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The latest news from the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE

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Framing plant-based food with personal or planetary health benefits has positive spillover effects to charitable donations, new study finds 

21 October 2021

New research from Dr Ganga Shreedhar and Dr Matteo Galizzi (LSE) provides insights about framing behavioural interventions to motivate sustainable actions and their potential spillover and carryover effects. Out now in Environmental Psychology.

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Work has become 'more intense' for world's science journalists, new report suggests

21 October 2021

A major international study, co-authored by Professor Martin W. Bauer (LSE), looking into science journalism suggests that work has become ‘more intense’ for professionals around the world, but that the vast majority still see themselves staying in their occupations for the foreseeable future.

Read our news article on the Global Science Journalism Report 2021 here.

Access the report in full on the SciDev.Net website here.

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Parsimony in model selection: Tools for assessing fit propensity

18 October 2021

New research from Michael Muthukrishna (LSE) and Carl Falk (McGill) shines a light on the role of parsimony in current approaches to model selection, and offers an R package (ockhamSEM) for researchers to better understand and evaluate fit propensity.

'Parsimony in model selection: tools for assessing fit propensity', in Psychological Methods here.

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New behavioural research explores engagement with wildlife conservation adverts on social media

5 October 2021

New research explores the importance of storytelling in increasing engagement with wildlife conservation adverts on social media, but highlights that there is still a gap in this leading to donations. This is the finding from new research by Dr Ganga Shreedhar.

Read our research article here.

Read the paper in full in Conservation Science and Practice here.

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Professor Paul Dolan to speak at the Conservative Party Conference 2021

4 October 2021

On 4 October 2021 at 1.00pm (BST), Professor Dolan, Science and Tech Committee Chair Greg Clark MP, Steve Baker MP and Laura Trott MP will speak at the Conservative Party Conference 2021 to discuss the perils of groupthink and how Government can make better decisions. Watch the discussion live on YouTube here

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A large amount of smartphone use takes place on a locked screen

29 September 2021

The paper, authored by Dr Maxi Heitmayer, provides a systematic description of locked use, the context in which it occurs, and makes suggestions for thinking about smartphone use based on duration and intensity of interactions.

Access the paper in full here.

Read the news story about this research here.

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Michael Muthukrishna to speak at the World Bank's Fifth Future of Government event

28 September 2021

On Wednesday 29 September, Dr Michael Muthukrishna will join an online panel discussion: 'How will citizens' trust in government be affected?', for the fifth Future of Government event hosted by the World Bank.

Event details:

Wednesday 29 September 2021

8.30am (EST), 1.30pm (London time)

Event details and registration can be found via the World Bank website here.

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Julia Buzan awarded Cumberland Lodge Fellowship

23 September 2021

Julia Buzan, PhD candidate in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE, has been awarded a Cumberland Lodge Fellowship, awarded to doctoral students who are firmly committed to promoting social progress.

Read more about Julia and the research she does to support this work as a Cumberland Lodge Fellow here

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New research explores Covid-19 vaccine intention in the Netherlands

16 September 2021

Vaccine intention increased in the Netherlands between November 2020 and March 2021. New research suggests that national shifts in COVID-19 vaccination beliefs predict COVID-19 shifts in vaccination intention, which could be supported by reliable, national informational campaigns. 

Out now in Euro Surveillance, led by Dr Jet G. Sanders.

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New research on how people engage with wildlife conservation messaging on social media

15 September 2021

People are more likely to engage with social media advertisements by wildlife conservation organisations when the messaging focusses on the negative impact of human behaviour, and when the species has been used less often in these types of stories. However, increased engagement did not result in donations.

New research from Dr Ganga Shreedhar, out now in Conservation, Science and Practice. Read the article here.

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Dr Thomas Curran speaks to BBC Three about the damaging effects of perfectionism

14 September 2021

Dr Curran appeared on the BBC Three programme Hayley Goes to discuss the impact that striving for perfection has on young people's mental health. Watch Hayley Goes Filter Free on BBC Three here.

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Religion binds people culturally across geographic borders

9 September 2021

People who share the same religious beliefs have unique, common, cultural traits, that persist across geographic and political boundaries.

This is the key finding from new research by York University (Canada), the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of British Colombia. Read the press release here.


New paper reviews the evolutionary literature on cooperation

7 September 2021

Dr Michael Muthukrishna reviews the evolutionary literature on cooperation both across societies and through history, and considers ways it can be applied in policies for reciprocity across the lifecycle, including pensions and welfare. Read The Ties that Bind Us in LSE Public Policy Review.

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Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch to deliver keynote address for the 15th International Conference on Social Representations

This online conference will take place from 9 September to 11 September 2021. Professor Jovchelovitch will provide a keynote address on the topic From Tradition to Twitter and Back: self, social representations and the new psychology of the public sphere.

The ICSR 2021 conference is free and open to all. Please find the full schedule (in French) here including Zoom registration details.


Replication of research into intergroup biases, Letter to the Editor in Psychological Science

August 2021

Dr Ilka Gleibs and Dr Nihan Albayrak-Aydemir report on the outcomes of a test to replicate major findings concerning intergroup biases and conflict. They highlight some of the major research and policy implications of these findings, including designing effective interventions that better support novel groups such as refugees and minorities. Read the 'Letter to the Editor' in Psychological Science here.


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Workers are increasingly seeking to redress work-life balance post-pandemic

27 August 2021

"We’re seeing more ‘quits’ in corporate companies linked to work-life balance because people are more willing to fight for it", says Dr Grace Lordan in this article for Wired UK. Read the article in full here.

