Insights from the annual SJDM Conference in Montreal!

6 December 2019

Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to jet off to snowy Montreal to attend the annual Society for Judgement & Decision Making (SJDM) conference on behalf of The Behavioural Architects. It was an excellent event, with a number of fascinating studies presented by leading academics, and multiple breakout sessions during which attendees were encouraged to discuss the latest findings and trends within the field. Not to make you all too jealous, but I did find myself sitting next to George Loewenstein during one of these…!

It would be impossible to try and summarise all 38 talks, but I wanted to write this blog post to highlight the key findings from five super interesting presentations. However, if this has whet your appetite and you’re interested in finding out more, please get in touch and I’d be happy to share more!

Sarah Jones

Global BE Intelligence Consultant


Encouraging pro-environmental behaviour with identity labelling - Schwartz, Daniel (University of Chile); Loewenstein, George (Carnegie Mellon University); Aguero, Loreto (University of Chile)

Labelling products as ‘green’ and using messages that tap into consumers’ social identities as green consumers (e.g. If you are a green consumer, you’ll like this product!) was found to increase the purchase of reusable bags by 8%.

An illusion of mutual knowledge and its effects on pro-sociality - Shah, Anuj K. (University of Chicago Booth School of Business); Furstenberg-Beckman, Hannah (ideas42); LaForest, Michael (Crime Lab New York)

Our sense of anonymity appears to depend not only on what others know about us but also what we know about others. Giving households personal details about their local police officer lead them to believe that the officer was more likely to know about their behaviour and instances of criminal activity marginally decreased.

‘Good’ people don’t need medication - Scott, Sydney E. (Washington University in St Louis); Landy, Justin F. (Nova Southeastern University)

People tend to view taking medication as a poor reflection of character, i.e. it is the ‘easy way out’. Re-framing this - framing taking medication as a signal of personal strength, reduced people’s negative beliefs, and increased preferences for taking medication.

Testing the role of motivation and procrastination in colorectal cancer screening - Lieberman, Alicea (University of California, San Diego); Gneezy, Ayelet (University of California, San Diego); Gupta, Samir (University of California, San Diego)

One potential explanation for low participation in cancer screening is present bias, and our tendency to procrastinate. Imposing a short deadline (1 week) in the letter inviting people to participate in screening lead to a significant increase in participation rates.

Behavioural insights in action - Mažar, Nina (Presidential Address)

Nina Mazar, president of SJDM, presented 3 examples of how behavioural insights have had real and substantial impacts in the field. She demonstrated how a behavioural approach lead to 450,000 new registered organ donors in Ontario, firms in Ontario filing their taxes in 4.4 fewer days, and a significant improvements in individual tax compliance in Poland.

The Behavioural Architects' articles are always stimulating, entertaining and informative and make BE principles both engaging as well as usable for all our readers Editor Impact Magazine and
Our digital clubhouse which is designed to inspire, share best practice and delight would be very different without The Behavioural Architects Gemma Greaves Global Managing Director The Marketing society
Its client testimonials show it has made behavioural economics accessible and actionable MRS judges ‘best new agency’ award
TBA have brought behavioural science thinking to some of our challenges in a way that is accessible for colleagues from across the business and has created actionable outputs Martin Bryant, Senior Consumer Insights Manager, KFC UK and Ireland
The Behavioural Architects did a great job of understanding our needs in this multinational project. They used a behavioural-led methodology to deliver clear and actionable output Ruchika Khattar, Global Marketing Innovation Manager, PepsiCo
One of the best articulated deliveries of insight I have seen in 20 years in the research sector. Damian Stevenson, Head of Insight at the Amateur Swimming Association
The behaviour change research has been the lynchpin of our entire new strategy to get more people swimming Nick Caplin, Amateur Swimming Association, Director of Participation
I’ve worked with TBA on a number of studies... all of them have allowed us to get to a depth of insight into basic behaviour that has transcended borders. Catherine Moffatt, Vice President Global Shopper Planning & Customer Marketing, Diageo
The magic comes from how TBA works with us to get to simple, actionable ideas using the BE principles. Catherine Moffatt, Vice President Global Shopper Planning & Customer Marketing, Diageo
Every project has resulted in activities that have unlocked growth for Diageo but, importantly, they’re also pieces of work that we keep going back to and that continue to inform new activities long after the original studies were run. Catherine Moffatt, Vice President Global Shopper Planning & Customer Marketing, Diageo
We tasked TBA with a challenging brief on a national survey and they exceeded all our expectations throughout the process Jennifer Bufton, Sport England 
Their enthusiasm and relevant application of this theory alongside highly actionable and impactful insight delivery that really engages our stakeholders. Jacinda Norman, Category Insights Manager, Waitrose
The team at The Behavioural Architects Sydney have played an instrumental role in uncovering the key behavioural challenges for the Bundaberg Rum brand. Clara Lee, Senior Insights Manager, Diageo Australia
By using behavioural principles in analysing research, we’ve been able to go beyond the rational system 2 responses and tap into the deeper, subconscious system 1 responses that are often difficult to articulate. Clara Lee, Senior Insights Manager, Diageo Australia
For the first time in over a decade, we have clarity on the shift that we need to make to bring our brand back into growth. Clara Lee, Senior Insights Manager, Diageo Australia
The TBA team are a friendly, highly organised and intelligent bunch of people to work with. We consider them an extension of our internal Insights team Clara Lee, Senior Insights Manager, Diageo Australia
The behavioural science work conducted by The Behavioural Architects Sydney team has uncovered insights that we would never have uncovered by asking consumers questions directly Alla Nock, Marketing Research, Analytics & Capability Manager, Kimberly-Clark Australia
Observing consumer behaviour through a Behavioural Science lens has uncovered key nuggets that we have now used to influence behaviour. Alla Nock, Marketing Research, Analytics & Capability Manager, Kimberly-Clark Australia
The Behavioural Architects Sydney are a valued  business partner of the Water Corporation (Perth), who’s expertise and insights into behaviour change has been instrumental in helping to shape our communications strategy and to deliver an outcome that produces results.    Paul Tuffin, Customer Insights Manager, Customer Strategy & Engagement Water Corporation (Perth, Australia)