Behavioural Insights Library
Behavioural Science Books
These four resources provide a very good introduction to Behavioural Insights and will help you build a good foundation.
- Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2021). Nudge: The Final Edition. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
- Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.
- Behavioural Insights Team. (2014). EAST: Four simple ways to apply behavioural insights [White paper]. https://www.bi.team/publications/east-four-simple-ways-to-apply-behavioural-insights/
- Hallsworth, M., & Kirkman, E. (2020). Behavioral Insights. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
These popular applied behavioural science books are recommended further reading.
- Lewis, M. (2016). The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
- Johnson, E. J. (2021). The Elements of Choice: Why the Way We Decide Matters. New York, NY: Riverhead.
- Mažar, N., & Soman, D. (Eds.) (2022). Behavioral Science in the Wild. Toronto, ON: Rotman-University of Toronto Press.
- Thaler, R. H. (2015). Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
- Soman, D. (2015). The Last Mile: Creating Social and Economic Value from Behavioral Insights. Toronto, ON: Rotman-University of Toronto Press.
- Halpern, D. (2015). Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference. London, UK: WH Allen.
- Levitt, S. D. , & Dubner, S. J. (2005). Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
- Ariely, D. (2008). Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Note: Book links are to Massy Books, an Indigenous owned and operated bookstore located in Vancouver.
Top 5 Podcasts
- Calling DIBS: Learn the inside story of Behavioural Insights in this series of interviews with BI enthusiasts and experts from BC and beyond, hosted by Dr. Kirstin Appelt from UBC Decision Insights for Business & Society (UBC-DIBS).
- Hidden Brain: Using science and storytelling, host Shankar Vedantam explores the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior and questions that lie at the heart of our complex and changing world.
- Freakonomics Radio: Discover the hidden side of everything with Stephen J. Dubner. Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do).
- Choiceology: Hosted by Dr. Katy Milkman from UPenn Wharton’s Behavior Change for Good initiative, Choiceology explores the lessons of behavioral economics to help you improve your judgment and change for good.
- Inside the Nudge Unit: From the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), this podcast series explore the fascinating world of Behavioural Insights and the work BIT does all around the world.
Other BI Podcasts
- 99% Invisible: A narrative podcast hosted by Roman Mars about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.
- Action Design Radio: Action Design Radio explores a variety of topics through the lens of behavioral science and psychology. Hosts Erik Johnson and Zarak Khan interview experts and practitioners to learn about cutting edge behavioral research, and how to practically apply it to fields like public policy and consumer products.
- The Behavioral Design Podcast: A fun and engaging way to learn about applied behavioral science and how to design for behavior change hosted by Aline Holzwarth and Samuel Salzer.
- Behavioral Grooves: Behavioral Grooves is more than a podcast, it’s also vessel for building a community of people who are interested in learning how to positively apply behavioral science to their work and life.
- The Black Goat: Three psychologists talk about doing science. Hosted by Sanjay Srivastava, Alexa Tullett, and Simine Vazire.
- A Bunch of BS: Hosted by Dr. Nick Hobson, this podcast is for people whose work involves humans. Whatever your line of work, somewhere along the way there’s a human behaving (probably in a weird way). Enter: behavioral science.
- The Decision Corner: Practical insights & advice on how we can use science to improve our decisions as individuals and as a society, from some of the world’s top experts.
- EconTalk: A weekly economics podcast hosted by Russ Roberts, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Roberts typically interviews a single guest—often professional economists—on topics in economics.
- For the Love of Work: Dr. Sonia Kang’s aspirational, inspirational and practical guide to self-actualization, as seen through the growing lens of the “employee experience.” This podcast is a playbook for anyone looking for practical solutions to today’s workplace challenges.
- The Happiness Lab: You might think more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations would make you happy. You’re dead wrong. Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will forever alter the way you think about happiness.
- Invisibilia: Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
- The Knowledge Project: The Knowledge Project Podcast unlocks your potential. We interview world-class doers and thinkers so you can better analyze problems, seize opportunities, and master decision-making. Every episode is packed with lessons and insights that never expire.
- More or Less: Behind the Stats: Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4.
- No Stupid Questions: Stephen J. Dubner and research psychologist Angela Duckworth really like to ask people questions, and came to believe there’s no such thing as a stupid one. So they made a podcast where they can ask each other as many “stupid questions” as they want.
- Nudges for Social Good: The UK Local Government Association’s podcast series explores how councils across the country have used Behavioural Insights to nudge their residents into different ways of living.
