PhD course: Design of Effective Behavioral Interventions

The University of Stavanger Business School is happy to offer the course "Design of Effective Behavioral Interventions" to PhD students in the social sciences.

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PHD403 Design of Effective Behavioral Interventions 

When: 12.–16. September 2022 Application deadline: August 16 How to apply: External applicants apply by using this application form. Please send the form to PhD coordinator Nadya Sandsmark. Candidates enrolled in the UiS PhD programmes apply through Studentweb.

Associate Professor , Dr, David Yeager

The University of Stavanger Business School is happy to offer the course Design of Effective Behavioral Interventions to PhD students in the social sciences.  

Behavioral Interventions

The 20th century was defined by humanity’s ability to invent a pill, vaccine, or device to overcome our biggest challenges. As the current COVID pandemic makes clear, those days are not over entirely. But, also well illustrated by our experience with COVID, the most severe threats to human health and well-being now and for the foreseeable future are primarily driven by individual and collective behavior choices we all make daily. Whether we maintain healthy diets, wear face masks, save for retirement, persist in school, put our phones away while driving, use energy and other resources responsibly, and adhere to basic ethical standards. Consequently, behavioral science has emerged as a significant frontier in policies. Behavioral interventions are policies or programs designed to influence individual behavior choices in ways that benefit individuals, the organizations they are part of, and/or the broader society without using any significant economic incentives (e.g., fines, subsidies). Instead, to shape behavior, behavioral interventions rely on a sophisticated understanding of the psychology that drives people’s decisions—usually by tapping into underappreciated and powerful internal sources of motivation, alleviating hidden psychological barriers to the desired behavior, or a combination of these.

In the past decade, large numbers of governments at every level (e.g., US, UK, City of Chicago), social entrepreneurship ventures (e.g., the One Acre Fund, Innovations for Poverty Action), corporations (e.g., Bank of America, Pepsico, Google, Facebook, Uber, Morningstar Financial), and non-governmental organizations (e.g., the World Bank, the World Health Organization) have launched their own in-house behavioral science teams to research to inform the design of new policies and programs. And countless other organizations are using outside behavioral insights consultants (Ideas 42, Behavioral Insights Team, BEworks, Behavioral Sight) to inform key decisions in a wide range of domains.

What you will learn 

The goal of this course is to provide you with the knowledge and experience necessary to competently design and experimentally evaluate new behavioral interventions in an academic setting or as a working professional in a social entrepreneurship venture, traditional for-profit firm, government agency, or NGOs.

World leading expert  

We are very pleased that professor David Yeager from the University of Texas, Austin will be teaching the course. 

Dr. Yeager is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.  He received his PhD in Developmental and Psychological Science from the Stanford University School of Education in 2011. 

His work sits at the intersection of developmental, social, personality and educational psychology.  He is interested in understanding the processes shaping adolescent development, especially how differences in adolescents’ social cognitions–their interpretations of social events and the beliefs that underlie these–can contribute to positive or negative trajectories for youth.  He focusses on the life experiences and environments that give rise to social cognitive tendencies, on the interaction between social cognitions and the home or school environment, and on opportunities for redirecting social cognitions during developmental transitions.

The second half of his research is methodological.  Dr. Yeager studie the psychology of asking and answering questions as well as the implications of these insights for optimizing self-reports.  In addition, he studie the differences in accuracy in national samples collected through probability methods as opposed to non-probability methods, and the conditions under which these two methods do or do not converge in their estimates. Read more about Dr. David Yeager.

Practical information 

The course is held from 12.–16. September. 

The course will consist of five days of intensive lectures, group discussions, hands-on working sessions, and student group presentations (short pitches of project ideas).

The course is open to PhD candidates at the University of Stavanger and other universities. Participants must be enrolled in a PhD program.

There are no course fees. Students have to cover travel costs and living expenses themselves.

If there are more applicants than admission places available, a selection will be made.

Complete course description, practical information 

Apply now! 

Candidates in the PhD Programme at UiS: Candidates admitted to the PhD Programmes at the University of Stavanger should apply through Studentweb.  

External applicants: Other applicants may apply using this application form. Please send the application to PhD coordinator Nadya Sandsmark. External applicants must apply no later than three weeks prior to the course start date. The application deadline for external applicants in this course is August 16, 2022. 


If you have any questions regarding this course, please contact course coordinator Simone Häckl-Schermer