About this minor
Which social media posts stick to your mind? What commercial makes you buy a product? How can you finish your project on time? How can you sell your bike at the best price?
Take a look at the video and learn more about this minor.
This course draws from marketing, economics, and psychology to answer these and other questions—improving your ability to “nudge” other people and to resist psychological biases.
The course is composed of three complementary segments:
The first segment focuses on psychological theories of human behavior, with the goal of understanding the complexity of people’s decisions and the heuristics they use to navigate through such decisions. We will complement studying theories with classroom experiments that explicate how people’s decisions are affected by normatively irrelevant factors. You will obtain actionable insights to influence such decisions and to prevent other people from influencing you. The knowledge acquired in this module is fundamental to designing the influencing campaign that is the main focus of the next module.
The second segment progressively shifts away from studying basic theories about human behavior and towards applying such theories in the real world. You will learn what makes an idea “sticky” in people’s minds, and how to practically succeed in changing people’s behavior. Classes will include practical aspects of designing, conducting, and testing the effectiveness of an influencing campaign.
Whereas the first and second segments concern individual behavior, the third and last segment focuses on interactive situations, in which all parties have separate, and often conflicting, interest to pursue. Through a mixture of class discussions and exercises, you will learn how to tacitly and explicitly negotiate with an opponent in order to achieve the best possible outcome for you. During this module you will also prepare the final report and video presentation of your influencing campaign, which we’ll watch together in the last session.
As a general approach, our live sessions will be highly interactive. All the “lecturing” will be prerecorded. In the live sessions.
- Interpreting and explaining behavioral phenomena using theories from psychology, economics, and marketing
- Implementing behavioral insights to persuade, resist persuasion, and negotiate effectively
- Planning and designing a theoretically grounded campaign to affect people’s behavior
- Persuading other people that your ideas are important and urgent to implement.
Good to know
Only open to non-RSM students. RSM students cannot participate in this minor.
Taught in English (including examination).
No specific prior knowledge required, but a genuine interest in human behavior is.
All RSM minors have mandatory attendance.
Teaching method and examination
- “Warmup” self-administered quizzes to start up each module
- Prerecorded lectures and readings, to be completed before the live sessions
- Live sessions that include anonymous review quizzes, group exercises, group discussions
- A group assignment running through the course, including a final paper and a video presentation
Academic articles provided via Canvas, Class slides.
Method of examination
Final paper (group). Students will design an “influencing campaign” aimed at changing people’s behavior, to help towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (e.g., increasing donations towards charities concerned with ending poverty). The final paper will present an analysis of the challenges of changing people’s behavior, a theoretically grounded proposal for a campaign to change this behavior, and an experiment aimed at testing the effectiveness of this campaign.
Video Presentation (group). Students will prepare a video to be shown to their classmates, to persuade them that their campaign is addressing a truly important problem and will succeed in achieving the desired behavioral change. This presentation will be evaluated based on its persuasiveness.
Written test (individual). This will be an individual test consisting of multiple-choice and open questions about the content of the course. We will provide examples of questions in class. There will be a re-sit opportunity for the written test.
Composition final grade
The final paper will count for 25% of the final grade. There is no minimum grade.
The video presentation will count for 15% of the final grade. There is no minimum grade.
The written test final exam will count for 60% of the final grade. To be eligible to obtain a final grade, your written test grade needs to be at least 4.5.
Your overall grade must be at least 5.5 to pass the course.