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Real World Behavioural Science

Author: Stu King

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Welcome to the Real World Behavioural Science (RWBS) podcast, where we look at how behavioural and social sciences are being used in the real world to help change the public’s health, for good.

The RWBS podcast is created by the Behavioural Science and Public Health Network ( and is aimed at people working in public health, academia and industry, who have an interest in how behavioural science is being used to improve health and wellbeing.

Each month, Stu King (BSPHN Committee Member and founder & CEO of behaviour change specialists BeeZee Bodies) and Dr Tiago Moutela (Head of Behavioural Science at BeeZee Bodies), interview professionals from the worlds of public health, academia and industry, who are using behavioural science to help change people’s lives.

We have episodes featuring:

- Professor Jim McManus - Co-founder of the BSPHN & Director of Public Health, Hertfordshire County Council, UK

- Dr Amy Bucher – Behavioural Scientist at MadPow, Boston, USA

- Dr Nick Cavill – Quasi-academic and Director of a Public Health Consultancy, UK

- Professor Chris Armitage – Professor of Health Psychology, University of Manchester, UK

- Rich Sheridan – CEO and Chief Storyteller at Menlo Innovations, Ann Arbour, USA

- Dr Justin Varney - Director of Public Health at Birmingham City Council, UK

- Mike Kelly - Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University Institute of Public Health, UK

- Wendy Wills - University of Hertfordshire

- Kim Roberts - HENRY

We have some great guests in the pipeline from across industry, public health and academia and from across the world, including:

- Samuel Salzer - Habits Weekly, Sweden

- Tim Chadborn - PHE Behavioural Insights Team

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34 Episodes
Professor Marie Johnston is our guest on the first episode back, hosted by Stuart King and Dr Tiago Moutela…what a start!Marie epitomises what this show is all about. Her passion, dedication and steadfast commitment to her values shine through as she describes her journey to where she is today. A Registered Health and Clinical Psychologist, and Professor Emeritus of Health Psychology at the University of Aberdeen, Marie has been at the forefront of health psychology for five decades and was described by a colleague as having “kept health psychology in the UK on a scientific foundation.”Marie conducts research on behaviour change in health and healthcare contexts and on disability (theory, measurement and intervention).  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society, European Health Psychology Society and the Health Psychology and Public Health Network.  Marie shares her career journey; from the University of St Andrews, Royal Free Hospital and Oxford University, having completed her BSc at the University of Aberdeen and PhD at the University of Hull.  Having had many decisions to make, Marie describes the core values that have guided her throughout:1.     Make a difference: it must have practical implications or influence policy2.     High quality: it must be intellectually valid and use the very best methodologyStuart and Marie discuss a wide range of topics including:The role of self-efficacy in predicting health outcomes for people with impairmentsExamples of successful working between academia and medicine, resulting in significant impactAdvice to people starting out in careers who want to get into applied behavioural psychology The role of behaviour change in the reduction of COVID transmissionUltimately Marie promotes working with quality, integrity, purpose, and mutual respect. Marie is not particularly active on social media, but you can contact her on her via email:
Professor Angel Chater is a Chartered Psychologist, Associate Fellow of The British Psychological Society and a Health & Sport & Exercise Psychologist with the Health & Care Professionals Council. She is a Professor in Health Psychology and Behaviour Change at the University of Bedfordshire, where she leads the centre in health, wellbeing and behaviour change. She is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine at UCL and past Chair of the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology and passionate about the scientific application of health psychology to public health and its role in intervention design.  Professor Falko Sniehotta is Director of the NIHR Policy Research Unit for Behavioural Science, past President of the European Health Psychology Society, associate editor of The Health Psychology Review and member of the editorial board of Psychology & Heath and British Journal of Health Psychology. His work is recognised through honorary fellowships at the Academy of Social Science, the European Health Psychology Society, the American Psychological Association and the UK Behavioural Science in Public Health Network. His international research programme aims at developing and testing interventions to change behaviours relevant to health and healthcare. A multidisciplinary opportunity…Professor Sniehotta explains the implied idea that behavioural science and medicine are both multidisciplinary areas, not necessary distinctly different, and how the terms have been adapted through the years away from the medical to understanding in the way of behaviour. Both he and Professor Chater discuss the exciting opportunities that come from collaboration across the disciplines, how 'coming out of the ivory towers' of Universities can extend science in this way and make real positive change. Changing the conversation…Professor Chater explains times in her career where behaviour change work has had a direct, positive impact on people and populations from both a lobbying perspective and a research perspective, with the the Active Herts programme as a successful example of how behaviour change research helped develop a programme to encourage physical activity.  Examples of ‘Bench to Bedside’ translation…From this Professor Sniehotta adds about his ‘bench to bedside’ work with Professor Roy Taylor, Professor of Medicine and Metabolism at Newcastle University, to understand how to deliver an intervention that is powerful enough to achieve substantial weight loss in people living with Type-II Diabetes and how to implement this in primary care practices which has been a great success.  Teaching the foundations of behavioural science at schools…Stu and Angel debate the benefits that could arise as adults if we had learnt the foundations of behavioural science and health psychology as children at school. Could this limit those engaging in negative behaviours when they’re older? Could this tear down more barriers to leading healthier, happier lifestyles as adults?Falko expands on this by adding that to make real changes there are often three issues; funding, the narrative and the methods.ContactProfessor Angel Chater: Twitter / LinkedinProfessor Falko Sniehotta: Twitter / Linkedin
Maddy Arden is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behavioural Science and Applied Psychology (CeBSAP) at Sheffield Hallam University.  