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PBS academics on how the pandemic has rewired our brains

26 August 2021

Professor Liam Delaney and Professor Paul Dolan spoke to the Financial Times about why some people have reverted to comfort-seeking behaviours or, "treat brain", during the pandemic. Read Treat brain: how the pandemic is rewiring our brains here.

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PBS academic launches new scientific journal: Seeds of Science

19 August 2021

Seeds of Science, co-founded by Dr Dario Krpan (PBS at LSE), aims to address some of the issues in academic publishing by providing a unique peer-reviewed platform for non-traditional scientific writing. Visit the Seeds of Science website for more information and to contribute.

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The ABCDE framework for better decision-making

12 August 2021

A new five-step framework, proposed by Professor Paul Dolan and Amanda Henwood, aims to help decision-makers avoid the narrative traps that can negatively impact some areas of society. 

Read the press release.

Access the article 'Five Steps Towards Avoiding Narrative Traps in Decision-Making' in Frontiers in Psychology.

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COVID-19 and risk-taking behaviours

11 August 2021

The authors investigated if and how different parts of the population differ in their willingness to take various types of risk during the pandemic, published in Frontiers in Psychology in April 2021, here.

Read the blog post about this research for the LSE School of Public Policy here.

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Grace Lordan on utilising behavioural science for career progression in the Financial Times

5 August 2021

Dr Grace Lordan writes about some of the cognitive biases that hamper career progression. Read 'How to get your career moving: lessons from a behavioural scientist' in the Financial Times.

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Book publication: The Psychology of Social Influence

22 July 2021

'The Psychology of Social Influence: Modes and Modalities of Shifting Common Sense' by Dr Gordon Sammut (University of Malta, LSE Visiting Fellow) and Professor Martin W. Bauer (LSE) brings together the full range of modalities of social influence - from crowding, leadership, and norm formation to resistance and mass mediation - to set out a challenge-and-response 'cyclone' model. Published by Cambridge University Press.

Find out more about 'The Psychology of Social Influence' here.

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A new framework highlights dual role of genetics and culture in inheritance

13 July 2021

The framework, set out in a forthcoming paper by Ryutaro Uchiyama, Rachel Spicer and Michael Muthukrishna (all of the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE), uses a dual inheritance approach to predict how cultural factors – such as technological innovation – can affect heritability. 

Read the press release by LSE here.

Access the paper 'Cultural Evolution of Genetic Heritability', forthcoming in Behavioral and Brain Sciences here.

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Research on the vital role of grandmothers to support maternal mental health 

13 July 2021

Grandmothers provide vital scaffolding that helps support maternal mental health, nutrition and infant feeding practices, particularly in low-income families, according to new research conducted in Colombia, led by Natalia Concha and Sandra Jovchelovitch (LSE). Read the article in Maternal and Child Nutrition here.

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Michael Muthukrishna hosts Science in the Time of Cancel Culture for BBC Radio 4

12 July 2021

Listen to Science in the Time of Cancel Culture for Analysis on BBC Radio 4.

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Grace Lordan speaks to the BBC World Service about the impact of automation on the workplace

9 July 2021

Lordan addresses the fourth industrial revolution and says that access to education will be key to enable more people to navigate it. 

Listen to The Real Story on the BBC World Service here.

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New research on patient safety

8 July 2021

Patient complaints should be integrated with staff incident reporting data to give a more holistic analysis of critical safety incidents and provide greater insight on the many potential factors that may give rise to unsafe care, according to a study out now in the Journal of Health Services and Research Policy.

Jackie Van Dael, Alex Gillespie and Tom Reader used five years of patient complaints and staff incident reporting data at a large multi-site hospital in London.

Read the article Getting the whole story: Integrating patient complaints and staff reports of unsafe care here.

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New research takes a closer look at the origins of moralising religions

8 July 2021

The adoption of moralising religious beliefs may have originated earlier in history and by much smaller populations than a previous study has shown, reveals a fresh analysis of the original data, published in Nature, co-authored by Dr Michael Muthukrishna and Dr Rachel Spicer (LSE). Read the press release.

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Dr Bradley Franks speaks to LSE IQ about research on conspiracy theories

7 July 2021

Listen and download 'Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?' by LSE IQ here.


Dr Grace Lordan discusses research on equality for Bloomberg TV

1 July 2021

Lordan discusses recent research on the limited success for women in the finance sector. Watch the video on Bloomberg TV here.

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Delay lifting Covid-19 restrictions may inflict disproportionate harm on the younger generation, small businesses and the creative industries in the UK

30 June 2021

Professor Paul Dolan (LSE) and Professor Sunetra Gupta (University of Oxford) write for the LSE Covid-19 blog. Read Locked-in syndrome: why this must all end on 19 July here.

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New episodes of the Duck-Rabbit podcast released

28 June 2021

New episodes of the Duck-Rabbit podcast, presented by Professor Paul Dolan, have been released. The new episodes continue on the topic of polarised views and cover issues such as ageing and gender. Start listening to all the episodes on Acast here.


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Dr Miram Tresh receives LSE Class Teacher Award

23 June 2021

Dr Miriam Tresh has been awarded an LSE Class Teacher Award in recognition of her contribution to teaching in 2020-2021. 

Dr Frederic Basso and Dr Matteo Galizzi were highly commended for their teaching. See the full list of awards for 2021 on the LSE Class Teacher Awards website.

To find out more about our programmes across undergraduate, postgraduate, executive and doctoral study, visit the PBS Study pages.

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Michael Muthukrishna speaks to BBC Radio 4 about the nature of originality

23 June 2021

Michael spoke to Matthew Syed about originality, drawing on research into cultural evolution and the "collective brain". Listen to the episode 'Originality Armaggedon' on Sideways from BBC Radio 4, from 00.12.05 here.

