About the Behavioural Science Centre
Behavioural science is the study of individuals and their interactions (exemplified by psychology). Based in Stirling Management School, the Behavioural Science Centre integrates this approach with social science, the study of the structure of organisations and societies (exemplified by economics and management). Such integrations can lead to revolutionary ways of understanding economics and organisations through incorporating a better understanding of the composing individuals. Although there have been many calls for such integration - and the award of a Nobel Prize for starting these - genuinely integrative approaches remain relatively rare. We are the only specialist centre within Scotland and one of the few within Europe. We are distinctive from other key UK centres through a primary focus on individual differences, health, and well-being, rather than cognitive science. We collaborate strongly with those other institutions to join our research.
Practical examples of questions the Behavioural Science Centre are answering include:
- why people make poor decisions
- what leads people to accept constitutional change
- how early life self-control links to later health outcomes
- why socio-economic status is linked to obesity
- how suicidality and self-harm can be measured
- how Winter Fuel Payments relate to health of UK households
- what are the consequences of unemployment
- how the transition from education to work affects well-being
- how to improve pension savings
Putting the research into practice
Integrating behavioural science with macroeconomic, organisational, and population health policy can bring about rapid improvements in operation and efficiency. The ideas developed in the field are increasingly being implemented in the design of new policies, across a range of areas from pension saving to energy. We have strong links with a range of organisations including Gallup Europe and the Scottish Government and work actively with many others to put the novel observations from the field into practice. Other organisations with whom our members have recently worked include Health Services Executive, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Irish Higher Education Authority, the Irish Universities Association, Mater Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital, UCL Consultants, and Unilever, amongst others. We always welcome any formal or informal contact from organisations interested in our approach, and we have a variety of partnership and consultancy models.
Educational and training
The Behavioural Science Centre provides educational programmes to a variety of audiences.
Taught Programme: Our flagship taught masters programme, MSc Behavioural Science for Management, provides a very thorough grounding in how the area relates to business and policy through over 240 hours of lectures and seminars, and working with one of our research team on a major project in the field. We're also launching a new masters degree in 2018 – MSc Behavioural Decision Making for Finance. For enquiries, please contact Dr David Comerford.
Workshops for Academics, Industrial Leaders, and Policy Makers: We run a regular workshop series showcasing our research and those of key invited speakers. These are open to all and free of charge.
Bespoke Training and Dissemination. We regularly engage in other dissemination including (a) engagement with the media, with recent appearances on BBC Radio, Time, and the Financial Times, (b) talks at professional meetings, (c) public engagement, and (d) industrial knowledge exchange and training. Please feel free to contact any of our members to discuss their involvement in this capacity.
There are a wide variety of ways to work with us and we always welcome unsolicited enquiries. Please see the sections above if you are interested in our educational or industrial collaboration opportunities. We are happy to be involved in most academic collaborations, please contact the most relevant centre member or any one of us. We have a variety of opportunities for key 'rising star' or established researchers through postdoctoral funding opportunities and potentially faculty posts. Please do generally feel free to contact us with any ideas you may have if you want to get involved with the centre.