- The Psych Files A podcast for anyone who wonders why we do what we do. Experienced educator Dr. Michael Britt shows you how ideas from the field of psychology apply to everyday life.
- The Psychology Podcast: Host Scott Barry Kaufman explores the depths of human potential. In each episode, inspiring and thought-provoking guests will stimulate your mind, and give you a greater understanding of yourself, others, and the world we live in.
- Questioning Behaviour: Hosted by Sarah Bowen and Merle van den Akker, this podcast talks about all things Behavioural Science (and PhD).
- Revisionist History: Join Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past — an event, a person, an idea, even a song — and asks whether we got it right the first time. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.
- Two Guys on Your Head: Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explore different aspects of human behavior and the brain. In conversations hosted by producer Rebecca McInroy, the two renowned psychologists cover everything from the effects of sugar on the brain, to what’s happening in our minds while we sleep, and much, much more.
- Two Psychologists, Four Beers: Two psychologists endeavour to drink four beers while discussing news and controversies in science, academia, and beyond.
- Very Bad Wizards A podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro) discussing moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.
- WorkLife: Organizational psychologist Adam Grant takes you inside some truly unusual places, where they’ve figured out how to make work not suck.
Webinars & Videos
Top Webinar Series
- UBC-DIBS Seminar: This online seminar series features leading Behavioural Insights practitioners and researchers sharing their BI lab and field projects. Seminars are scheduled roughly monthly during the academic year.
- BIG Difference BC: Recordings of conference talks and digital posters from past BIG Difference BC conferences; these are great examples of how the local BI community of practice uses Behavioural Insights for positive social impact across sectors.
- Behavior Change for Good: This webinar series features presentations or discussions with leading Behavioural and Decision Science researchers and authors. Recordings are available for most sessions.
- BEAR x BIOrg: This speaker series from the University of Toronto’s Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman (BEAR) features top behavioural scientists and practitioners who share the latest research and insights with managers and policymakers.
- Behavioural Insights Team (BIT): Webinar series where experts from BIT’s global offices explore how Behavioural Insights are being used to tackle the most pressing policy problems of our time.
- UN Innovation Network Library of Webinars: Library of webinars hosted by various UN entities to uncover emerging good practices, showcase successful projects and learn about opportunity areas for innovation, data and digital transformation.
Top 5 Newsletters
- BIG Difference BC newsletter: BIG Difference BC brings together Behavioural Insights enthusiasts and experts from government, academia, and across the public, non-profit, and private sectors in British Columbia and beyond. The monthly newsletter shares news, “choice events”, “choice reads”, BI tips and case studies, and other opportunities and highlights from across the network. Subscribe by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- BEAR x BIOrg newsletter: Regular newsletter from the University of Toronto’s Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman (BEAR) centre and Behaviourally Informed Organizations (BIOrg) that shares upcoming events, recent projects, and other BI news.
- Behavioral Science Weekly Roundup: Weekly newsletter from the Behavioral Science and Policy Association that rounds up BI headlines, social media, events, and more.
- BIT newsletter: Regular newsletter from the Behavioural Insights Team that profiles recent projects, upcoming events, and opportunities to work with BIT.
- Behavioral Scientist Email Edition: The Behavioral Scientist is a non-profit digital magazine whose mission is to make the valuable insights gathered from behavioral science accessible and useful to society. The weekly newsletter features original commentary and a selection of articles from around the web.
Other BI Newsletters
- Centre for Advanced Hindsight newsletter: Regular newsletter that shares the latest behavioral research, events and resources.
- Habit Weekly: Weekly newsletter sharing articles, videos, podcasts, and exclusive premium content from the world of behavioral science and business.
- OPSI newsletter: Newsletter from the OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation that shares the latest perspectives from the field, analysis, interviews, and event news.
Blogs & Online Magazines
Top 5 Blogs
- BIG Difference BC blog: BIG Difference BC’s features a wide variety of content, including glimpses of how practitioners use BI, examples of BI in the wild, case studies, topical issues, and guest posts from community members.
- Behavioral Scientist: A non-profit digital magazine whose mission is to make the valuable insights gathered from behavioral science accessible and useful to society. They publish commentaries and conversations on current events, culture, and research.
- The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT): This blog series summarizes the Behavioural Insights work that BIT does all around the world.
- ideas42: This blog series covers thoughts and insights from ideas42’s work applying behavioral science to social problems.
- OPSI: Blog from the OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation that shares the latest perspectives from the field, analysis, interviews, and event news.