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Behavioural science teams must engage more with the public and media about their role in policy

17 June 2021

New research, led by the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE, recommends that behavioural science teams working with governments on pandemic responses should increase their efforts to engage with the public and media narratives on the role of science and its role in policy.

Lessons From the UK's Lockdown: Discourse on Behavioural Science in Times of COVID-19 is out now in Frontiers in Psychology. Access the article here.

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The GOOD FINANCE Framework 

16 June 2021

The GOOD FINANCE Framework, a unique, action-focused framework that aims to create a better work environment for the financial and professional sectors, has been published by Women in Banking and Finance (WIBF), LSE's The Inclusion Initiative (TII) and The Wisdom Council. 

The report aims to help companies in the financial and professional services retain and develop their most talented employees, including women. 

Read The GOOD FINANCE Framework.

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Job opportunity: LSE Fellow in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science

10 June 2021

The Fellow will be part of the team that delivers the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science, and will teach and mark across several courses, including research methods. Find out more about the role of LSE Fellow via the LSE Jobs.

Applications are now closed.

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PBS PhD student awarded research grant 

3 June 2021

Dallas O'Dell, PhD student in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, and PBS alumna Denise Baron, have been awarded a Summer Research Grant by the LSE Phelan United States Centre. The grant will go towards research on topics related to the Centre’s overall mission of promoting internationally-oriented scholarship on America's changing role in the world.

Visit the LSE Phelan United States website.


Volunteering in the NHS: Covid-19 Volunteer Responders Programme significantly increased volunteers’ overall life satisfaction

31 May 2021

Levels of wellbeing increased significantly for individuals who participated in the NHS Volunteer Responders (NHSVR) programme, with effects lasting months after the volunteering period had ended, suggests new research from PBS academics, published by the Centre for Economic Performance. Continue reading.

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Dr Michael Muthukrishna joins the CIFAR Azriele Global Scholars programme

26 May 2021

Muthukrishna joins nineteen outstanding early-career researchers, and has been selected to be part of the Boundaries, Membership & Belonging research programme.

About the programme, Muthukrishna said:

“My research identifies psychological and social levers of innovation and cultural transmission, using a two-pronged approach combining mathematical and computational modeling, and experimental and data science methods that draw on evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, and economics.”

The CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars programme supports outstanding early-career researchers through mentorship, a global network, professional skills, and $100,000 in unrestricted research support for two years. Find out more about the programme on CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars website here.

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LSE research on behavioural genetics and cultural evolution

24 May 2021

New research uses the dual inheritance framework to understand the interaction between genes and culture. The authors use this to predict the ways in which heritability should differ between societies, socioeconomic levels and other groupings within some societies but not others, over the life course.

Read 'Cultural Evolution of Genetic Heritability' in Behavioral and Brain Sciences here.


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Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington joins board of Associate Editors for the British Journal of Psychology

4 May 2021

The British Journal of Psychology, from the British Psychological Society (BPS), publishes original research on all aspects of general psychology. Visit the British Journal of Psychology website.

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London School of Economics and Political Science Recognised in Templeton World Charity Foundation’s $60 Million Commitment for Innovations to Human Flourishing

29 April 2021

Dr Michael Muthukrishna has been selected as one of 11 teams in the Templeton World Charity Foundation’s Grand Challenges for Human Flourishing request for ideas. Keep reading.

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Paul Dolan launches new podcast

26 April 2021

Duck-Rabbit: taking sides, hosted by PBS's Professor Paul Dolan, has been published as part of the LSE's Shaping the Post-Covid World series. Each day until Friday 30 April 2021, a new episode will be published, focussing on a different topic relating to polarisation, from Covid to healthy lifestyles. 

Start listening to the Duck-Rabbit podcast here.

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The Impacts of Commands on Covid-19 Compliant Behaviours

21 April 2021

New research from the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE suggests strong commands made by government officials during the Covid-19 pandemic may have increased people’s intentions to comply with public health orders.

Access the LSE news story Did the UK Government's Direct Messaging During the Early Stages of the Pandemic Work? 

Read the article You Must Stay at Home! The Impact of Commands on Behaviors During COVID-19published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.


The Database of Religious History (DRH) awarded $4.8 million grant

20 April 2021

The Database of Religious History (DRH), a collaboration between the University of British Colombia (UBC) and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), has received a grant of $4.8 million from the John Templeton Foundation in the United States.

Religion remains a large driver of human behaviours in society. For social scientists and policymakers this database could help uncover the religious roots of how different communities engage with the world today, including attitudes towards vaccinations and other healthcare interventions. Read more.

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The psychological impacts of Covid-19 differ for citizens living under pre-existing threat 

12 April 2021

Experiences of Covid-19 are not uniform around the world and, in countries such as Western Libya where armed conflict exists, perceptions of the virus and the psychological impact of preventative measures differ greatly from global averages, suggests a study of over 700 people in Tripoli, Western Libya by Dr Miriam Tresh.

Read the article here.

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Paul Dolan interviewed on lobbying for wellbeing in policy-making decisions

5 April 2021

Professor Paul Dolan spoke to the Telegraph on lobbying for a wellbeing factor in future pandemic policy-making decisions.

Read the article in the Telegraph here.

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Political beliefs shape whether we notice social inequality

30 March 2021

Those on the political left in the US and UK are more likely than those on the right to notice social inequality, but only when it affects typically disadvantaged groups, suggests new research co-authored by Dr Jennifer Sheehy Skeffington.

Read the press release in full here.

Access the paper in full on PNAS here.

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Michael Muthukrishna Awarded APS Rising Star Award

9 March 2021

Dr Michael Muthukrishna, Associate Professor of Economic Psychology in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, has been awarded the Association for Psychological Science 'Rising Star' award, in recognition for innovative work in the field. Find out more about Michael's work here.

