November 28, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

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Designing Healthy Behaviour

17 March, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Whilst our brains were designed by evolution to produce behaviour that was good for our ancestors, in today’s world we use addictive  substances, eat too much, exercise too little and leave ourselves prey  to ancient and emerging infections. To change such behaviours we need to understand the evolved causes of behaviour motives and habits in particular) and the ways in which we adapt in the social and physical  settings of behaviour (reward learning). ‘Behaviour Centred  Design’ is a process that builds on behavioural science, marketing practice and design thinking to create healthier behaviour. We show  examples from India, Indonesia, Zambia, Nigeria, Nepal and the UK.


Dr Val Curtis is Reader in Hygiene at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Director of the Environmental Health Group.

Val is a behavioural scientist who develops and tests interventions to change behaviour. Trained as an engineer, epidemiologist and anthropologist, she uses an approach known as Behaviour Centred Design to create and test interventions in hygiene, sanitation, nutrition, product development and other behaviour-related issues. Her background is in hygiene and sanitation and she is co-founder of the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap.


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