She is a Chartered Psychologist, a full member of the DHP, and a Registered Health Psychologist (HCPC). Maddy is co-editor of the British Journal of Health Psychology and director of the Behavioural Science Consortium, which provides expertise to government on the application of behavioural science to public policy issues and is co-chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Behavioural Science hub.Greg Fell is the Director of Public Health in Sheffield. He graduated from Nottingham University with a Degree in Biochemistry and Physiology in 1993 and since then has had various roles including a Social Researcher in a maternity ward as well as a number of roles in Health Promotion and Public Health. Since 2016, Greg has worked as the Director of Public Health for Sheffield. Behavioural Science in the fight against Covid-19Professor Arden talks about how everything she does is underpinned by the theories of Health Psychology and Behavioural Science and how these can be put into practice in the real world. She explains how using these theories and frameworks, in relation to Covid-19, was helpful early on to predict what might be useful and what might happen.Underestimating the complexity of behavioural science She goes on to discuss how many can often underestimate the complexity of behavioural science and how she’s fed up of people using the phrase ‘common sense’, questioning what exactly we mean by it and how we need to consider that people can sometimes make decisions without a conscious rationale. In reference to this, she adds that there needs to be an awareness of the different factors influencing behaviour and more insightful conversations around this.  Thinking outside of ‘common sense’…Greg Fell explains how he works to convince people to think outside of their own ‘common sense’. Sticking to weight, Greg discusses decision making and how we all make rational and irrational choices, in the 'here and now', not thinking about what might happen in the future. How we’re products of our environment and how this can influence the choices we make, with reference to the recent junk food advertising ban and the work he has done in the past regarding smoking cessation.  Both go on to debate the similarities and differences between smoking cessation and weight loss barriers strategies. Takeaway ThoughtsProfessor Maddy Arden summarises the need to create awareness of how broadly behavioural science can be used and highlight the basic knowledge to know how widely it can be applied. Greg adds that behavioural science has positively begun to be applied across the Council and in agreement with Maddy, states how important it is to point out that the behavioural science ‘toolbox’ is out there, it exists and it can be used practically to solve problems. ContactProfessor Madelynne ArdenTwitter / LinkedinGreg FellTwitter / 
Professor Sharyn Rundle-Thiele is a social marketer and behavioural scientist. She is the Founding Director of Social Marketing at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia, which is the largest university-based group of social marketers in the world. She is Founding Co-Editor of the Journal of Social Marketing, has led projects that have changed behaviours for 10,000’s of people in areas including health, the environment and for complex social issues, has published more than 150 books and been awarded The Philip Kotler Social Marketing Distinguished Service Award.Differences between marketing & social marketingSharyn begins this episode by explaining how marketing can be applied across commercial and social outcomes, but also applied to ideas and social issues. She grew into the decision to move away from being a commercial marketer to a social one which has led her to be even more creative in order to change behaviours for the long term.How to sell more wine, to more people, more oftenStarting her career marketing consumer goods, Sharyn liked the art of what she was doing but wanted to learn more, so went back to University to do a Masters and then on to do a PhD. Her PhD became famously, how to sell more wine to more people more often!Having enjoyed the educational setting of her time at University, Sharyn went on to to teach social marketing focusing predominantly on social, health and environmental issues and founded the Journal of Social Marketing to create more space for researches to publish work. Social marketing is much more than social mediaSharyn goes on to explain that a natural misconception is that social marketing relates simply to social media.  It is instead the idea of marketing in a social space. There is a branding issue behind what social marketing is, and is not. She discusses how when you're working in the space of social change and your programme isn't get the uptake, its because you're selling the wrong thing. And we need to take a step back, and look at selling people something that they really want. That's where the real work begins. Coca Cola sell lifestyle, not product In reference to selling a lifestyle rather than just a product, Sharyn talks about how Coca Cola have done an effective job of building the associations in our minds that Coca Cola is family, fun and good times, giving links that go way beyond a beverage quenching a thirst.In relation to the health industry, she talks about whether messaging focuses too much on the health issue and we're getting the whole 'sell' wrong, needing to review what will really move and motivate people in order to stop missing the mark.Recent projectsSharyn moves on to highlight some of her projects; a social marketing pilot campaign to keep leaves out of waterways to improve water quality, the Leave it campaign working to reduce koala and dog interactions given that dog attacks are the third most common cause of death amongst Koalas and the Blurred Minds project, changing the way adolescents feel about alcohol. Takeaway AdviceDrawing on her marketing experience, Sharyn talks about the magic combination of listening well and giving people what they want. And keep doing it until you get it right. Data is great, but it's only looking backwards. It's the intuition and learning how to find what should happen next that is key.  Behaviour change means you can't do what you've always done. It takes courage. ContactTwitterLinkedin