Visit the APS website to find out more about the Rising Star award here

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International Women's Day 2021

8 March 2021

To mark International Women's Day (IWD) 2021, PBS faculty, researchers, alumni and students were invited to contribute work that addresses issues affecting gender inequality today. Our page highlights work on women in tech, flexibile working, the gender pay gap, biases, and includes comment from Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington and Dr Natalia Concha.

Visit the PBS International Women's Day page here

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How a focus on wellbeing can help us make better policy decisions

5 March 2021

The government should create a wellbeing impacts agency and a wellbeing commission to enable policymakers to consider citizens’ wellbeing and quality of life in future, state a leading group of LSE academics:

  • Professor Paul Dolan (PBS, LSE)
  • Lord (Richard) Layard, Emeritus Professor of Economics, LSE
  • Lord (Gus) O’Donnell, Chair of Frontier Economics and Visiting Professor, LSE.
  • Professor Liam Delaney (PBS, LSE)
  • Dr Jet. G Sanders (PBS, LSE)
  • Dr Celia Blanco-Jimenez (PBS, LSE)
  • Dr Kate Laffan, Fellow in Behavioural Science, University College Dublin
  • Dr Georgios Kavetsos, Associate Professor in Behavioural Science, QMC London
  • Dr Laura Kudrna, Fellow in Behavioural Science, University of Birmingham.

Read the LSE news story here.

Read the white paper in full here (PDF).

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Will Tokyo 2020 be a worthwhile investment?

In this article for Centre Piece, Dr Chris Krekel (PBS and CEP at LSE) considers whether the wellbeing benefits of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be worth the investment. If the same spillover wellbeing effects seen in the London 2021 Olympics could be matched, the investment would be worth it.

Read Is Tokyo 2020 Worth It? in Centre Piece here.

Read The Host with the Most? The Effects of the Olympic Games on Happiness (2016) Dolan, Kavetsos, Krekel, Mavridis, Senik, Szymanski and Ziebarth here.


Major rise in public support for COVID vaccine

24 February 2021

More than three quarters of people in the UK now say they are ’very likely’ to have the vaccine says new report from University of Oxford and London School of Economics and Political Science, including Professor Martin Bauer (PBS).

Read the full report here.

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Realistic Masks in the Real World: book chapter by Dr Jet G. Sanders

8 February 2021

Dr Jet G. Sanders contributes the book chapter Realistic Masks in the Real World, for the newly released book titled Forensic Face Matching from Markus Bindemann.

Find out more about the book on the Oxford University Press website.


Grace Lordan on disruptive decision-making

8 February 2021

There are no optimal decision-making strategies we can learn in the classroom, we need to view it as a work in progress. Dr Grace Lordan (PBS, The Inclusion Initiative) recently spoke at the 11th virtual India Investment Conference on disrupting decision-making. News story via Big News Network here.


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Dr Tom Curran contributes expertise to new Aardman mental wellbeing campaign

8 February 2021

Aardman Animations have released have a new campaign "What's Up With Everyone?" aimed at encouraging young people to become more aware of their mental wellbeing. PBS' Dr Tom Curran has been part of the research team behind the animation, providing expertise on perfectionism. Read the news story in full on the Aardman website.

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Professor Ben Voyer joins new research chair "Turning Points" with luxury brand Cartier

3 February 2021

PBS Visiting Fellow Professor Ben Voyer joins new research chair "Turning Points" to advance research on emerging business and societal challenges, for the global luxury brand Carier. Read the press release in full here (PDF).

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COVID-19 policies might result in more life-years lost than saved

2 February 2021

The life-years saved from Covid-19 deaths that have been averted as a result of lockdown measures may be fewer than the life-years that will be lost from deaths resulting from curable diseases, according to a new research paper published in the European Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Read more on this paper.


Behavioural science: lessons from lockdown

January 2021

New research led by PBS's Dr Jet Sanders has set to capture public discourse and representation of behavioural science during a time of fast-track and high stakes national policy making: COVID-19.

Read the pre-print of Lessons from lockdown: Media discourse on the role of behavioural science in the UK COVID-19 response here.

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'Eco-guilt' prevents people taking action against climate change

23 January 2021

“Guilt [can lead to people] avoiding the topic of climate change altogether because you’re made to feel like a bad person anytime you’re exposed to any issue about the environment,” says Dr Ganga Shreedhar, speaking to British Vogue.

Read the article in full on the British Vogue website.

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LSE launches new online magazine

18 January 2021

LSE has launched a new online magazine: Research for the Worldfeaturing articles from PBS academics on perfectionism (by Dr Tom Curran) and workplace inclusion (by Dr Grace Lordan).

Read The Problem With Perfection here.

Read Behavioural Science and the City here.

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Micro-targeted campaign strategies effective at navigating complex voters

8 January 2021

New research co-authored by PBS's Dr Jens Koed Madsen, out now in the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, suggests that micro-targeting will become more prevalent in future elections. Understanding their effectiveness is imperative for fair & democratic elections. Read the research in full on the JASSS website.


Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch joins new partnership project to improve mental health services in Colombia

7 January 2021

STARS-C, a new partnership, jointly funded by Minciencias (Colombia) and ESRC/UKRI (UK), aims to build effective mental health provision in Colombian communities heavily affected by armed conflict and help build new roads to peace, using a bottom up, participatory approach.

The project will commence in February 2021.

Continue reading.

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New Years resolutions, the behavioural science behind why we succeed and fail

4 January 2021

Professor Paul Dolan spoke to Euronews about the stories people tell that often lead them to give up on their New Years resolutions. Watch the interview with Euronews here.




Dr Michael Muthukrishna writes about cultural evolution and the paradox of diversity for the National Academy of Engineering. Read the issue here. (18 December 2020)

In this article for Behavioural Public Policy, Dr Stuart Mills advances current theory on 'nudge' and 'sludge' theory, and argues that even greater emphasis should be made in the role of transparency in choice architecture, particularly those in policymaking roles. Read the article in full in Cambridge University Press. (2 December 2020)

A new report, published by the British Psychological Society and the Poverty to Flourishing campaign, shows how psychology can help to inform policies to support children and families. PBS's Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington is a member of the campaign and has explored the impact of poverty on people’s sense of control through her research. Read an article on the report in the January 2021 issue of The Psychologist. (30 November 2020)

A study, led by PBS's Maxi Heitmayer and Professor Saadi Lahlou, finds that 89% of mobile phone use is initiated by the user, and only 11% by notifications. Out now in Computers in Human Behaviour & reported in BBC News here. (23 November 2020)

Remote working has encouraged a shift in perception of what roles can be done flexibly, says a report commissioned by the Women in Banking & Finance network and PBS's Dr Grace LordanRead the article in Bloomberg here. (23 November 2020)

Research by Nihan Albayrak-Aydemir and Dr Ilka Gleibs shows that people are less likely to support global emergencies when the aftermaths are less clear. Read the full story. (14 November 2020)

Dr Grace Lordan has been appointed to the Department for Education’s (DfE) Skills and Productivity Board to advise on enhancing skills and inclusion for a post-COVID-19 economy. Read the story in full here. (13 November 2020)

LSE Behavioural Lab joins the European Commission’s €10million funded PERISCOPE consortium to study the effectiveness of COVID-19 policy messages on compliance behaviours. Read the story in full here. (20 October 2020)

Jess Winterstein speaks to Dr Thomas Curran, Associate Professor at PBS, about the potential pitfalls of wanting to be perfect. Our society values perfection, but is the concept of perfect really that good for us? This episode of LSE IQ explores perfectionism. Listen to the podcast on LSE Player here. (6 October 2020)

Dr Christian Krekel has led research showing that happier people were more compliant with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, while unhappy people were less likely to comply. This research has been co-authored into a blog for LSE, available here. (24 September 2020)

Torben Emmerling and Duncan Rooders, both alumni of Executive MSc Behavioural Science, write about behavioural science strategies that can improve group decision making for Harvard Business Review. Read the article '7 Strategies for Better Group Decision Making' here. (22 September 2020)

A comic strip visualisation of the 2020 article 'Experimental evidence on the impact of biodiversity conservation videos on charitable donations' by Dr Ganga Shreedhar and Professor Susana Mourato from the journal Ecological Economics has been created by artist Joe Decie and published by LSE Library. View and download the cartoon at LSE Research Online. (17 September 2020)

Research co-authored by PBS and the Department of Georgraphy & the Environment at LSE will be presented at an event held by the UK Network of Environmental Economists on 16 September 2020, 12.15pm (BST). The research, co-authored by Dr Ganga Shreedhar, suggests that support for wildlife conservation is boosted when COVID-19 is linked to destruction of nature. Read the full research paper, published in Environmental and Resource Economics here. (16 September 2020)

PBS alumni and faculty including Professor Liam Delaney and Professor Paul Dolan have helped to launch the world's first independent organisation for applied behavioural scientists, GAABS.  More on GAABS here. (2 September 2020)

Dr Grace Lordan, Associate Professor in Behavioural Science, is set to release Think Big, utilizing behavioural insights to help people improve their careers, in 2021 with Penguin. (28 August 2020)

Commitment posters have been used in the US to reduce the number of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. A randomised trial in the UK showed these were ineffective & that an automated message pre-appointment showed more promise. Research led by the Public Health England Behavioural Insights (PHEBI) and co-authored by Dr Jet Sanders (LSE). Read the research in Antibiotics. (11 August 2020)

Happier people are more likely to comply with social distancing and shielding at home orders to help suppress the spread of COVID-19. This is the key finding from a new working paper from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of Oxford, and University College London (UCL). Read the news article here. (7 August 2020)

National attitudes to welfare recipients are related to political and media spheres, suggests a study of UK political speeches from 1996 to 2016 and 168,000 media reports. Read the research here. This research was led by Celestin Okoroji as part of his PhD thesis. (23 July 2020)

Patient compliment letters reveal the value of ‘extra-role’ behaviours and if properly utilised can improve patient safety and staff well-being, a new study from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) suggests. Read the story. (22 July 2020)

Linking the human destruction of the environment to the spread of Covid-19 increases support for pro-wildlife conservation policy, new research from Dr Ganga Shreedhar and Professor Susana Mourato shows. Read the research in Environmental and Resource Economics. (15 July 2020)

Professor Martin W. Bauer speaks on the relationship between the public and science in the context of Covid-19, organised by UFRGS in Brazil. The discussion was held in light of the 2019 publication The Cultural Authority of Science: Comparing across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas available via Routledge here. Access the presentation slides (in English): Martin Bauer for UFRGS 2020 supporting information (6 July 2020)

Tom Reader & Alex Gillespie published a paper in the Journal of Applied Psychology showing that patient care could be improved if patient reports on unsafe clinical behaviours are systematically used as a metric of hospital safety. Read the paper here. (21 June 2020)

In a discussion paper for IZA Institute of Labor Economics, Grace Lordan and Cecily Josten investigate the impact of personality on responses to health policy, in this case the UK smoking ban. Read the paper here. (21 June 2020)

Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington was selected by the British Psychological Society (BPS) to join their Poverty Expert Reference Group, charged with working with their Policy Team to carry forward the Society’s priority focus on ‘From Poverty to Flourishing’. (21 June 2020)

