Social Butterflies: reclaiming the positive power of social networks

Hosted by the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science

Old Theatre, LSE Old Building, Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom


Michael Sanders

Associate Fellow of the Blavatnik School of Government

Susannah Hume

Associate Director at King's College London


Dr Grace Lordan

Associate Professor in Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science

Join Michael Sanders and Susannah Hume in a discussion about their ground-breaking book "Social Butterflies: Reclaiming the Positive Power of Social Networks", chaired by LSE Associate Professor Dr Grace Lordan. This event will bring the authors to a public audience to examine how we are influenced by the people and networks around us and how we can understand human nature to drive positive goals.

We’re all social animals. From early civilizations to the present day, we exist in an increasingly tangled web of social threads that we rely on for our survival. But in the modern, hyperconnected world, our likes and dislikes have taken on a new prominence and power. Now our basic human need to belong increasingly overrides our better judgement, exposing us to manipulation by everyone from tech firms to aspiring politicians. But this is just part of the story of social influence. At a time when our trust in each other is being destroyed on a global scale, it’s never been more important to understand the motivations behind our natural instincts and use our predictable behaviours to drive positive change. Rather than seeing human nature as weaknesses to be overcome, it’s time to employ it as a reliable asset to achieve our most important goals.

Michael Sanders is Chief Scientist and Head of Research, Evaluation and Social Action at the Behavioural Insights Team. Michael is an Associate Fellow of the Blavatnik School of Government, where he teaches Behavioural Science and Policy. He is an affiliate of the Harvard Behavioural Insights Group and holds an MSc in Economics and Public Policy, and a PhD in Economics, both from the University of Bristol.

Susannah Hume is an Associate Director at King’s College London, and former Principal Research Advisor at the Behavioural Insights Team. She has dedicated her career to promoting education and political empowerment among young people, with a multidisciplinary background in political science and public policy, statistical methods, behavioural economics, business and English, including an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

This event is hosted by the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE. Our department conducts research and teaching into human psychology and behaviour, leading the way on innovative research techniques in the field, the lab, and everywhere in between. Follow us on @PsychologyLSE #socialbutterflies


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