MG405      Half Unit
Behavioural Decision Science

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Barbara Fasolo NAB 3.15


This course is available on the MSc in International Management, MSc in Management, MSc in Management (CEMS MIM), MSc in Management Science (Decision Sciences), MSc in Management Science (Operational Research), MSc in Management, Organisations and Governance and MSc in Public Management and Governance. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is available as an outside option to students on all Management and LSE post-graduate programmes where regulations permit, and is complementary to other behavioural courses offered at LSE particularly MG455.

This course will be capped to 40 students.


It is an advantage to have had an introductory quantitative course in Mathematics or Statistics.

It is an advantage to have had an introductory social science course, in one of these fields: economics, management, psychology or sociology.

Course content

This course introduces students to the fascinating field of behavioural science from a decision making perspective.

This course develops your ability to understand the world from a “behavioural” lens, and predict and influence positive behaviour change and choice architecture. The aim is for you to become a mindful “choice architect”.

The course is run in seminars, designed for aspiring behavioural insight experts. We will explore a selection of current research topics relevant to “nudging”, debiasing and choice architecture. You will read pre-assigned scientific articles before the seminar, and in the seminar work as a group on strengths, limitations and implications of these concepts across a number of domains. Topics will include: Choice Architecture and Behavioural Change; Heuristics and Biases, Adaptive Decision Making, Debiasing.

Because behavioural science started in the lab, the course includes a visit to the Behavioural Research Lab, to give you the experience (as researcher and participant)  of what is behind the scenes of ‘behavioural science and insights’.

This is a course for students with a strong passion for behavioural science and a keen interest in the psychology of decision making and behaviour change. The course is also a natural compleme to MG455, which provides the foundation of behavioural decision making theories.


18 hours of seminars and 2 hours of seminars in the MT.

Students will have 1 seminar session in the Behavioural Research Lab.

A reading week will take place in W6. There will be no teaching during this week.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

A 500-word plan for the individual summative assessment (introduction to problem and to intervention chosen, with a brief outline of proposed literature to justify the intervention) due at the beginning of Reading Week (W6).

Indicative reading

All teaching and reading material will be available electronically via Moodle.

For a general background, the following books are recommended:

Baron, J. (2000), Thinking and Deciding (3rd edition), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Beach and Connolly (2005), The Psychology of Decision Making: People in Organizations, (2nd Edition), Sage; R Hastie & R M Dawes (2001), Rational Choice in an Uncertain World, Sage; Plous, S. (1993), The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making, New York: McGraw Hill. Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. London: Allen Lane. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Essay (90%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Coursework (10%, 500 words) in the MT.

The course is examined as follows:

1 x 500 word lab report due in week 11 of MT. This report will detail how you could test your intervention in the BRL before launching it to the field test (the best idea will be funded). (10%)

1 x Two-section essay due in week 1 of LT: the first part (1,000 words) describes a de-biasing or nudging intervention in response to a problem you choose to apply behavioural insight to; the second part (2,000 words) is a critical assessment of the literature justifying this intervention (as opposed to other interventions) as well as a discussion of the limitations of the recommendation proposed. The first part of the essay will count for 25% of your mark while 75% will come from the second part. (90%)

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2014/15: 47

Average class size 2014/15: 17

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication