Advances in Psychological and Behavioural Science

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Liam Delaney CON.4.07 and Dr Miriam Tresh CON.3.14


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.

Course content

This course will offer an advanced-level account of areas of applying psychological and behavioural science to real world issues. The specific contents taught will be varied according to the ongoing projects of staff and visiting fellows in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. 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 the ethical considerations that need to be taken into account.  It will then present and discuss different case studies, with the focus on real world applications. The classes will consider the theoretical and empirical foundations of the applications. The course will conclude with integrative sessions on the problems and challenges that have arisen in the case studies and a consideration of prospects for the future. Students will emerge from the course with an understanding of how psychological and behavioural science has been applied to real world policies, the extent to which those applications reflect or contradict the empirical and theoretical foundations, and the ways they connect to the wider social sciences.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and classes totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas and Lent Term. There is a reading week in Week 6 of both terms.

In response to the current situation, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of live online classes and pre-recorded short online videos. You will receive the same amount of teaching whether you are on campus or online.

Formative coursework

1. Plan for Showcase Portfolio in Lent Term

2. Proposal for Capstone Project in 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.


Project (50%) and portfolio (50%) in the ST.

Project: Capstone Project

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Capped 2020/21: 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