PBS Honorary Fellow Jan Stockdale writes a tribute to Bram Oppenheim, who sadly died on 27 April 2020, one of the founding members of the Department of Social Psychology (now PBS) for the British Psychological Society. Read the tribute on the BPS website here. (17 June 2020)

Students who are suffering from symptoms of burnout, defined as exhaustion, cynicism and reduced efficacy,  achieve worse academic results, according to new research from York St John University and London School of Economics and Political Science, that highlights the need for better strategies to counteract stress. Read more. (16 June 2020)

A paper co-signed by Dr Fauquet-Alekhine & Professor Lahlou (SEBE-Lab has been awarded (laureate level 1) at the XVth International PTSCIENCE CPD Competition for Scientific Works organised by the Panrussian Society for Scientific Development. (13 June 2020)

Only 15% of manuscripts explicitly test results derived from psychological theory, bringing in to question whether researchers are working within a theoretical consensus, claims new research compiled by early career researchers including PBS's Nihan Albayrak-Aydemir. Read the report here. (12 June 2020)

A one-size-fits-all approach to encouraging more compliance with social distancing rules, instead of targeting sub-groups, can be ineffective and may even lead to less compliance, a new working paper led by Dr Dario Krpan has found. Read more on LSE news here. (11 June 2020)

Low-income communities in the United States and Europe can learn from bottom-up development policies - people finding solutions for themselves where the state has faltered - like the grass-roots movements we are seeing in the favelas of Brazil says Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch to the Washington Post. Read more. (10 June 2020)

COVID-19 mental-health responses neglect social realities writes PBS alumna (MSc Health, Community and Development & PhD Social Psychology) Dr Rochelle Burgess who says "labelling a condition doesn’t make the social challenges around it disappear." Read the full article in Nature here. (27 May 2020)

PBS faculty (Dr Christian Krekel) and Professional Services  Staff (Will Stubbs) awarded at the LSE's Teaching Excellence Awards. (20 May 2020)

A report from LSE's The Inclusion Initiative (TII), led by PBS Associate Professor Dr Grace Lordan, identifies best practice for virtual inclusion in City of London firms during the pandemic. Read a blog post on the report on LSE Business Review. (5 May 2020)

The UK government’s policy to suppress the COVID-19 epidemic was expected to prevent around 189,000 incremental deaths, with a monetary value of £380 billion — around 17% of GDP — according to new research from Professor Paul Dolan and Pinar Jenkins. Read more on this story and access the report here. (20 April 2020)

Professor Paul Dolan writes for The Spectator about the social and economic costs, as well as the health costs, involved in the coronavirus lockdown measures. Read the full article on The Spectator here. (9 April 2020)

In this article for CNN International, Dr Michael Muthukrishna comments on the reasons why people may find physical distancing hard based on our complex societal structures. Read the article here. (2 April 2020)

Professor Martin Bauer speaks to Aljazeera about the World Health Organisation's decision to use 'physical distancing' rather than 'social distancing' is better for our mental health. Read the article here. (30 March 2020)

LSE launched The Inclusion Initiative (TII), co-founded by Grace Lordan, Associate Professor in Behavioural Science, and Karina Robinson, Master of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers. TII will tackle inclusion from within the firm itself, offering practical interventions based on academic research that aims to understand why people make the choices they do. Visit The Inclusion Initiative website at (6 March 2020)

In this podcast interview for LSEIQ, Dr Michael Muthukrishna about corruption and the many forms it can come in, from bribery, extortion, cronyism, to nepotism – with varying levels of legality. Listen on SoundCloud. (3 March 2020)

Liam Delaney joins PBS as new Head of Department. Read our news story here. (10 February 2020)

Barry Rogers, Visiting Senior Fellow in PBS, was awarded a gold award for excellency in the 2019 Brandon Hall Group Human Capital Management [HCM] Awards for Excellence in Miami, Florida. (7 February 2020)

The LSE Electoral Psychology Observatory formally launched in February 2020, aiming to understand the psychology of voters. Dr Sandra Obradovic has joined the team, bringing her expertise in political psychology. Read more here on LSE News.

Dr Tom W. Reader and Dr Alex Gillespie's article Patient‐Centered Insights: Using Health Care Complaints to Reveal Hot Spots and Blind Spots in Quality and Safety has been recognised as the most highly cited in The Milbank Quarerly's recent publication history. The article was published 11 September 2018 and is available to read on Wiley Online Library here. (6 February 2020)

Director Petra Costa, who studied MSc Health, Community and Development in 2008 in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science (formerly Department of Social Psychology), has been nominated for Best Documentary for The Edge of Democracy at the 92nd Academy Awards. (14 January 2020)


Dr Ilka Gleibs was interviewed by LSE about her recent research (co-authored with Prof Daniel Frings & Dr Anne M. Ridley of LSEBU) into the challenge of managing different identities and how it can lower undergraduate performance. Read the full interview on the LSE website here. (5 December 2019)

Dr Michael Muthukrishna has written his views on cultural evolutionary public policy, including public policy interventions that aim to tackle harmful traditions such as FGC, for Nature Human Behaviour. Read the article on Nature Human Behaviour here. (5 December 2019).

PBS faculty awarded for excellence in teaching. More information about the LSE Excellence in Education Awards and the full list of winners can be found on the LSE website. (22 November 2019).