Professor Richard Wiseman has been described as ‘…one of the most interesting and innovative experimental psychologists in the world today.’  His books have sold over 3 million copies and he presents keynote talks to organisations across the world, including The Swiss Economic Forum, Google and Amazon.He holds Britain’s only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and is one of the most followed psychologists on Twitter.Street Magician to Psychology Professor Richard starts the podcast by talking about becoming completely hooked on magic at a young age. Whilst working in Covent Garden as a street magician,  Richard happened upon a magic book which described the similarities between magicians and psychologists. So began his interest in psychology. After completing his undergraduate degree at University College London (UCL), he went to Edinburgh University to work on a PhD looking at psychics and mediums as the team wanted someone with a background in the psychology of deception and magic. Upon completing that, Richard accepted a Lectureship at the University of Hertfordshire where he is now a professor. Public Understanding of PsychologyThrough work for radio and the BBC around identifying truth and lies, Richard talks about meeting two people that hugely impacted his career; Roger Highfield, who was the Science Editor at The Telegraph at the time and now is heavily involved in the Science Museum, and also Simon Singh, author of Fermat's Last Theorem. Putting ideas to paperRichard shares what he learnt from some time working in advertising, how to reframe and the importance of authenticity as a writer. In line with this, he talks about his book, The Luck Factor, looking at the psychology of luck. From this, he identified that small interventions can have big impact, which evolved into 59 seconds; think a little, change a lot. Behavioural ScienceRichard discusses how all the talks he gives are essentially about getting people to change, through simple interventions or 'opening the door' in a fun way. From these concepts, he wrote 'Rip it Up' about lifestyle change and during Covid-19, helped design a game where the more you kept away from people, the more lives you saved called 'Can you save the World?'.Richard talks about 'being expansive', working with Derren Brown who takes the audience on a journey from what seems a small idea through to what becomes a massive conclusion enthralling an entire audience. Takeaway Advice Richard leaves us with advice to find your passionate, be authentic and have a big vision. Don't be constrained by what others have done in the past and fundamentally, if you have a great idea, it will sell itself.   Contact Twitter @RichardWiseman CBC profile
Susan Michie is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of UCL's Health Psychology Research Group. She is also chartered clinical & health psychologist, and elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS) and the British Psychological Society (BPS). Early Life & CareerSusan starts the episode by talking about the huge shoes she felt she had to fill from a young age, with a father who was instrumental in setting up modern AI and computer science in the UK. During this time, the Lighthill report was produced saying that there was no future in computers - check out a YouTube video on the report's debate! Susan’s mother was also the first woman foreign secretary of the Royal Society, so her upbringing had a large emphasis on science.Susan details her journey through University, early career, and the many ways that she  rebelled against the system, staging events at Oxford University and beyond to challenge outdated policies and thinking. As a clinical psychologist, she worked in social services family centres with families and children who were at risk.  She also worked at the Royal Free Hospital, London where she joined the Psychology Unit as a Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Health Psychology, working with Professor Marie Johnston. Eventually Susan branched into other areas, such as public and professional attitudes towards genetic testing and informed choice and decision making about prenatal screening. She explains that her career journey has had many branches as she does not stay within the academic four-walls, even knocking on doors to talk with people. CBC & COM-BSusan talks about her work in UCL's Centre for Behaviour Change (CBC) which brings together disciplines and translates behavioural science for practical use. The CBC  provide CBC training, a Summer school, conferences & events, and an MSc in behaviour change.She shares how the COM-B model of behaviour was developed by working in the Department of Health, where she saw how none of the many behavioural frameworks were 100% fit for purpose. Systematic reviews revealed that a simple model was needed to understand behaviour, and inspiration was taken from the American Judicial System – does someone have the Capability, the Opportunity and the Motivation to commit a crime.As her work on the application of behavioural theories continues, Susan shares how she is looking to continue linking work across disciplines and seek methods for better analysis of the huge amounts of data being produced about behaviour change.Susan leaves us with advice for those starting out or entering field: try and do what you are really interested in, are curious about and enjoy doing, when you can. Building networks is  hugely important so don't be shy to start conversations or write to people. 9 times out of 10 it might go nowhere, but 1 in 10, it can take you to interesting places.ContactTwitter @SusanMichieCBC profile
This is a special episode with the Current Chair, Past Chair, and Past-Past Chair and Treasurer of the BSPHN!  Having had the BSPHN's annual conference in February, this is the perfect time to get some of the founding committee members together.We begin by understanding how each member of the committee found their way to creating the BSPHN and how the collaboration between health psychology, behavioural science and public health is becoming more and more integral.The group discussed the recent virtual BSPHN conference, which centred on behavioural practice within the Covid pandemic. There has also been great interdisciplinary and rapid insight work during the pandemic, which highlights how crucial this is for future work to solve big public health issues. It may also have removed some of the barriers between academia and implementation as the proof of success is clear to see.They also celebrated some of the opportunities of the online format - allowing live chat and conversation between people during presentations so discussions could be had which isn't as possible during a presentation in a room.Is the BSPHN for you?The group talk about why they think can benefit: health psychologists, behavioural scientists, sociologists, those in Public Health looking for insight in applying those things. It is for all levels - trainees, practitioners, policy makers at every level to get skills to use everyday. It's the kind of group they would have wanted when they were starting out or looking to develop or speak to people.Where is the BSPHN going?It's a movement for change which is creating a  nurturing relationship between sectors, removing the 'stand-offishness' people might feel in other contexts or groups. They creating supportive pathways and roles between current, sometimes isolated, teams in public health and behavioural insight work.If you are interested in joining or learning more, check out the BSPHN website.Hope you enjoy the podcast - please leave a review wherever you listen.
