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The illusion of similarity

This is the sixth blog in our Behavioural Government series, which explores how behavioural insights can be used to improve how government itself works. The “illusion of similarity” is where policy makers have inaccurate assumptions about what people think or know, and inaccurate predictions about how people will act. This can cause policy makers to think […]

June 14, 2018


The problem with groups

This is the fifth blog in our Behavioural Government series, which explores how behavioural insights can be used to improve how government itself works. Thomas Hobbes, in one of the first modern treatises on government, recognised that, in groups, advisers are ‘not moved by their own sense, but by the eloquence of another, or for […]

June 8, 2018


What should government pay attention to?

This is the fourth blog in our Behavioural Government series, which explores how behavioural insights can be used to improve how government itself works. You might say – whatever the public cares about. The fact that people care about an issue is of course important in a democracy – no politician will last long if […]

June 1, 2018


How confirmation bias stops us solving problems

This is the third blog in our Behavioural Government series, which explores how behavioural insights can be used to improve how government itself works. Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out, interpret, judge and remember information so that it supports one’s pre-existing views and ideas. Confirmation bias can make people less likely to engage […]

May 25, 2018


Are you well-calibrated? Results from a survey of 1,154 BIT readers

We recently invited blog readers to test whether their decision-making was affected by cognitive bias – and more than 1,000 of you took us up on the offer. Our survey showed people ten statements, then asked: whether they thought each statement was true or false, and how confident they were that their answer was correct. This […]

May 21, 2018


National Numeracy Day: take the test

Suppose you put £100 into a savings account with a guaranteed interest rate of 2% per year. You don’t make any further payments into this account and you don’t withdraw any money. How much would be in the account at the end of the first year, once the interest payment is made? Check your answer […]

May 16, 2018


A behavioural approach to managing money: Ideas and results from the Financial Capability Lab

Today we publish a major report detailing the results of our Financial Capability Lab partnership with the Money Advice Service (MAS) and Ipsos MORI. Some of the early Lab results exploring how credit card terms and conditions could be better explained to customers were published in the Government’s recent Consumer Green Paper. The report we […]

May 10, 2018


Behavioural Government: A major new initiative from BIT

Confident about your own decision-making? Take the test. When we present our work or appear on panels, we’re often asked the same question: “But doesn’t government itself suffer from cognitive biases?” It’s an issue close to our hearts, given our origins in government. We first highlighted it in the MINDSPACE report in 2010 (see p55) […]

May 2, 2018


EAST en español y nuestro trabajo en América Latina

(This post is also available in English) Cuando hablamos de nuestro trabajo en el Reino Unido frecuentemente nos hacen la pregunta: ¿podría algo así funcionar también en otros países? Durante los últimos cuatro años hemos estado colaborando con Gobiernos en América Latina aplicando nuestra metodología, y encontramos que la respuesta es: ¡Sí! En nuestro primer […]

February 13, 2018


When should you bring a child to hospital?

There are obvious answers. Any child should go to an emergency department if they’ve been knocked unconscious or are struggling to breath. For less serious problems, like broken bones and infections, they can go to minor injuries units and urgent care centres. However, the majority of children do not attend paediatric emergency departments (PED) because […]

December 19, 2017