Some hyper-realistic face masks more believable than human faces, study suggests. A new study, released in the open-access journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, has found a higher than anticipated error rate amongst participants asked to identify a real face from a hyper-realistic face mask when two photographs are side-by-side. Read more in our news article. (21 November 2019)

Does re-framing health messaging lead to higher patient uptake? "Make the most of your life!" "Don't miss out!"Which message will get you to a health check-up? A new trial, co-authored by Dr Jet. G. Sanders, compared the effectiveness of the NHS Health Check invitation letter with gain- and loss-framed messaging to see how they impacted patient uptake. (18 November 2019)

What moderates the attainment gap? A new study into social identity in higher education. Dr Ilka Gleibs has co-authored an article for Social Psychology of Education looking at the issue of attainment gaps in higher education and specifically the effects of social identity incompatibility and practical incompatibility on the performance of students who are or are not Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME). Read the full article in Springer Link here. (6 November 2019)

Are bankers really that bad? A new study from PBS alumni. A new article out now in Nature has addressed the issue of reproductibility, and the increasing issue of replicating findings in 'inaccessible' environments. Zoe Rahwan studied on the Executive MSc Behavioural Science when it launched in 2014. Read the full article in Nature here. (November 2019)

Why plant-based diets are probably not a fad. To mark World Vegan Day (1 November 2019) LSE news have interviewed experts including PBS's Dr Ben Voyer and PhD student Heidi Zamzow who discuss why plant-based diets are not just a flash in the pan, but have strong links to identity. Read the article on LSE news here. (1 November 2019)

New research on identity among white British Muslims. New research out now in the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) from PBS PhD student Amena Amer, explores the experiences of identity (mis/non) recognition and strategies of identity performance among white British Muslims. Read the paper in full on Wiley Online Library here. (30 October 2019)

Understanding behavioural intervention strategies. Tackling environmental and social sustainability challenges cannot be done without changes in the everyday behaviours of people. Attempts to, for example, reduce energy consumption at home, increase recycling rates, reduce alcohol and prevent bullying, have popularly (an cost-effectively) been addressed by addressing social norms, such as media campaigns to help direct more positive behaviours. Read the article in full here in Sustainability. (21 October 2019)

A report published in Human Resource Management Journal shows that when employees are provided with a supportive environment to express their religious identity in the workplace they experience increased wellbeing and work more efficiently. The report comprises a literature review of 53 publications on religious beliefs and the workplace and is co-authored by Dr Ilka Gleibs. Read the full report on Wiley Online Library here. (19 July 2019)

In this interview for LSE news, Exec MSc Behavioural Science alumni Ian Hadden (lead author) explains how a short series of precisely targeted writing exercises can significantly improve the academic attainment of school students from low-income families, in this new study by a joint research team from PBS and the University of Sussex. Read the interview on LSE news. (9 July 2019)

Dr Grace Lordan has contributed an analysis of Healthy Minds, a research project by the London School of Economics and Bounce Forward into the ultimate secondary school PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) curriculum, in light of the UK Government's plans to expand these subjects further by 2020. Read this piece in LSE Centre Piece here18 July 2019 - you can now read more on this in LSE news. (18 July 2019)

The Emirates Foundation has awarded Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington funding for the project, “Global identity in an uncertain world: A longitudinal study of the development of cosmopolitan social attitudes at an international elite university setting in the Middle East”. The money will fund a longitudinal study of social attitudes in the student population of NYU-Abu Dhabi, to be run in collaboration with PJ Henry at NYU-Abu Dhabi (Psychology) and Christian Haerpfer at United Arab Emirates University (Sociology), commencing in January 2020.

Dr Lucia Garcia-Lorenzo recently spoke at the conference Identity, Creativity and Innovation jointly organised by the Departments of Management and Organisational Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London. The focus of the talk was on how despite entrepreneurship being proposed as a solution to extend working lives in the context of an increasingly ageing population, older entrepreneurs still face discrimination in society and the workplace. Read more about Lucia's research here.

Dr Grace Lordan features in the latest episode of the award winning LSE IQ podcast. On it she talks about her research into gender equality. Listen on LSE player. (18 June 2019)

New research on social influence. Forthcoming research in Personality and Social Psychology Review from Dr Michael Muthukrishna and Dr. Mark Schaller from University of British Columbia uses computational modelling to understand the specific ways in which cross-cultural differences may have long-term consequences for cultural stability and cultural change.

As part of a new publication Responsibility for Refugee and Migrant IntegrationDr Jet Sanders (with Elizabeth Castle, Karen Tan and Rob Jenkins) explores how behavioural science can be applied to refugee integration, in this case through education and employment, and how behavioural evidence can be used to facilitate drivers of integration. Access the publication here.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have announced new research projects to address issues facing Colombia’s transition from conflict to peace. Pathways to Reconciliation, led by Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch investigates the impact of Schools for Forgiveness and Reconciliation -ES.PE.RE - on the psychological and social wellbeing of victims of the Colombian conflict. Read more on the project on the UKRI website and follow the project on Twitter @reconciliaLSECo 

On 9 June 2019, 11am - 12pm, Professor Paul Dolan will speak about his new book Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life at the Cheltenham Science Festival. Find out more on the Cheltenham Science Festival website.

At LSE's 2019 Festival Joel Suss won the photography prize for his image of a Hong Kong urbanscape. Joel wanted to capture what it can feel like to live in a big city full of vibrancy and crowds and yet feel loneliness, anxiety and social dislocation – issues which many people in places like Hong Kong and London can experience. The LSE Festival 2019 theme was 'New World (Dis)Orders'.

Dr Kate Laffan has been awarded a Marie-Curie Individual Fellowship by the European Commission to study Intention-Behaviour Gaps in Environmentally Significant Consumption Behaviours. 

