Computational Behavioural Science: Its Roots, Potential, and Promise

From climate change to obesity and extremism, our society faces diverse challenges whose resolution requires a deeper understanding of human behaviour and effective approaches to behaviour change.

From climate change to obesity and extremism, our society faces diverse challenges whose resolution requires a deeper understanding of human behaviour and effective approaches to behaviour change.

Computational Behavioural Science provides a unified approach to understanding, explaining, predicting, and influencing complex human behaviour dynamics to help address these challenges. It brings together the methods and tools of big data and technological advances of the 21st Century with the theories and insights from psychology and social sciences.

Unlike Behavioural Science of the old, however, it has a broad meta-theoretical perspective and a profound appreciation of human agency and sociality. Computational Behavioural Science understands micro-level human psychology and behaviour as, at least in part, constitutive of and constituted by meso-level social network processes, and these complex dynamics further combine and aggregate to generate macro-level cultural dynamics.

However, macro-level phenomena in turn profoundly constrain, but also enable meso- and micro-level social network and behavioural dynamics. With innovative methodology and deep theories of the human mind and behaviour, Computational Behavioural Science promises to provide greater behavioural insights to inform public discourse, policymaking, and policy implementation and evaluation for a better future.

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