main psychological mechanisms at work, risks opportunities and leverage linked to these mechanisms). This skill is based on the knowledge of theories and of how they apply to key economic phenomena involved in most economic situations; and on the training of providing recommendations and building strategies based on a psychological analysis, provided in the core and option courses.

b) Ability to have a critical eye on current perspectives and discourses on economic phenomena. This skill is based on the knowledge of the limitations of current models. It is necessary to debate with stakeholders and make the case with decision-makers.

c) Fluency in providing solutions inspired by social psychology. This skill is based in the knowledge of psychological theories, of change processes, and of writing memos of recommendations to CEOs.

Contacts: s.lahlou@lse.ac.uk; f.basso@lse;ac.uk

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Professor Saadi Lahlou
Director of the Psychology of Economic Life programme