Memories of the future (3) Rethinking the human

Regular readers will know that a lot of the drive behind my work and my writing over the last decade has been the flood of insights about human beings & human behaviour that – over the last 10 years – the behavioural and cognitive sciences have unleashed. In fact, you might say, reading and making sense of the science has shaped

Far from being a marginal – oddball, even – pursuit, this is fast becoming mainstream and will continue to grow apace this year.

From the IPA's Behavioural Economics Initiative to COI's Common Good Research on Behaviour Change the newly-published RSA Social Brain Project – all of which I've found myself involved in shaping.

Many of our most strongly-held common-sense ideas about humans and human behaviour are challenged by the work aggregated and synthesised in these kind of proejcts: like (as we HERDies like to remind folk) the Anglo-Saxon assumption that we are a species of self-determining individuals or the related one that thought shapes behaviour…

Of course, this is not just a liberation (and a step towards universal enlightenment) but it also offers the potential for the kind of one-eyed pick-and-mix applications of science that previously characterised things like "neuromarketing".