The BSPHN's Annual Conference is running from 9th - 11th February 2021. Sign up to attend now and get a year's free membership.Stu is joined by Dan Makoski; an executive that brings an organisation’s deepest purpose to life by weaving technology and strategy together through brilliant design.Dan is  Chief Design Officer at Lloyds Banking Group, leading a multi-disciplinary human-centred team with the goal of helping Britain prosper through empathetic & pioneering design.He was Head of Design at Walmart (the Fortune 1), started Project ARA at Google, designed the original Surface at Microsoft, led design research globally at Motorola, and was the first VP of Design at Capital One.Dan knows seven versions of the running man & in addition to being bald, Dan & Stu (& finance & health), have lots in common.Dan talks about his experiences of connecting a historically transactional world with real human behaviour. The pair discuss the fact that heavily regulated industries like health, finance & education are risk averse due to their importance,  & therefore suffer from the unintended consequence of lack of creativity & human focus. They also discuss the need to flip our approach to language..."Banking has operated so far on the presumption that to help people, they need to make people financially literate. What we're explaining is that banking has to learn the language of people."Dan explains simple approaches to adopt when beginning the process of designing around people, including developing personas, scenarios & interactions to better respond to human behaviour. He explains how through extensive research, Lloyds have moved from a "customer journey" approach to a "life journey" approach to help people connect banking with relatable life moments.He also shares example of using behavioural economics in practice, including the locus of control, and how, implemented in the design of banking products, it helps people make better financial decisions.Stu & Dan discuss the similarities between health & financial wellbeing, the "goalposts" of relative progress vs absolute success & the feelings of guilt and shame associated. Dan closes with positive messages that industries are moving in the right direction towards a human centred approach & hopes that once the pandemic has gone, the financial honesty & human focus will remain.The Social DilemmaDan: website, linkedin, twitterNudgestock presentation - articleFintech Futures article
The BSPHN's Annual Conference is running from 9th - 11th February 2021. Sign up to attend now and get a year's free membership. In this episide, Stu is joined by Adam Ferrier, Founder & Chief Thinker at Thinkerbell, an agency that practices measured magic - bridging marketing science and hard core creativity. Thinkerbell won AdNews' 2019  Creative Agency of the Year. Adam is also author of two books: "The Advertising Effect: How to Change Behaviour" & "Stop Listening to the Customer: Try Hearing Your Brand Instead".Adam shares how he was always interested in money and people which led him into the world of consumer psychology. His thesis was on what makes people 'cool' and spent time training in the clinical psychology model, but soon found that this alone didn't offer the most effective solutions.Adam and Stu discuss what makes effective behaviour change campaigns from across sectors; from the effort paradox in IKEA's furniture, to why weight loss control groups lose more weight than the experimental groups. They look at some of the public health campaigns that Adam has worked on in Australia: Man Up, a documentary on how men express themselves to broaden stereotypes; ABC Goes Mental As, a dedicated week of programming for Mental Health; Doing Nothing Does Harm,  an online campaign giving people the option to stop sexist behaviour, which involved people in the campaign as well as mimicked the desired behaviour.The pair look at what public health can learn from marketing and advertising - creating a category of cause, understanding the irrationality of people's choices and the influence of reality TV. To illustrate this Adam and Stu give examples of Milgram's experiments, asking why you bought the shoes you're wearing, and how picking up dog poo makes you feel when you do, or don't, own a dog. They both also recommend Rory Sutherland's book "Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense" as a starting point for anyone looking to understand and change behaviours. Adam also discusses the need to find a brand category, like the work of OMGyes which fills the niche of education around sexual pleasure.Adam leaves us with what he is looking at and working on in behavioural science at the moment: s p a c e - where ideas meet influence and DOA - a social cause agency working with business, brands, government and movements to have a positive impact on the world.Contact & more information:Adam: Twitter, LinkedInStu: Twitter, LinkedIn, Stu's blogs
