MG455      Half Unit
Behavioural Decision Science for Management and Policy

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Barbara Fasolo


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Management Science (Decision Sciences). This course is available on the MSc in International Management, MSc in Management, MSc in Management (CEMS MIM), MSc in Management Science (Operational Research) and MSc in Risk and Finance. 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 other Management and LSE programmes (both post-graduate and advanced undergraduate) where regulations permit, and is complementary to other behavioural courses offered at LSE.


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 develops your ability to make decisions or help others make better decisions, with the help of ‘system 1’ – the fast, intuitive and (before this course) automatic way our brain makes decisions, and evaluates others’ decisions. The aim is for you to become a better intuitive decision maker.

In lectures, designed for aspiring decision scientists, we examine how behavioural decision science came about and review a number of  descriptive theories of decision making. We also focus on empirical research on heuristics, biases, decision style and other phenomena which can unconsciously affect decisions. 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’.

In seminars which are uniquely designed for Master’s students you apply this research to personal, managerial or policy decisions.

This is a course for students with a strong passion for behavioural science and a keen interest in the psychology of decision making and applications for management and policy. Lectures are taught at an advanced level, and experientially (e.g., in-class experiments) and expect interaction and exchange between advanced 3rd Year LSE Undergraduates and Master’s students who are in their first term at LSE, from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The course is also a natural complement, and preparation for, MG456, which aims at improving the other side of the decision-making brain – the slow and analytic ability to make strategic decisions via modelling and decision analytic techniques.


18 hours of lectures, 9 hours of seminars and 2 hours of workshops in the MT.

Students will have a 2 hour 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 essay plan for one long essay (to include a detailed plan, introduction, one full paragraph and conclusion). 2-3 pages of A4 maximum to be submitted at the beginning of reading week MT (week 6).

Indicative reading

J. Baron, Thinking and Deciding (3rd Ed.); R. Hastie & R. M. Dawes, Rational Choice in an Uncertain World; W. Edwards & D. von Winterfeldt, Decision Analysis and Behavioral Research; R.T. Clemen and T. Reilly, Making Hard Decisions with Decision Tools Suite: S. French, Decision Theory: an introduction to the mathematics of rationality. 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.

An essay of no more than 3,000 words to be submitted in week 7 of LT  (90%)

A 500-word report on the lab experience or experiment to be submitted in Week 11 of MT (10% )

The essay will include two parts. In the first part (no more than 1,000 words), you will be asked to prepare a memorandum to the CEO of an organisation (be it public or private, an NGO, a business corporation or a third sector enterprise) giving a behavioural insight on some decision to make, or situation to improve, or goal to achieve. In the second part of the essay (no more than 2,000 words), you will justify the specific recommendations presented in the memorandum with reference to behavioural and decision science literature and theories. The first part of the essay will count for 25% of your mark while 75% will come from the second part.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2014/15: 40

Average class size 2014/15: 15

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication