Serve as an Intellectual Hub for Behavioral Science
The CDR sponsors a weekly workshop series, in which top behavioral scientists from around the globe present on human judgment, belief, choice, and behavior, fueling vigorous scientific debates and innovative research. This formal workshop is supplemented by a weekly “brown bag” session to showcase work in progress.
Our quarterly Think Better Speaker Series, open to the public, welcomes leading scholars and practitioners to discuss how insights from behavioral science shape society, policy, business, and daily life.
What is "Behavioral Science"?
Behavioral science describes the study of human behavior through the use of systematic experimentation and observation. A behavioral scientist is interested in studying when and why individuals engage in specific behaviors, by experimentally examining the impact of factors like conscious thoughts, motivation, social influences, contextual effects, and habits.
Several disciplines fall under the broad label of behavioral science, including:
- Social psychology
- Cognitive psychology
- Behavioral economics
- Consumer behavior
In order to understand the full complexity of human behavior, some behavioral scientists synthesize theories, concepts, and methodologies across some of these disciplines. For example, the field of behavioral economics emerges from bringing insights from psychology to bear on economic behavior, thereby predicting and explaining behavior that is not anticipated by standard economic theories.
Behavioral science research is diverse and expansive. Behavioral scientists study why humans sometimes behave in a way that may not maximize their own wellbeing, such as making choices in the present that do not maximize a person’s happiness in the future; examine how seemingly arbitrary contextual factors influence our decisions, beliefs, and attitudes; test how different incentives affect people’s motivation and behavior; analyze how people judge others’ traits and characteristics based on features of a person’s face or voice; investigate how consumers can be encouraged to make, avoid, or change spending decisions; and design policy interventions that can help people make choices that they would personally recognize as optimal in the long run.
Watch: Behavioral science research with CDR Faculty Director Nicholas Epley