Behaviour Change by Design

Our vision is to accelerate progress in changing behaviour by redesigning environments to improve health for all.


Does increasing the availability of healthier vs. less-healthy food alter food selection?

Posted: 01/02/2021

Environmental cues shape behaviour, but few studies compare the impact of targeting healthier vs. less-healthy cues. We looked at whether 417 participants choose a healthier or less-healthy snack when offered one of the following selections: equal number of healthier and less-healthy options (2 of each); increased healthier options (6 healthier and 2 less-healthy); or increased less-healthy options (2 healthier and 6 less-healthy).


BCbD Annual Lecture 2020

Posted: 11/08/2020

“Misinformation, pseudoscience and the unhealthy commodity industries”  by Professor Mark Petticrew from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The history of industry misinformation is well-documented – particularly tobacco industry denial of the link between smoking and ill health. Similar misinformation strategies are commonly used by the alcohol, food, fossil fuel, pesticide and other industries. It has been suggested that this reflects a cross-industry “playbook” that such industries use to distract from their harms and to delay effective monitoring and regulation. In this talk, Professor Mark Petticrew will outline the strategies some industries are using to misinform us and consider how these can be combatted.


The Research Programme

We are a Wellcome-funded collaboration bringing together a team of behavioural and cognitive scientists across the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol. Our aim is to run a series of field and laboratory studies to test the promise of a type of intervention – altering cues in our immediate physical environments – to promote healthier behaviour. These are sometimes known as “choice architecture” or “nudging”. We are also interested in how to facilitate the implementation of this evidence. Ultimately, our hope is that this will lead to improved health for everyone.

In the most ambitious co-ordinated set of studies to date, we will conduct a series of linked field and laboratory studies to estimate effect sizes of promising Choice Architecture interventions to reduce food, alcohol and tobacco consumption. Enabled by unprecedented collaborations, these will be conducted in supermarkets, bars and cafeterias with interventions optimised through laboratory studies determining mechanisms.