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Behavioural Science Research at Bath SoM

The University of Bath boasts a large and growing community of behavioural science researchers. We conduct cutting-edge experimental research at the nexus of business, behaviour, and public policy, with expertise in all major fields of behavioural science. You can learn more about our research by visiting individual faculty websites, listed below.

Many of our behavioural science faculty are taking PhD students. If you are considering a PhD at Bath, it is recommended that you reach out to potential supervisors by email before submitting your application. We are a highly collaborative group, and all PhD students have at least two supervisors. We are usually able to offer accepted students a funding package, which in most cases covers tuition and possibly an annual stipend. The deadline for funding is usually around the end of January, although applications will be considered after this date for students who have other funding sources.

Our Faculty

Dr. Debra Desrochers (PhD in Business Administration, Univ. Rochester)

Senior Lecturer in Marketing [website]

Debbie's research focuses on the impact of marketing activities and practices on today's markets and the consumer, with significant attention on the policy issues surrounding food marketing. She has published this work in the Journal of Consumer ResearchJournal of Retailing, and Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. She served as a visiting scholar at the Federal Trade Commission and contributed to a research project on children's exposure to television advertising, with particular emphasis on food advertising.


Dr. Chris Dawson (PhD)

Senior Lecturer in Business Economics [website]

My research is positioned in the general area of empirical labour economics and I have also written recent articles on behavioural economics/finance. I am particularly interested in how optimism influences occupational choice, labour market performance and individual utility.

My research has been featured in media outlets across the globe including Business Standard, Daily Beast, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph Australia, Daily Star, EL Confidential, Financial Express, Glamour, Hindustan Times, Huffington Post, Independent, Mirror, New York Magazine, Sky News, Sun, Telegraph, Times and Sunday Times, Times of India.

Dr. Richard Fairchild (PhD)

Senior Lecturer in Corporate Finance [website]

My current research interests include: application of game theoretical tools to strategic corporate finance; capital structure and the effects of agency problems, signalling, and product market competition; venture capitalism, bargaining, and the incorporation of behavioural effects into the double-sided moral hazard problem affecting financial contracts and performance; behavioural corporate finance.

Dr. Julie Gore (PhD in Psychology, Oxford Brookes University)

Reader in Organisational Psychology [website]

As a Chartered Psychologist and Fellow of the British Psychological Society, I am very interested in explaining the psychology of how people take decisions in professional contexts and how this often expert/tacit knowledge can be used to improve the quality of these activities for individuals and organisations. My research focus is on managerial cognition and Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM); eliciting and documenting cognitive expertise in ill-defined organisational contexts. This work has captured the cognitive decision making processes of professionals in engineering, the military, day trading, aviation and management.  I have also explored the psychology of the decision making associated with executive reward, resulting in  new developments in behavioural agency theory.  My work has been funded by the ESRC, EPSRC, Dstl and UK Government. To learn more about my NDM research, click here.

Dr. Haiming Hang (PhD in Marketing, Lancaster University)

Senior Lecturer in Marketing [website]

My main research area is consumer judgment and decision making. In particular, I am interested in the interplay of feeling and thinking, the nonconscious and embodied nature of cognition and their implications for consumer behaviour and advertising effectiveness. I am also interested in children’s consumer socialisation and their response to and how they cope with different marketing stimuli (e.g. advertising and brand). International retailing in particular international retail marketing is also one of my key research themes.

Dr. Sam Johnson (PhD in Psychology, Yale University)

Lecturer in Marketing [website]

I study the cognitive science of markets: how the minds of individuals give rise to emergent economic order. I focus on tools that consumers, investors, and voters use to process information. These tools help us to overcome our inherent cognitive limits but also lead us to make mistakes in our everyday lives.

For example, in the marketing domain, I study consumers’ lay theories of economics, examining marketing messages that can highlight the benefits of foreign trade. In the finance domain, I study how investors use story-telling to predict future prices. In the policy domain, I study moral beliefs about economic exchange, looking at how we can use this knowledge to help increase the supply of transplant organs.

