What are Behavioral Insights

While the development of behavioral interventions based on psychological insights has always been a core interest of psychology and the educational sciences, over the last 10 years the potential of these interventions has become clearly recognized by the general public as well as policy makers. This is shown, e.g., by the popular success of book such as Nudge (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008) or The small big – small changes that spark big influence (Martin, Goldstein, & Cialdini, 2014), and most importantly by the creation of governmental institutions that draw on decision research from psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience to design better policies and services, such as the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team in the U.S. government, the Behavioural Insights Team in the UK government, or the Information Society Unit of the European Commission.


Researchers at the University of Geneva are working on many topics that are relevant for Behavioral Insights and Interventions, addressing topics such as behavioral plasticity, motivation, persuasion and communication; developing concrete interventions in the areas of health, the environment, and social issues such as gender equality, and guiding the application and evaluation of existing interventions. In terms of tuition, numerous courses or curricula (for instance, the applied psychology study plan for the M.Sc. in Psychology) enable students to acquire the foundations necessary for the implementation of behavioral interventions.