Introduction to Applied Behavioural Science


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Short description

This is an exciting new module that will equip working professionals with an understanding of the drivers of human behaviour and with the necessary skills to apply these insights to improve decision making, engagement and performance within their organisations.

The module will provide participants with an analytical framework and a set of concepts that can be used to explain human behaviour. The course uses ‘classic’ findings and cutting-edge research from the social sciences, psychology, and neuroscience to document the interplay of forces that explain human behaviour. We begin by interrogating the assumption that humans behave ‘rationally’. We discuss examples of departures from rationality and the insights these afford into the human condition. In doing so, we examine the impact of emotions, ‘automatic’ processes / habits, cognitive biases and ‘heuristics’ (mental shortcuts) on decision-making and behaviour. We examine the extent to which human behaviour is shaped by the environment and context rather than individual agency and choice and discuss the possibility of using ‘nudges’ to steer behaviour in a particular (welfare-enhancing) direction. We then explore how social identities and processes (e.g., norms, beliefs, rituals and trust) influence behaviour and examine the extent to which models of behaviour change can inform the design and testing of behavioural interventions. Finally, we discuss the ethics of applying behavioural insights, particularly within a digital environment. While the module will provide participants with a solid grasp of the theory which underpins behavioural science, there will be a strong emphasis on teaching

participants how to apply this knowledge in a variety of real-life organizational contexts.

On completion of the module, participants will:

  • Understand the psychological, sociological and economic processes that drive human behaviour.
  • Be able to critically assess the evidence base relating to these processes.
  • Be capable of predicting the role which different influences will have on within- and between-group interactions and be able to suggest approaches for improving outcomes.
  • Understand the mechanisms that underpin different models of human behaviour and how these can be used to design contextually-appropriate interventions and policies aimed at changing behaviour.
  • Have a solid grasp of how behavioural insights can be applied to change behaviour and improve a wide-range of outcomes within organisations. 

On successful completion of the CPD, students will receive a Certificate of Completion.

What topics will you cover?

  • What is behavioural science? How does it relate to the world of work?
  • How do we make decisions? Errors in judgement: cognitive biases and heuristics.
  • How does the social context influence our behaviour? The role of social norms, influence, rituals, social identity, trust etc.
  • How can ‘nudges’ and ‘choice architecture’ be used to change behaviour?
  • Real-world applications of behavioural science - recruitment; board decisions; market research; product design; marketing / brand-building and worker well-being.
  • Behavioural science in a digital environment.
  • Building an evidence base – how to test policies and/or products using surveys; observation / ethnographic studies; panel data; lab and field experiments.
  • Applying behavioural science ethically.

Who is this course for?

Working professionals from the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Anyone who is interested in understanding how insights from behavioural science can be used to drive business success, and who is keen to learn from the experiences of other professionals from a wide range of organisations, will benefit from this module.

The module is likely to be particularly relevant for managers; HR professionals; product developers; market researchers; service providers; marketers / brand managers and compliance officers from the financial, insurance, legal, IT and consumer products / services industries.

Participants will need to have access to a laptop with a working camera and microphone and will be encouraged to critically engage with the materials and to actively contribute to group discussions and activities.

This CPD is part of a programme of Continuous Professional Development in the area of Applied Social Data Analysis that the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy will deliver from Spring 2022. Addressing the scarcity of training in data science in Ireland and co-created with key industry partners, the Applied Social Data Analysis CPD programme trains participants in the fundamental knowledge and skills of social data analysis.

The programme goes beyond social data analytics to address causal analysis and consider social issues that are important to industries such as inequality, unemployment, climate change and ethics. This CPD will be of interest to individuals who wish to progress their careers through acquiring valuable social data analysis skills that are widely sought after in the private, public and non-profit sectors.

Who teaches the course?

Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin. The module will be delivered by TCD Teaching Fellow, Diane Pelly. Diane has qualifications in business and economics as well as in psychology and worked for nineteen years in banking and finance with Citigroup and Zurich bank (among others). She is currently completing a doctoral degree in behavioural economics on work practices and worker well-being.

How is the course delivered?

A week-long intensive programme (5 hours a day) commencing Monday, August 22nd on campus in Trinity College Dublin.

This will be preceded by 2 hours of preparatory online instruction. Additionally, participants will undertake 20 hours of self-study over the course of the programme and complete a combination of in-class and 1 take home exercise. One additional week will be included for submitting CPD exercises.


Applied Behavioural Science

One of six new in-person CPD courses offered by the School of Social Sciences & Philosophy. Speaker: Ms. Diane Pelly

Course Fees

The fee is €1,500.


Registration closing date

August 22nd 2022

How do I register and pay for the course?

Places are limited as class sizes are small, up to 30 per class so you can enrol now to secure your place or send us an enquiry if you have any questions.

You can enrol on the course directly via the PayPal link below by selecting which mode of delivery you wish to take (5 consecutive weeks or one week intensive). The course fee of €1,500 includes access to the course materials via Blackboard (Trinity’s Virtual Learning Environment) for the duration of the course. Please note that participation in this CPD course does not include access to the Trinity Library or any other student services (including a student identity card). For employers wishing to pay for employees' registration via invoice, please contact Mr Shane Fitzgerald at

Enrol Now

CPD Applied Behavioural Science (Week long intensive) Price €1,500
A week-long intensive programme (5 hours a day) commencing Monday, August 22nd on campus in Trinity College Dublin.

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Get in Touch

You can contact Shane Fitzgerald, External Relations Manager in the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy at for further details about applying for the module. For further details about the content of the module, you can contact the module lecturer, Ms Diane Pelly at