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July 21

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The ultimate list of behavioral science educational resources

By Jennifer Clinehens

July 21, 2020


Do you want to learn more about applying psychology, behavioral economics, and behavioral science to the customer experience?

The list below represents online courses, degrees, and professional certificates that deal with the interactions between behavioral science, behavioral economics, psychology, design-thinking, human-computer interaction, UX, experience design, and marketing.

The list below covers the following areas, and represents mainly English-language courses taught online or in-person:

  1. Online courses (free and paid)
  2. Certificates and Executive Education (online and in-person)
  3. Postgraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. programs (online and in-person, in North America and Europe)

Note: If you feel a program is missing from this list, please drop a note in the comments and I’ll add it.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Online Courses

If you’re interested in any of these areas, online courses are a great place to start. That way you don’t have to commit to a full-time program or expensive certificate, but can still gain valuable skills and expertise.

Personally, after two Master's degrees in business, I‘m not keen to spend more money on more degrees. Much of my beginner and intermediate-level knowledge was gained from courses similar to those below.

If there’s a course I’ve missed, be sure to leave a note in the comments.

1. An Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience & Neuromarketing, Coursera

“How do we make decisions as consumers? What do we pay attention to, and how do our initial responses predict our final choices? To what extent are these processes unconscious and cannot be reflected in overt reports?

This course will provide you with an introduction to some of the most basic methods in the emerging fields of consumer neuroscience and neuromarketing. You will learn about the methods employed and what they mean. You will learn about the basic brain mechanisms in consumer choice, and how to stay updated on these topics. The course will give an overview of the current and future uses of neuroscience in business.”

2. The Neuromarketing Toolbox, Copenhagen Business School via Coursera

“Doing marketing research by asking people has been a common method and does still have advantages. On the other hand, if you want insights into the non-conscious interpretations of a consumer’s decision, then you need other research tools in your research toolbox. Neuromarketing makes use of such an extended toolbox, containing both technical equipment and ways of doing experimental research.

The goal for this course is to give you an overview of this fast developing toolbox ranging from simple web-camera, to eye-tracking, and to complicated brain-scanners. The course guides you through a contemporary literature review, giving you insights into the last decades of development within this field of research.”

3. Behavioral Economics in Action, University of Toronto via edX

“How can we get people to save more money, eat healthy foods and engage in healthy behaviors, and more generally make better choices? There has been a lot written about the fact that human beings do not process information and make decisions in an optimal fashion.

This course builds on much of the fascinating work in the area of the behavioral sciences and allows the student to develop a hands-on approach by learning its methods and more importantly, how it can be harnessed by suitably designing contexts to “nudge” choice.”

4. Buyer Behavior and Analysis, Curtain University via edX

“In this course, you will learn about the role of consumer behavior within marketing. We will discuss how this behavior is shaped by the social and cultural environment, as well as a number of psychological factors.

You will learn about decision-making processes in consumption behavior in different buying situations. This will develop your ability to integrate marketing processes at a higher level.

Concepts drawn from various disciplines such as psychology, economics, and anthropology will be examined.”

5. Behavioral Finance, Duke University via Coursera

“We make thousands of decisions every day… We usually make these decisions with almost no thought, using what psychologists call “heuristics” — rules of thumb that enable us to navigate our lives. Without these mental shortcuts, we would be paralyzed by the multitude of daily choices. But in certain circumstances, these shortcuts lead to predictable errors — predictable, that is, if we know what to watch out for.

Behavioral finance is the study of these and dozens of other financial decision-making errors that can be avoided, if we are familiar with the biases that cause them.

In this course, we examine these predictable errors, and discover where we are most susceptible to them.”

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Certificates and Executive Education

Professional certificates and executive education are a great way to learn more about behavioral science and apply it immediately to your work-life.

There are online and in-person programs listed below, and each has been notated.

As always, if there’s a program I’ve missed be sure to leave a note in the comments!

1. Columbia Business School: Behavioral Science in Business (U.S.)

“The last few years have seen an explosion in both the study and effective application of behavioral science — the science that combines applicable insights from the fields of psychology, behavioral economics, and neuroscience.

Whether you need to improve employee engagement, encourage changes in behavior of consumers, coworkers, or clients, or generate improved commercial returns — the ability to effectively, efficiently, and ethically influence people’s behavior allows you to better achieve your business objectives and positively impact the bottom line.

But as organizations come to realize the impact behavioral science can make, two challenges emerge: Which of the myriad of behavioral science tools and insights will be the most useful? And how can they be used in meaningful and applicable ways to deliver measured returns on investment?

This three-day program equips executives with a deep understanding of behavioral science for business and the tools to implement and measure its impact of behavioral science, using a proprietary Full Cycle Approach to Applying Behavioral Science™.”

2. Behavioural Economics Certificate, Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising (Online, U.K.-based)

“Understand the theory and practice of assembling simple experiments and applying the results.

Behaviour and bias underpins every aspect of life, none more so than in a customer’s journey engaging with a product or service. In this online Behavioural Economics Certificate you will develop the theoretical and practical understanding to turn the unpredictable into the predictable, ultimately using customer behaviours and habits to drive business outcomes.”

3. University of California — San Diego, Behavioral Economics Certificate (Online, U.S.-based)

“In this course, students will learn how to apply insights from psychology and behavioral economics in the business environment. Participants will learn to create compelling value propositions, deploy effective user research and A/B testing, design better products and customer experiences, and launch more effective pricing and marketing strategies.

By designing an environment and creating thoughtful interventions, we are able to improve people’s decision making in a way that benefits customers while also growing a company’s bottom line.”

4. Harvard Business School Executive Education, Behavioral Economics: Understanding and Shaping Customer and Employee Behavior Certificate (In-person, Harvard Campus)

“Behavioral economics provides fundamental insights into how people think — and how altering the decision-making context can make an impact on their choices. In this behavioral economics program, you will learn how to design and rigorously test a “choice architecture” that can help your managers make better decisions, create greater value for your customers, and improve business outcomes for your company.”

5. University College London, Executive Programme in Behavioural Science (In-person, London Campus)

“Today, consumers are driven by very different motivational factors than they were few years ago. Tech-aided communication is constantly changing the way consumers think, feel, and behave in retail space. Our rewired brains have adapted to a new, digital world where our sense of time, ability to focus, and capacity for attention have shifted gears. Consumers have become used to constant interruption and multitasking, and therefore less tolerant towards ambiguity.

These changes in psychological states have greatly altered the expectations of consumer experience. How does one get in touch with this new era of consumer wants and needs? How does one understand the new relationships that people have with products and brands? How does one enhance the clarity of their marketing communications?

The programme is centered around providing a top level understanding of the processes happening in the consumer’s mind. It goes above and beyond traditional methods to explain buying choices, and equips you with the tools and models needed to grasp the interaction of conscious and nonconscious thoughts. The aim of the programme is to build the knowledge required for assessing the key psychological factors which drive consumer choice, and improve one’s means of acquiring quality insights about consumer behaviour. This will help to improve business strategy, enhance consumer experience, and narrow the gap between consumer wants and needs.”

Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

Post-Graduate Degrees and Ph.D. Programs

These programs are mostly in-person, and are for those considering taking time off to get a degree, either for a career change or to bolster their current career.

If there are any programs I’ve missed, be sure to leave a note in the comments!

1. London School of Economics (U.K.) — Executive MSc in Behavioural Science

“Uncover the science behind behaviour. This unique and dynamic programme provides the opportunity for full-time professionals working in any sector to obtain a graduate qualification in behavioural science, allowing you to pursue new and expanded opportunities within this emerging and exciting field.”

2. Harvard University, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (U.S.) — Masters degree

3. Chicago University, Booth School of Business (U.S.) — Ph.D. in Behavioral Science

“As a behavioral science Ph.D. student at Chicago Booth, you’ll study human behavior in a wide range of contexts, including processes of negotiation, power and influence, and motivation and self-control.

You will have the flexibility to focus your doctoral studies in behavioral science on the research topics that most interest you. You can also augment your studies with work in economics, policy and intervention, psychology, marketing, finance, sociology, public policy, and other disciplines at Booth and across the university.”

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4. The University of Kansas, Applied Behavioral Science (U.S. or online) — Master’s degrees and Ph.D. program

“The Department of Applied Behavioral Science trains researchers and scientist-practitioners in the discovery, translation, and application of knowledge toward solving human behavior problems of societal importance.”

5. University of Pennsylvania, Behavioral and Decision Sciences (U.S.) — Masters degree

“The University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences is informed by contemporary theories and research methods of behavioral economics, decision sciences, network analysis, and public policy. Our program equips students with theoretical and practical tools to address a variety of real-life problems, putting you ahead of the curve in a growing field of study.”

