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Martin Hedesström

SENIOR LECTURER

Department of
Psychology
Telephone
Visiting address
Haraldsgatan 1
41314 Göteborg
Room number
537
Postal address
Box 500
40530 Göteborg

About Martin Hedesström

Biography

PhD in Psychology, University of Gothenburg 2006. Docent (Assoc. Prof.) 2014. MSc in Information Systems, London School of Economics and Political Science 1998. Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Decision Sciences, Columbia Business School, New York 2014/15.

Co-Director of the research group Judgement, Decision Making and Social Psychology (JDMS).

Teaching

I am Course Director for the undergraduate course Judgment and decision making (PX1110), and for the postgraduate course Psychological perspectives on economic behaviour (PC2115). I also teach social cognition and attribution.

Research interests

Choice architecture (”nudging”); moral/environmental decision making; stock market psychology

My research is predominantly experimental and often concern topics at the intersection between psychology and economy, for example, stock market investment decisions. I also investigate moral aspects of decision making. How do people make tradeoffs between choices that benefit them personally versus choices that benefit society but come with a cost?

Current research

Downstream behavioural effects of choice architecture interventions, a project funded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation:

Most of today’s environmental, financial, and health problems are rooted in our day-to-day choices. Drawing on insights from psychology, the emerging science of choice architecture (CA) prescribes how presentation formats could be tailored in ways that help people choose options that are beneficial to society as well as to themselves, without restricting their freedom of choice. CA interventions—also called “nudges”—have proven effective in increasing pension saving rates, improving medical prescription adherence, and reducing CO2 emissions and tax fraud. Yet, previous CA research has focused exclusively on the specific choice targeted by the CA intervention. This constitutes a significant caveat, since assessing the net benefit of a CA intervention requires taking into account not only its effect on a first choice, but also how this “nudged” choice spills over to subsequent choices in the same and other domains. Knowing downstream consequences of nudged behaviour is essential in order to design CA interventions in ways that promotes positive behavioural spillover and averts backfiring. This project, which I lead, aims to contribute towards finding new ways of promoting the sustained, long-term behavioural changes required in order to meet societal challenges such as climate change and health.