News Update on Behavioural Science Research: May – 2019

Nudge(ography) and practice theories: Contemporary sites of behavioural science and post-structuralist approaches in geography?

Within geography there has been considerable debate about the reasons, patterns and consequences of human behaviour. Behavioural science, specifically Nudge, and practice theories are fashionable fields of enquiry, reflecting a long history of conversation between behavioural and poststructuralist approaches. The purpose of this paper is to foster further engagement with and between these perspectives, bringing to the fore the relevant ontologies from which they arise. The paper is thus largely concerned with the ‘ontological politics’ of approaches seeking to understand human action and concludes with some reflections on an agenda for geography, a discipline well placed to unite disparate concepts. [1]

Creating a Breeding Ground for Compliance and Honest Reporting Under the Landing Obligation: Insights from Behavioural Science

Fisheries regulations aim to maintain fishing mortality and fishing impacts within sustainable limits. Although sustainability is in the long-term interest of fishers, the regulations themselves are usually not in the short-term interest of the individual fisher because they restrict the fisher’s economic activity. Therefore, as is the case with all regulations, the temptation exists for non-compliance and dishonest reporting. In the EU and elsewhere, top-down, complex regulations, often leading to unintended consequences, with complex and non-transparent governance-science interactions, may decrease the credibility and legitimacy of fisheries management among fishers. This, in turn, may decrease the motivation to comply and report honestly. The Landing Obligation may make things worse because following the regulation to the letter would often strongly and negatively impact the individual fishers’ economic situation. Behavioural science suggests factors that may influence compliance and honesty. Compliance is not necessarily a function of the economic benefits and costs of rule violation: compliance may be more or less, depending on intrinsic motivations. An increased level of self-decision may lead to greater buy-in to sustainable fishing practices and voluntary compliance to catch limits and the Landing Obligation. All else being equal, people in small and self-selected groups are inherently more likely to behave “prosocially”. In this chapter, some key recommendations based on behavioural science are given for changes in institutional settings that may increase voluntary compliance and sustainable fishing practices. However, transition to a system allowing for more freedom from top-down regulation, with more self-governance, may be difficult due to institutional and cultural barriers and therefore may take many years.[2]

Brokering Behaviour Change: The Work of Behavioural Insights Experts in Government

A behavioural insights community has emerged within a growing number of governments. While this community helps to make policies more behavioural science based, its frontstage role models tend to assume a straightforward, instrumental and apolitical view of the science–policy relationship that seems unrealistic. This article therefore examines what goes on backstage in this community, based on an ethnographic study of behaviour experts in Dutch central government. The article argues that their work consists of a complex palette of practices (that is, choice architecture; analysis; capacity building). Because these practices resemble typical knowledge brokerage work, the article pushes for an envisaging of ‘behaviour experts as knowledge brokers’. [3]

A review of teaching of behavioural sciences in the United Kingdom dental undergraduate curriculum

In 1990, the GDC published its recommendations on the teaching of behavioural sciences. A study of sociological and psychological teaching in the dental undergraduate curriculum has shown a great deal of variation between the 14 dental schools in the United Kingdom. Most of this teaching was also thoretical and at a pre-clinical level. Should skills and applied psychology be given an increased emphasis in the core clinical content of the undergraduate curriculum? [4]

What Determine Money Management Behaviour of Undergraduates? An Examination in an Emerging Economy

Aims: Money management behaviour of undergraduates academically is a researchable area as their decisions relating to money management not only have an impact on their life itself but also it affects the long-term financial stability of an organisation, an industry and a nation. In emerging economy contexts, money management behaviour heavily focused on functional financial literature, there is a significant lack of published research focus on factors beyond different aspects of financial literacy. Therefore, the purposes of this study include investigating factors beyond financial literacy that influence money management behaviour and understanding the level of influences on money management behaviour of undergraduates.

Study Design: The study was carried out in Sri Lanka, an emerging country and adopted a quantitative survey method. A personally-administered, structured questionnaire was used to collect data from management undergraduates in the selected university in Sri Lanka.

Results: The results indicate that undergraduates economic, social and psychological factors significantly affect money management behaviour. The results of regression-based path analysis indicate that economic, social and psychological factors mediate the direct impact and encouraging healthy money management behaviour in undergraduates. The study further identified the deviations in money management behaviour and selected influences of undergraduates with respect to gender, academic year, place of residence, doing online transactions and working hours.

Conclusion: The study has extended our understanding on the money management behaviour of undergraduates. Research and managerial implications are provided together with future research directions.[5]


[1] Reid, L. and Ellsworth-Krebs, K., 2019. Nudge (ography) and practice theories: Contemporary sites of behavioural science and post-structuralist approaches in geography?. Progress in Human Geography43(2), pp.295-313. (Web Link)

[2] Kraak, S.B. and Hart, P.J., 2019. Creating a breeding ground for compliance and honest reporting under the Landing Obligation: Insights from behavioural science. In The European Landing Obligation (pp. 219-236). Springer, Cham. (Web Link)

[3] Feitsma, J., 2019. Brokering behaviour change: the work of behavioural insights experts in government. Policy & Politics47(1), pp.37-56. (Web Link)

[4] A review of teaching of behavioural sciences in the United Kingdom dental undergraduate curriculum

P Mc Goldrick & C Pine

British Dental Journalvolume 186, pages576–580 (1999) (Web Link)

[5] Sachitra, V. and Wijesinghe, D. (2018) “What Determine Money Management Behaviour of Undergraduates? An Examination in an Emerging Economy”, Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 26(4), pp. 1-14. doi: 10.9734/JESBS/2018/44050. (Web Link)

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