Introduction to Applied Behavioural Science


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Short description

This is an exciting new module which 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 which 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.

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.

Who teaches the course?

Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin. The module will be delivered by Professor 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?

The CPD will be delivered online over 8 weeks with one 2-hour session on Monday of each week.  There will also be 9 hours of asynchronous material.  In order to be awarded the Certificate of Completion in Applied Behavioural Science participants will need to attend and actively participate.


Applied Behavioural Science

Insights into the fundamental patterns of individual and group behaviour Speaker: Ms. Diane Pelly

Course Fees

The fee is €1,500.


Start Dates

February 13th

End date

April 3rd

Registration closing date

February 12th

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. 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

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Applied Behavioural Science - €1,500

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Please contact for further details on applying for this CPD. For further details about the content of the CPD, please contact the Professor Diane Pelly at

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Register your interest at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

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