Transforming behaviour change: beyond nudge and neuromania

Document type
Rowson, Jonathan
Date of publication
1 November 2011
Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

Download (1.9MB )

This report seeks to temper and deepen the public discussion about the increasingly important relationship between Neuroscience, behaviour, and society. By critically engaging with developments in self-knowledge it introduces a learning process that is acutely relevant to modern social challenges. The report poses the following ideas:

  • As a social species, our brains develop through a process of social learning that affects our perception of ourselves, of others, and our behaviours (such as the ability to communicate our intentions and adapt to new situations).
  • Self-awareness can shape the social and biological conditions that drive our actions.
  • The popular ‘Nudge’ theory of Thaler and Sunstein shifts people's environments to make behaviour change possible without changing attitudes or values.
  • What is needed is the ‘Steer’ approach that holistically aligns behaviour change strategies with human nature to foster transformative behaviour changes.

The report concludes with an outline of the six ideas that contribute to the RSA’s model of change.

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