How can cognitive science inform policy-making? Can policy be improved by taking findings of cognitive science into account?
Traditional policy making assumes that citizens are rational agents who always take the best decisions for themselves. Yet, findings in behavioral economics and cognitive psychology show that it is not the case: people are “predictably irrational.” This fact might open new avenues for making policies that foster individual decisions that are better for both the individual taking them and society.
The course addresses both the method and the moral basis of the use of cognitive psychology in policy making. This includes issues in contemporary political philosophy regarding the legitimacy of using scientific theories about human behavior for political purposes. It also include issues in behavioral economics and a specification of its relevance to policy making
The course will include old fashioned lectures, seminars organised as discussion over . A lecture summarizes the main theoretical and empirical advances in each topic, and the seminar is devoted to the discussion of the reading material. Students are also required to write an essay on a topic agreed with the lecturers.