Recorded 15th December 2020Guests:Professor Jim McManus - Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council and VP of the Association of Directors of Public Health. He is a Chartered Psychologist, British Psychological Society Fellow & Co-Founder and Chair of the Behavioural Science and Public Health Network. Dr Daniel Jolley - Snr Lecturer in Psychology at Northumbria University, Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society & member of the Executive Committee of the Social Psychology Section. Daniel is a social psychologist with expertise in the psychology of conspiracy theories.Episode Description:In this coronavirus special, Stu talks with Jim and Dan about conspiracy theories - including what separates conspiratorial thinking from more simple questioning, and how as conspiracies become more familiar to us, they can also become more believable. They explore the history of conspiracies, how they are nothing new and often accompany significant cultural or political change. In doing so, Dan demonstrates how beliefs in conspiracies are linked with higher anxiety and feelings of threat. The group then go on to examine and tackle some conspiracies relating to COVID-19 and the vaccine:5G and worsening COVID-19 symptomsVaccines and side effects How could it have been developed so quickly?If it works why can't we stop social distancing?Vaccine contains nanoparticlesVaccine is being used for trackingWe don’t know what’s in itThe group also discuss how to bring people away from conspiracies, and how this starts with building back trust; having a genuine dialogue with compassion and establishing common ground.Additional resources:Go Viral! - game developed by University of Cambridge & UK Government. It gives a taste of the techniques and motivations behind the spread of coronavirus misinformation .NHS Why Vaccinations Are Important - how vaccines work, what they contain and the most common side effects.Contact:Dr Daniel Jolley: Website  & TwitterProfessor Jim McManus: LinkedInStu King: LinkedIn, Twitter & Stu's Blogs
Recorded 8th December 2020.Guests joining Stu King:Professor Jim McManus - Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council & Vice President of the Association of Directors of Public Health.Wayne Bateman - Behavioural Science Specialist in the Behaviour Change Unit at Hertfordshire County Council.Dr Paul Chadwick -  Associate Professor and Deputy Director Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London & Consultant Clinical and Health Psychologist.Episode covers the release of the rapid response paper:COVID-19 Vaccination: Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy - Review & Recommendations. This is an incredibly important paper that Hertfordshire County Council will share widely to support the use of behavioural science in creating messaging to maximise uptake of the vaccine in the general population by supporting professionals across the system.Click here for other Herts County Council COVD-19 Behavioural Sciences Resources.At the time of recording, the vaccine is being rolled out to the most vulnerable & most exposed, however these groups can also be the most likely to be hesitant to uptake the vaccine due to information and time limitations.Stu and guests discuss the content of the paper - research on increasing uptake methods, data on previous vaccinations in pandemics, barriers to uptake & surveys on current COVID vaccination hesitancy. It marries up barriers of complacency, confidence & convenience with behaviourally sound strategies to mitigate them. And provides easily digestible messages for Public Health teams to into quick action for local vaccine uptake.The trio explain how the paper applies the COM-B model to vaccination hesitancy and recommends the EAR strategy when applying to communities: Engaging, Acknowledging and Responding accordingly for each approach and audience. The document is expected to develop over time, with input from the SAGE committee, for example.Contacts:Stu King: @Stu_King_Hh, LinkedIn & Stu's BlogsDr Paul Chadwick - @drpaulchadwick, LinkedIn, UCL Centre for Behavioural ChangeWayne Bateman - LinkedInProfessor Jim McManus: @jimmcmanusph and on LinkedIn
Thanks to BSPHN for hosting this podcast. The BSPHN's annual conference is coming up on 9th-11th February 2021, and will showcase the efforts of behavioural science and public health towards COVID-19. Free for members, or the same price as an annual membership cost.This week Stu is joined by two PR and Marketing experts; Chloe Franses and Andrew Thomas.Chloe's experience extends from working as head of creative relationships at Amnesty International, to building authenticity for brands such as Formula E, and individuals such as Idris Elba.  Andrew is a commercial marketer and works in transformation, helping  individuals to thrive in the new digital economy.  The three look at how marketing and PR has changed over time - the world that Saatchi & Saatchi were working in, the persuasion  that was used, and how different the world is now with more transparency, and more competition for attention. They also discuss how the aims of PR has changed, from helping brands and organisations to 'not look bad' to showcasing how they create real social value not only for commercial profit for themselves, but to genuinely benefit the community. Using examples of the oil & gas and fashion industry and how audiences are more challenging of brands, and trends like 'green washing' led to the need to demonstrate better values.Chloe shares her experience of the power of celebrity endorsement and how it can tap into people's identities in a way that organisations cannot. Andrew expands on this notion of identity, driving brand loyalty throughout life.When looking at what healthcare can learn from marketing across industries, they explore that health messages are explained in a rational way even though people are often irrational in decisions around their health. They examine how this can be better aligned through simplicity, and a focus on who delivers the message. For example, the difficulty in undoing the glamourised imagery of smoking (even with the Suffragettes and torches of freedom) in order to encourage people to quit for their health. Contacts:Chloe Franses: Instagram, LinkedIn & website.Andrew Thomas: LinkedIn Stu King: Twitter, LinkedIn, Stu's Blogs
