In 2022 I will teach a special topic in Behavioural Insights (PSYCH 770). This course outlines how cognitive biases and errors cause us to behave in irrational ways, explores how nudging and debiasing can mitigate these effects and introduces students to methods to run behavioural insight analyses in real-world settings
I also run, with Associate Professor Alex Taylor, the University of Auckland Behavioural Insights Exchange (UoABIX). This allows Masters thesis students to work with external organisations across the private and public sector to develop a real-world behavioural science project. Students will gain industry-relevant skills by applying knowledge of our cognitive biases and errors in decision-making to help address the challenges faced by our external partners. UoABIX creates the opportunity for knowledge exchange between business and academia, bringing state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, methodology and data analysis tools to industry-relevant questions and databases. UoABIX will pilot in 2022 with industry partners including PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Auckland Council and Behavioural Science Aotearoa at the Ministry of Justice.
I teach PSYCH 317 Evolution, Behaviour and Cognition. How can evolution help us understand what it is to be human? How did human intelligence evolve? Why did human behaviours such as religion and cultural practices evolve? Do other animals have language, tool use, culture and consciousness? This course addresses these questions and the methods that can be used to answer them. Specific areas that will be discussed include the evolution of language, technical intelligence, social learning, culture, cooperation, religion, and consciousness. The course will emphasize the importance of a comparative, evolutionary approach to the study of behaviour and cognition.
I also teach PSYCH 725 Evolution and Human Behaviour. This course looks at the psychology of humans from an evolutionary perspective. Specific topics include the evolution of religion, mental time travel, and cognitive nudges, biases and heuristics.