In addition, I carry out basic cognitive science research, focusing on heuristics and strategies people use to evaluate hypotheses. I find that these same principles guide very different psychological processes, including causal reasoning, categorisation, and visual perception; that they are used by young children; and that they feed into complex social processes, such as mentalising, stereotyping, and moral judgment.

Prof. Adam Joinson (PhD in Psychology, University of Hertfordshire)

Professor of Information Systems [website]

I conduct inter-disciplinary research on the interaction between human behaviour and technology, with specific foci on issues of how the design of systems influences behaviour ranging from privacy and self-disclosure, cyber-security, social relations and patterns of influence. I am a programme lead for the national Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats, as well as currently running funded projects on individual susceptibility to malevolent influence techniques (e.g. scams, phishing), communication accommodation, and behaviour change and technology. My work has been funded by the ESRC, EPSRC, EU, British Academy, DSTL and UK Government. I also have an interest in ‘big data’ generally, and the use of computational social science to gain insights into social and workplace behaviours.

Dr. Lukasz Piwek (PhD in Psychology, University of Glasgow)

Lecturer in Data Science [website]

I’m interested in using data obtained from mobile devices, smart wearables, apps and social networks in user profiling, behavior change and developing new research methodology. My projects range from investigating psychological markers of ‘digital footprints’ of behaviour generated by digital devices, developing novel data visualization techniques, and understanding psycho-behavioural implications of using ‘quantified self’ solutions in workplace, healthcare and security. I’m a co-founder of interdisciplinary Psychology Sensor Lab and member of an ESRC-funded Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST).

Prof. Nancy Puccinelli (PhD in Psychology, Harvard University)

Professor of Marketing [website]

My research centres on consumer behaviour. My most recent research in this area focuses on the role of ‘interpersonal customisation’ or the tailoring of a communication to a customer and identifies how firms can achieve competitive advantage in the retail sector through customisation of retail promotions and employee behaviour. As part of this research I have worked in countries such as Senegal, Chile, and China. This area of recent research can be classified into three areas:

My research into affect (e.g., mood and emotions) looks at the impact of affect on consumer decision-taking. This research finds that customer mood impacts tolerance for ambiguity, preference for spokespeople in an advertisement, choice of retail outlets and preference for ads. Surprisingly, this work finds that people in a bad mood avoid options that make them feel better and suggests that successful firms will seek to customise their offerings to match such customer attributes.

A second line of work looks at the effect of being able to read affect in interpersonal contexts. This research finds that customers perceive salespeople skilled at reading nonverbal cues to customer affect as offering higher quality service.

In a third line of research, I consider psychological factors that drive customer retail behaviour. This research finds, for example, that men perceive retailers featuring prices in red as offering better savings than retailers offering prices in black, while women show no such effect.

Dr. Yvetta Simonyan (PhD in Marketing, London Business School)

Senior Lecturer in Marketing [website]

Yvetta's research focuses on how consumers' inferences about product quality are related to brand information in memory. In particular, her work explores what people think about the brands they recognize and the brands they have never seen or heard of before and whether the old saying "better the devil you know then the devil you don't" applies to brands.

The other stream of her research focuses on the factors that influence consumers' willingness to provide and receive help. How do marketing promotions change the likelihood of making a charitable donation or participating in market research? Does marketing communication affect whether or not people seek help? What factors affect people's willingness to donate to charitable causes? For example, Yvetta's recent research project involves exploring the effect of physical attractiveness versus neediness of donation recipients on donors' choice.

Dr. Xingjie Wei (PhD in Computer Science, University of Warwick)

Lecturer in Information, Decisions, & Operations [website]

I have been working in Computer Science, Psychology and Business School departments doing interdisciplinary research investigating the relationship between human factors and computational techniques. My work focuses on analysing and predicting behavioural and psychological traits (e.g., personality) of humans from their social network data (e.g., text, image, activities, etc), which can be applied to improve business practice in marketing and management.

Despite the number of faces here, this is still an incomplete listing of Bath SoM faculty working on behavioural science topics. If you are a Bath faculty member and would like to be added to this page, please email the webmaster.

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