Recorded: 19th Nov 2020Stu is joined by Dr Nisreen Alwan & Prof Susan Michie. Nisreen is Associate Professor in Public Health, University of Southampton. Susan is Director, UCL Centre for Behaviour Change & a committee member of Independent Sage.Nisreen shares her experience of long COVID, what it means and its effects. They look at how both those with long COVID and healthcare workers are affected - how the range of symptoms can be difficult to diagnose, causing anxiety. Plus, the challenge for patients of managing with such unpredictability.Nisreen and Susan discuss the evidence of who is at risk, including young people. And how the public messaging around COVID could do more to alert this group of the risks to their health & wellbeing. Nisreen shares the support available through healthcare and peer support.  And Susan shares how indieSAGE will be discussing it in order to advise the government. For more on long COVID, see the list of resources below including guidance on recovery & insights for healthcare workers.Thanks to the BSPHN for hosting. Check out the membership to connect with professionals in public health & behavioural science.Contacts:Dr Nisreen Alwan:@Dr2NisreenAlwan, Professor Susan Michie:@SusanMichie, King:@Stu_King_Hh, LinkedIn Profile, Stu's BlogsAdditional Resources:Nature: A negative COVID-19 test does not mean recoveryThe Lancet: Underestimating the burdenBMJ: What is mild covid-19?Wellcome: Why the Term 'Long Covid' is neededBMJ: From doctors as patientsRCGP: Written evidenceRoyal Society ReportNIHR: Living with Covid19NHS: recovery guidanceThe Guardian: lingering heart damageJAMA: Long-term Health ConsequencesBJGP: Finding the 'right' GP
Professor Ivo Vlaev is Professor of Behaviour Science at Warwick Business School, Warwick University.  He began his career working in the lab on understanding why people make irrational choices, observing reactions and what part of brain lights ups.  He is currently working on an integrated theory of behaviour change taking into account psychology, neuroscience, economics and other social sciences.Ivo is also the co-author of the MINDSPACE  report used by the UK government to design policy using insights from behavioural science and nudge theory, and was the basis for establishing the Behaviour Insights team.Ivo speaks to Stu about his integrated theory of behaviour change, and how it's aim is to create a taxonomy of taxonomies for consistent and comprehensive language to reduce confusion and better evaluate interventions from health to finance decisions. They discuss how traditional interventions are based on information and education, as well as focussing on targeting one particular kind of motivation. And how the worst examples can use the 'it sounded like a good idea at the time approach'. Although these can have good outcomes, they lead to a more piecemeal approach. Ivo suggests that the best cases use comprehensive theory and good methodology, for example in financial decisions, where an intervention targeted identity and the framing of people's actions in order to motivate a change in behaviour.You can find out more about Ivo's work and behaviour change in policy at:Warwick Business School websiteUCL Centre for Behaviour ChangeThe Behavioural Insights Team
Recorded 3rd November 2020RWBS welcomes back Professor Susan Michie in the run up to another national lockdown. Stu and Susan discuss what has led us to this point, including the flaws with the current test, trace and isolate processes and the low adherence to isolating. From a behavioural point of view they discuss the reasons behind this low isolation adherence and why this differs between countries.Exploring the coined term ‘behavioural fatigue’, Susan shares her thoughts on why fewer people are following the rules as strictly compared to the start of the first lockdown, from trust, to time of year. They also look at the most affected groups - younger people due to the impact on their social networks, jobs and stability; as well as groups who already faced inequalities before the pandemic hit. On a positive note, there may be scientific, social and personal learnings from the last lockdown that means both coping with, and the outcomes of, a lockdown now give us hope for a more connected festive period.The episode references Independent SAGE - a group of scientists working to provide independent scientific advice to the UK government and public on how to minimise deaths and support Britain’s recovery from COVID-19. Follow and learn more on their website, Youtube channel and Twitter.Follow Stu King on Twitter, LinkedIn and through his BeeZee Bodies blogs to hear more about using translating behavioural science into reality.
Recorded October 2019Firstly, apologies that this month's podcast is a little delayed! We at BeeZee Bodies are still working double time to support people to be healthy throughout this period.For this podcast I am joined by:Em Rahmen, Head of Public Health Workforce Development at Health Education England, Aoife Fortescue-Webb, Public Health Registrar at NHS West Midlands,Ashlee Mulimba, Health Psychologist at Healthy Dialogues Ltd.All three have been working on the Behaviour Change Development Framework (BCDF). It is a tool designed to determine the level of behaviour change training needed for each sector and level of Public Health practitioner, informed by, and appropriate to, the user. For more information on it, check out the video, "What is the BCDF?" We discussed the background to the framework, how it has been developed as user-need focussed, and how they see it creating a more consistent behaviour change offering across all of Public Health. We discussed some scenarios of how it might supporting different job roles, from receptionists, police men and stop smoking practitioners.The assessment only takes about 2-3 mins to complete and breaks down what level of training might be appropriate, such as:Universal training (recommended for anyone in a Public Health setting) is a 1-hour e-learning toolkit to understand terminology & communication skills:  Behaviour Change (BC) Level 1 BC Level 2 BC Level 3The full assessment and toolkits can be found at  Just as a reminder we are recording this on behalf of the BSPHN, who exist to spread word about the importance and usefulness of behavioural science in public health. You can join for just £25 if you are working or £10 if you aren’t working or are a student so get yourself onto and join... why not do it literally right now? Go on!  
