Not available in 2019/20
Advances in Psychological and Behavioural Science

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible



This course is compulsory on the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.


Students should have taken PB101 (Foundations of Psychological Science) OR PB100 (Foundations of Behavioural Science).

Course content

This course will offer an advanced-level account of recent areas of development in theories, debates and phenomena in psychological and behavioural science. It will be driven by the analysis of a single case study for each area. The specific contents taught will be varied according to the ongoing research projects of staff in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science and from around the LSE. They will be chosen to illustrate the different ways in which psychological and behavioural science can be drawn on for different real world applications, and to elucidate key factors that influence the degree of success of such applications.  The course will begin with introductory sessions on relating psychological and behavioural science to real world applications and on relating psychological and behavioural science to the wider social sciences. It will then present and discuss four different case studies. It will conclude with two integrative sessions on the problems and challenges that have arisen in the case studies that have been presented and a consideration of prospects for the future. Students will emerge from the course with an understanding of how the foundations of psychological and behavioural science have been applied to real world policies, the implications of those applications reflect or contradict its empirical and theoretical foundations, and the ways these applications and their implications connect to the wider social sciences.

After an introduction consisting of relating Psychological and Behavioural Science to policy applications and the wider social sciences we will move on to consider four case studies. These will be based on current research but could include:

• Fear of Crime and social action

• Managerial decision making

• Health, and health communication

• Climate change: beliefs and behaviour

For each case study we will consider the 1) practical policy background; 2) practical policy interventions; 3) evaluation and assessment and 4) implications for Psychological and Behavioural Science and the social sciences more generally. We will end by consider problems and prospects for Psychological and Behavioural Science in view of the social sciences and the real world.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.

Formative coursework

1. essay (1500 words) in Lent Term

2. group-based presentation in Michaelmas Term or Lent Term

Indicative reading

Cialdini, R. (2016). Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. New York: Random House.

Halpern, D. (2015). Inside the Nudge Unit: How small changes can make a big difference. London: W H Allen.

Lewis, A. (Ed.) (2012). The Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Economic Behaviour. Cambridge: CUP.

Oliver, A. (Ed.) (2013). Behavioural Public Policy. Cambridge: CUP.

Shafir, E. (Ed.) (2012). The Behavioural Foundations of Public Policy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Case study (50%) in the LT.

Futher details for the summative assessment:

1. The exam is an 'unseen' exam (50%)

2.  Students are expected to produce one written case study of 2000 words (50%)

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills