Crossing Channels

How might policy steer us towards better decision-making?

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Episode notes

This podcast looks at the psychological quirks of humankind, what effects our bad decisions have on the society we live in, and how policy might best steer us towards better outcomes.

Rory Cellan-Jones talks to Dr Bence Bago - Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, and Professor Dame Theresa Marteau – the Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge and co-chair of The Lancet Chatham House Commission on improving health post Covid-19.

They draw on their research to explore what defines a ‘bad decision’, what causes us to make them, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on governments’ and citizens’ decision-making, the role of social media in misinformation processing, what we can do to prevent ourselves from making bad decisions, and what governments can do to improve matters.

Episode 9 transcript

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Audio production by Steve Hankey
Podcast editing by Annabel Manley

More about our guests

Professor Dame Theresa Marteau is Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions to change behaviour (principally food, tobacco and alcohol consumption) to improve population and planetary health and reduce health inequalities, with a particular focus on targeting non-conscious processes. She co-chairs the Lancet-Chatham House Commission on improving population health post-COVID-19, and participated in the UK government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), responding to Covid-19. She is also one of the members of the management board of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

Dr Bence Bago is a research fellow at the IAST, with an academic background in cognitive psychology. His research interests in the interplay between intuitive and analytical processes in human decision-making, including applications in truth discernment when exposed to misinformation.

Rory Cellan-Jones was a technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism have seen him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has also written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021.