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Crafting Your Message: Insights From Behavioral Science

Oct 22, 2018 7:00 PM • ICT UTC +07:00
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On 22 October, 2018, 1 PM BST/ 7 PM ICT, James Walsh presented about framework and key principles for applying behavioral science to crafting messages.

Since the cognitive revolution in psychology, scientists have made important advances in understanding how we think. These insights can be put into practice to tackle social problems. The World Bank’s WDR 2015 summarized these insights in three principles:

1. People think automatically and based on what comes to mind effortlessly. Careful deliberation is hard, and quite rare. We rely on shortcuts to make decisions in life.

2. People think socially and value esteem. We care about what others think, do, and say. We like to cooperate but care about fairness. We consider whether certain messengers should be trusted when evaluating information.

3. People think with mental models. When people think, they generally do not invent concepts. Instead, they rely on the constructs, norms, stereotypes shared within their community. These ideas are often communicated through stories.

About the presenters:

James Walsh is a doctoral research student at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and a member of the World Bank’s Behavioral Science Unit, eMBeD. He has worked with the World Bank for about five years and was a member of the research team for the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior. Previously, he served on the faculty of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service where he lectured in behavioral approaches to development economics. His primary interest is in using behavioral science to support disadvantaged and marginalized communities, with a focus on low-income countries.