This episode is recorded in the midst of the Coronavirus lockdown and features Aline Holzwarth.Aline is an applied behavioural scientist, specialising in digital health research and scientifically informed product design. Her training in psychology and business, and her experience working in research and healthcare have given her the interdisciplinary lens necessary to appreciate the complexity of decision-making in the real world.  We discuss Aline's journey to Dan Ariely's research lab, where she works with illustrators, policy makers, and scientists to test behavioural research's validity in the real world. We look at the impact of the Coronavirus and lockdown, such as breaking down (sometimes decades worth of) barriers in healthcare and the longevity of the flip from in-person to digital interventions. Aline also shares some of her favourite examples of behaviour change in health, such as a simple change on a form leading to a huge saving.To connect and learn from people working in behaviour change across academia, industry and public health do think about joining the BSPHN. You can join for £25 if you are working and £10 if not including if you are a student, so there is no good excuse not to join!
Recorded on 14th April 2020Apologies for the lower sound quality, we wanted to make sure we had both Jim and Susan on podcast as it gives richer content, however it did mean some technical difficulties.This episode comes out just as the lockdown has been extended for a further 3 weeks. In this episode we discuss what this further period of isolation and distancing means for the population. The potential for, and also ways to tackle, increases in loneliness, tension, and declining adherence, but why it is not appropriate to use the catch all phrase of 'behavioural fatigue' which has often been used. We also celebrated what the population has achieved - the work from frontline key workers, and that around 98% of the population has been adhering to the measures from the government, despite media coverage.With these measures we discussed the behavioural elements behind them - mist-interpreting people's reasons for doing things like going to parks or buying non-essential items. Susan and Jim described how the government could tweak simple messaging or actions to do a better job of explaining why these are being put in place in order to help people follow the guidelines.We finished by discussing the potential longer term impacts of this period such as demonstrating who is essential in our society, and reassessing how we live on a 'just in time' principle. In this episode Susan mentions 2 papers that discuss scientific understanding of isolation and impacts of current measures, here is a list of those, and other current evidence being used to advise the government:a. Webster RK, Brooks SK, Smith LE, Woodland L, Wessely S, Rubin GJ. How to improve adherence with quarantine: Rapid review of the evidence. Public Health (under review) Brooks SK, Smith LE, Webster RK, Weston D, Woodland L, Hall I, Rubin GJ. The impact of unplanned school closure on children’s social contact: Rapid evidence review. Eurosurveillance (under review) Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, Woodland L, Wessely S, Greenberg N, Rubin GJ. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: Rapid review of the evidence. Lancet 2020, Rubin GJ, Wessely S. The psychological effects of quarantining a city. BMJ 2020; 368. Michie S, Rubin GJ, Amlot R. Behavioural science must be at the heart of the public health response to covid -19, BMJ Opinion, February 28 2020. Michie S, West R, Amlot R. Behavioural strategies for reducing covid-19 transmission in the general population. BMJ Opinion, March 3 2020. Smith L, Yardley L, Michie S, Rubin GJ. Should we wave goodbye to the handshake? BMJ Opinion, submitted International surveys and polls on coronavirus, including public risk perception and consumer behaviour 
Samuel Salzer joins me, Stu King, for this month's RWBS podcast. Samuel Salzer is an experienced behavioural strategist specialising in the digital health space. His work involves applying insights from behavioural science and behavioural economics to build user-centered and habit-forming products and services. In our discussion we covered how Samuel entered the field to where he is now with consulting work and his newsletter Habit Weekly. It now has thousands of subscribers and goes out to over a hundred countries.Samuel shared some of the best work he has seen such as mental health apps created with behavioural experts and research that showed how long it actually takes to form a habit! He shared his use of behaviour science to change his own habits - such as understanding why his long streak of learning a language every day still wasn't sticking. Samuel suggests the best way to start using behavioural economics in your work without being overwhelmed by all the content out there.You can check out and sign up to Samual's Habit Weekly newsletter yourself - it has something for every level, from leaders in the field to those just starting out.Don't forget you can become a member of the BSPHN for just £25 or £10 if a student for lots of benefits and access to content.
The fourth episode in this mini-series, recorded on 26th March 20, covers some big topics, including:Individual strategies to staying physically and mentally healthy during this challenging period of staying at homeThe governments response to date and what to expect in the futureHow we can come together as a society to care for each other and how this should continue after the immediate crisis is over.Stuart King, Professor Susan Michie and Professor Jim McManus discuss these issues in detail in this slightly longer episode than the previous ones. Unfortunately we lose Jim after just a couple of questions as he had technical difficulties as home. We are all dealing with small challenges like this as we adjust to home working, and in this case, remote recording.However, Jim still provides valuable insight in the beginning and Susan continues to provide valuable and interesting ideas for people; insight into the Government response to date and in the future; and some personal anecdotes that help contextualise how to use each moment and challenge as an opportunity to create healthy habits.Please send questions or comments to @stu_king_hh on twitter, add me on Linked In or email me at If there are people you want to hear from or questions you want us to answer then let me know.Stay healthy; stay active; stay connected; but most of all - Stay Home!
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