6. City University of London, Behavioural Economics (London, U.K.) — Master’s degree

“The course is suitable for recent graduates in economics, psychology and related social science or quantitative disciplines who are looking to develop a career in the fast-paced world of behavioural economics, either in the public or private sector.

As the course is offered in full-time and part-time modes, it is also suited to professionals who want to enhance their theoretical knowledge and practical skills and would benefit from an academic environment.”

7. Durham University, Behavioral Science (Durham, U.K.) — Masters

“This MSc course is aimed at UK and international students who are seeking access to cutting-edge behavioural science research, advanced training in quantitative methods, and instruction in the application of behavioural science principles to everyday problems faced within the public, private, and third sectors.

The MSc has been designed to provide you with an understanding of factors that impact behaviour, including the role of ‘nudging’ in behaviour change, and the research and analytical skills to enable an analysis of business problems from a behavioural perspective. It will provide you with a wide range of knowledge (both of a theoretical and a practical nature) and transferable skills including various professional ways of disseminating knowledge.”

8. Kingston University, Behavioural Decision Science (London, U.K.) — Masters

“This course, based in the Psychology Department, explores theory and research in behavioural decision science, and examines the application of psychology, behavioural science, and behavioural economics to policy, intervention, and behaviour change in areas such as health, finance, sustainability, and consumer behaviour.

You will gain psychological research methods skills, and critically examine theory and research in four areas of behavioural decision science: Cognitive Psychology, Judgement and Decision Making, Social Psychology, and Decision Neuroscience.”

9. University College of London, Cognitive and Decision Sciences (London, U.K.) — Masters

“This program studies the cognitive processes and representations underlying human thought, knowledge and decision-making. It integrates a wide range of disciplines and methodologies, with the core assumption that human cognition and choice are computational processes, implemented in neural hardware.

Key topics include: the nature of computational explanation; the general principles of cognition; the scope of rational choice explanation; probabilistic models of the mind; learning and memory; applications to economics and business. The program involves intensive training in experimental design and methodology, building computational models, and carrying out a substantial piece of original research.”

10. The University of Bath, Applied Psychology and Economic Behaviour (Bath, U.K.) — Masters

“This MSc enables you to delve deeply into the two inter-related disciplines of psychology and economics, in order to better explore, understand and predict the decisions people make.

Combining economic modelling with what psychology can tell us about individual behaviour and emotions you’ll learn to create highly accurate models for predicting human behaviour, which can then be used to empower behaviour change at both a micro and macro level.

This course is ideal if you are seeking to work in any area where understanding human decision-making is critical. This ranges from industry and healthcare, to developing new technologies or policies, and beyond.”

11. The University of Warwick, Behavioural and Economic Science (Warwick, U.K.) — Masters

“The course emphasises both theoretical foundations and real-world application in core and advanced areas of behavioural economics and the cognitive science of judgement and decision making.

The typical candidate for the programme is one who already holds an Honours degree in a quantitative subject including Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Mathematics, Engineering, and Physics. Previous experience of psychology, economics, or behavioural science is not necessary.”

12. The University of British Columbia, Marketing and Behavioural Science (Vancouver, Canada) — Ph.D.

“You can specialize in one of two streams of study, consumer behaviour or quantitative marketing modeling. Students interested in the psychological aspects of consumer behavior such as how consumers process marketing information and make decisions, choose the consumer behaviour stream.

Students with a quantitative background, who are interested in how firms make marketing decisions, or in measuring the effects of those decisions, choose the quantitative stream.”

13. Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Psychology in Business (Porto, Portugal) — Masters

“Psychology applied to Business and Economics, as a vibrant and valuable area for research and teaching, has attracted the interest of top universities worldwide. This new Master’s Degree in Psychology in Business and Economics is the first programme in Portugal to specifically address this important area.

The Master in Psychology in Business and Economics includes strong psychological foundations, structured and directly applied to the fields of economics and business, in order to enlarge opportunities for psychologists to meaningfully contribute to organizations.”

This university also offers a Master's Degree in Neuromarketing.

14. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Neuromarketing (Barcelona, Spain) — Masters

“New research techniques applied to business, research departments and marketing professionals, management and communication, bring together different disciplines which have not been considered related to date, such as advertising and information with neuroscience and medical science.

This Master’s degree is semi-classroom based (blended), with four months of teaching and work placements at the Communication Faculty on the Bellaterra Campus of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and work placement centres, and the rest of the time is distance learning.”

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