New study shows a reduction in meat consumption when animals are viewed as "friends". Dr Frederic Basso and PhD student Feiyang Wang provide evidence that exposure to the metaphor “animals are friends”, generates moral (guilt) feelings in meat consumers, which negatively influences their attitudes toward meat consumption and their behavioral intentions to eat meat. Read the article in Appetite here. (July 2019)

Book Release: Happy Ever After by Professor Paul Dolan. On Thursday 24th January in an event chaired by Professor Julia Black, Professor Paul Dolan discussed themes from his new book Happy Ever After.  View the webcast from the event here

UK and Colombian Researchers Working Together for Sustainable Peace. Ten new research projects to address issues facing Colombia’s transition from conflict to peace, including one from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), have been announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Pathways to Reconciliation will be led by Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch and Dr Fabio Idrobo, Santa Fe de Bogota Foundation (FSFB). It will investigate the impact of Schools for Forgiveness and Reconciliation -ES.PE.RE - on the psychological and social wellbeing of victims of the Colombian conflict. Read more here. (11 November 2019)

Gender Pay Gap Could Get Worse. Research by Dr Grace Lordan shows that girls born in the year 2000 are aspiring to do jobs that are paid 31 per cent lower than males. Boys born in 2000, on the other hand, have higher aspirations than previous male generations in terms of income, to the point where the gender pay gap could actually become larger than it is at present if these aspirations are fulfilled. Read more here. (10 October 2019)


Patient Complaints Reveal Quality and Safety ‘Blind Spots’ in Healthcare Delivery. Healthcare complaints made by patients can provide unique insight on aspects of healthcare delivery not easily evaluated by hospitals, a new study from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has found. Read the article (10 October 2018)

Entrepreneurship Research: Dr Michael Muthukrishna. New research lead by Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, Dr Michael Muthukrishna, has shown that rates of entrepreneurship are higher in some countries than others and it may be because they are generally less risk-averse and more overconfident. Read the article (20 August 2018)

Podcast: Dr Ilka Gleibs Discusses the Psychology Behind Diversity. Professor Dr Ilka Gleibs discusses on the CB On Air podcast why people need to stop blaming women’s behaviour for a lack of diversity within economics and central banking. (31 July 2018)

ESRC Grant Assessment Panel Appointment. Associate Professor Dr Sophie von Stumm has been appointed to the ESRC grant assessment panel D, which looks after projects on secondary data analysis.

ESRC Celebrating Impact Awards. At the ESRC Celebrating Impact Awards, PHD student Brett Heasman won the Future Promise Prize and was named runner-up of the Outstanding Early Career Impact award. Congratulations to Brett whose work has helped improve public understanding of autism. (June 2018)

Professor Martin W Bauer elected a Fellow of acatech. Congratulations to Professor Dr Martin W Bauer, LSE Psychology and Behavioural Science Department Professor of Social Psychology, who has been elected a Fellow of Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften [German Academy of Technical Sciences; acatech].

2018 LSE Student-Led Teaching Awards. Congratulations to Assistant Professor in Social Psychology and Economic Psychology, Frederic Basso, who received the Highly Commended, Inspirational Teaching Award at the LSE Student-led Teaching Excellence Awards. (May 2018)

Diet choice research: Dr Dario Krpan. Research by Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, Dr Dario Krpan, has shown that frequent vegetarian meal eaters are less likely to select a vegetarian dish when presented with a separate section for this in a menu. Read the article. (13 March 2018)

PBS PhD candidate Nihan Albayrak wins LSE Festival Popular Prize. On Friday 23 February 2018, PhD candidate Nihan Albayrak was awarded the LSE Festival Popular Prize for her work on the ways in which we help the victims of global disasters. You can read an abstract from Nihan's work on the LSE Festival websiteFind out more about Nihan. (23 February 2018)

Open day for our new undergraduate programme. In Autumn 2018, applications for our new BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science will open. You can find out more about this exciting and unique undergraduate programme from our faculty on 11 April 2018. 


Behavioural Science Hub Seminar: Ashley Whillans. On 30 November, Ashley Whillans spoke at the Behavioural Science Hub Seminar and presented her work, entitled "Exchanging cents for seconds: The happiness benefits of choosing time over money". Watch her presentation here: Ashley Willans (30 November 2017)

Book release: Installation Theory. On Wednesday 18 October in an event chaired by Dame Shirley Pearce, Professor Saadi Lahlou discussed themes from new book Installation Theory: The Societal Construction and Regulation of BehaviourListen to the eventRead the first chapter of Saadi's book, Installation Theory. (19 October 2017)

Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch to speak on importance of schools and parents in childhood and adolescent learning. On 4 October 2017, LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) hosted the conference Skills for Development in a Changing World. Prof. Sandra Jovchelovitch spoke as part of a panel discussion on learning during childhood and adolescence, drawing on years of fascinating research. Read (free e-book) Underground Sociabilities by Sandra Jovchelovitch. (4 October 2017)

Publication in nature human behaviour. Dr Michael Muthukrishna has recently published research on the dynamics of corruption, Corrupting Cooperation and How Anti-Corruption Strategies May Backfire DataThis research demonstrates that transparency only reduces corruption in certain circumstances: if economic opportunities exist or if the state has the strength and resources to punish law-breakers. If neither of these circumstances is present, transparency is ineffective—or can even make things worse.  Read more about the story | Read the paper. (10 July 2017)

Important study on autistic perspectives published in the international journal Autism. In the first study of its kind, Brett Heasman (PBS PhD student) and Dr Alex Gillespie used a two-way measure of perspective-taking to show that 'neurotypical' people struggle to imagine autistic perspectives, bringing attention to the many activities, such as job interviews, that rely on how autistic people are seen by others. Read the study (July 2017)

Dr Jana Uher presents research in public lecture. How do we judge others? Are people judged differently for the same things? Watch the presentation. (13 June 2017)


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