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The use and misuse of behavioural science in the age of COVID-19

Oliver, Adam (2023) The use and misuse of behavioural science in the age of COVID-19. In: Sunstein, Cass R. and Reisch, Lucia A., (eds.) Research Handbook on Nudges and Society. Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 308 - 318. ISBN 9781035303021

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Identification Number: 10.4337/9781035303038.00028


This chapter, in light of COVID-19, offers a reflection on how behavioural science, and behavioural scientists, might best be employed in any future pandemic policy response. Four lessons are suggested. Lesson 1: behavioural scientists should refrain, at the outset of a pandemic, from speculating on whether people are over or underreacting to the threat. Lesson 2: when seeking advice or commentary from behavioural scientists, governments and the media should cast their nets wide. Lesson 3: behavioural scientists, now and in moving forward, ought to focus their pandemic-related efforts on producing a firmer evidence base on the factors that may improve the effectiveness of micro-interventions. Finally, lesson 4: even in the most challenging of circumstances, we must always remain mindful of the importance of individual freedom.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The editors and contributors severally
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2024 19:06
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 18:12

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