Other BI Blogs
- Dan Ariely: Dr. Dan Ariely does research in behavioral economics and tries to describe it in plain language.
- Oh, Behave: A behaviorist blog transforming businesses and brands – to be better, to do better. Taking the human scientific approach to business strategy to drive high-impact behavior change.
BI Case Studies
Sources for Behavioural Insights Case Studies
For tips on how to conduct secondary research (including academic literature reviews and cross-jurisdictional scans, visit the Resources for the RIDE page under “Research”.
Databases for academic & practitioner case studies
- Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.com/)
- SSRN (https://www.ssrn.com/)
- Behavioral Evidence Hub (B-HUB)
- Behavioral Scientist
- The Behavioral Economics Guide
- Behavioral Design Database by Habit Weekly
Behavioural Insights units
The OECD maintains a global map of public-sector BI units: https://oecd-opsi.org/bi-units/. Our cross-sectoral list is representative rather than exhaustive.
BC Public-Sector and Social Purpose BI Units:
- BC BIG: BC Behavioural Insights Group (see their 2021 report)
- BIG Difference BC: Review previous events for decks and videos of case studies presented as conference talks
- UBC-DIBS: Decision Insights for Business & Society at the University of British Columbia (see the BI wiki’s BI at UBC page for past student capstone projects)
Other Canadian Public-Sector and Social Purpose BI Units:
- BEAR: Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman at the University of Toronto
- BI*Org: Behaviourally Informed Organizations
- BIT Canada: Behavioural Insights Team
- Impact Canada‘s BeSci: Behavioural Science team
- Impact Canada’s PARCA: Program of Applied Research on Climate Action in Canada
- Ontario BIU: Ontario Behavioural Insights Unit (see their 2018 and 2020 reports)
Other Notable BI Units:
- J-PAL (Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab)
- Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA)
- Behavioural Insights Network Netherlands (see their 2017 and 2019 reports)
- Behavioural Science Aotearoa
- BeThink Solutions
- Center for Decision of Research at the University of Chicago
- The Decision Lab
- New South Wales Behavioural Insights Unit (NSW BIU; see their reports and guides)
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Behavioural Insights
- Save the Children: Center for Utilizing Behavioral Insights for Children (CUBIC)
- United Kingdom Government
- United Nations (UN) Behavioural Science Group
- Wharton Behavior Change for Good at the University of Pennsylvania
- Wharton People Analytics at the University of Pennsylvania
- WHO (World Health Organization): Behavioural Insights
- The World Bank: Mind, Behavior, and Development (eMBeD) (see their Profiles of 10 Countries, Profiles of 17 International Organizations, and search results for behavioural science)
There are countless peer-reviewed journals that feature applied behavioural science research. Here is a small sampling:
- A few journals focus specifically on applied behavioural science, such as:
- Many other journals frequently feature applied behavioural science research, such as:
- Some journals focus on review papers summarizing current research on specific topics, such as:
- There are an amazingly wide variety of journals exploring specific contexts, such as:
Note: Many academic journals are behind paywalls. Check SSRN for an open-access version of the paper. If no open-access version is available, students in UBC’s Behavioural Insights programs can email the TA to request the article.
Recent Media & Case Study Posts
- Calling DIBS Ep 65: Hitting Snooze, Taking Out the Trash, & Other Everyday BI OpportunitiesGuest host Lindsay Miles-Pickup puts Kirstin Appelt in the hot seat to answer a mix of fun and serious BI questions […]
- Resource: UN Behavioural ScienceThe UN is highlighting behavioural science as a key component of the “quintet of change” to help pursue the sustainable development goals […]
- Calling DIBS Ep 64: Understanding & Combatting Data FraudDave Hardisty returns to the podcast to discuss BI’s big story of the summer: Big names and big findings being accused of data fraud […]
- Resource: Applying BI to Reduce HomelessnessUBC-DIBS co-founder Jiaying Zhao and her fantastic team of researchers just published a new paper on “Unconditional cash transfers reduce homelessness” […]
- Resource: BIT Case Study on Water BillsBIT shares a new case study about an RCT using behavioural science to redesign customer water bills to encourage water conservation […]
- Resource: BEAR Guide to Context EffectsBEAR has created a guide to help understand when and why the same behavioural intervention may have different effects in different contexts […]
- BIT Guidelines for Climate CommunicationsThe folks at the Behavioural Insights Team have released a great blog post that applies BI to communications […]
- Behavior Change for Good ReportWharton’s Behavior Change for Good Initiative has released a report summarizing recent research projects and sharing links to recordings, papers, and more […]