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Behavioural Architecture - The Short Version

Behavioural architecture is a novel approach to solving the challenges that organizations and societies face when human behaviour is suboptimal or downright problematic. It is an interdisciplinary approach that hinges on scientific insight into human behaviour and psychology. 

The Longer Version

Behavioural architecture is best understood as a toolbox. That toolbox has been developed to solve issues that arise from the proneness to thinking errors, biases and irrationality in humans. Especially in the last 50 years, research in social and cognitive psychology, as well as behavioural economy (which is sometimes erroneously confused with behavioural architecture) we have come to understand quite well how and why human beings think, feel and behave irrationally. Thus, we also understand how and when human beings need a helping hand to better reach their goals.

A complicated world

In the past few centuries, the world around us has become vastly more complicated for us to interact with. We face an intricate bureaucracy and systems of implicit and explicit rules, a multitude of important decisions (e.g. buying a house, career choices) and a previously unfathomable vastness of information to aid us in making those decisions. Our food selection options have become much more energy dense and our work life sedentary. Our living standard is high, but it is also all too easy to succumb to life style diseases. In short, we have many more options and much more information available than before - but we did not evolve to handle this richness optimally. That is behavioural designs, nudges, choice architecture and other tools in the toolbox of behavioural architecture comes in.

The new toolbox

Behavioural architecture builds upon scientific evidence as to how human being systematically behave irrationality and are prone to mistakes due to e.g. limited attention, will power, memory, social influence, lack of computational processing (brain power) or a number of contextual factors. The list is long, as research interest into the topic has been steeply rising in the past 30 years.

A behavioural architect is apt at identifying these underlying problems and solving them in efficient and efficacious ways.

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