BRU Methods

How we work

Our work centres on applying the scientific study of human behaviour to public policy problems. Applying behavioural science to policy can help people to make better decisions and make it easier for them to solve problems and to live healthier, happier lives.

Because behaviour and decision making are complex and change from context to context, it is usually not obvious why a particular behaviour occurs or whether an intervention will help. This means that our research generally involves experiments – we learn as we go along.

Some of our experiments are diagnostic. We measure the quality of decision making and investigate when and why people struggle to make good decisions. Examples include work on pensions (paper), mortgages (paper) and with complex products in general (paper).

Other experiments pre-test policy interventions (paper), such as the formatting of calorie posting on menus (paper), diagrams on pension benefit statements (paper) and price disclosures in electricity (paper).

The BRU has built up a body of research in consumer decision making, with a focus on major financial products, household services, food and environmental choices. See more details on our programmes here and our publications here.

The BRU publishes all of its work and is committed to open science practices.