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Cultural evolutionary behavioural science in public policy

Schimmelpfennig, Robin and Muthukrishna, Michael ORCID: 0000-0002-7079-5166 (2023) Cultural evolutionary behavioural science in public policy. Behavioural Public Policy. ISSN 2398-063X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/bpp.2022.40


Interventions are to the social sciences what inventions are to the physical sciences – an application of science as technology. Behavioural science has emerged as a powerful toolkit for developing public policy interventions for changing behaviour. However, the translation from principles to practice is often moderated by contextual factors – such as culture – that thwart attempts to generalize past successes. Here, we discuss cultural evolution as a framework for addressing this contextual gap. We describe the history of behavioural science and the role that cultural evolution plays as a natural next step. We review research that may be considered cultural evolutionary behavioural science in public policy, and the promise and challenges to designing cultural evolution informed interventions. Finally, we discuss the value of applied research as a crucial test of basic science: if theories, laboratory and field experiments do not work in the real world, they do not work at all.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s).
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 09 May 2023 11:39
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 17:34

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