Power and the unWEIRDification of behavioural science

Wednesday 6 March

Catherine Angai discusses how to make behavioural science less WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, and Democratic).


Despite only representing a small minority of the global population, most people who participate in behavioural science studies are from Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic (WEIRD) backgrounds. These studies lead to an understanding of human psychology and behaviour specific to these ‘weird’ research subjects that does not represent the diversity of human experience.

So how do we do the important work of widening participation in behavioural science? In this talk, Catherine Angai will tackle this question from the Nigerian perspective, drawing on her career as a lawyer and consultant in behavioural science and development.

About the speakers

Catherine Angai is a lawyer and behavioural science and development consultant. With a rich professional history spanning more than fifteen years, her expertise lies in the thematic domains of governance, accountability, citizen participation, elections, and human rights protection. Her extensive experience includes nearly a decade of dedicated service with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, where she was instrumental in the design and execution of projects across the West African region in countries such as Nigeria, Niger, and Mali. In addition to her consultancy work, Catherine is a Doctoral Researcher at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, where she conducts research at the intersection of behavioural science and international development.

Bridget Gildea is the founder of the Curiosity Incubator | Accelerator for Good, which aims to create novel, innovative – and critically, practicable and testable – solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. In Cambridge, she is a Visiting Scholar at the Intellectual Forum, Jesus College, and Member of the Board of Advisors for the Cambridge University Behavioural Insights Team. As a Consultant for Public Good, Bridget works at the nexus between technology, behavioural insights (BI) and public policy, including applying behavioural science approaches to learning and skills and knowledge acquisition, thinking about the future of work and social justice, and creating applied learning programmes and strategy for the UCL Institute of Innovation & Public Purpose.

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