Behaviour change in health and business

We are proud that our department at the University of Hertfordshire applies our behaviour change research in the real world, whether by working with businesses and communities, national and local public health teams, or by large-scale public engagement initiatives.

This research is led by Neil Howlett, who currently produces a range of behaviour change research and works in collaboration with Public Health England, Heath Education England, Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Sports Partnership, and several other teams of behavioural science academics. This area of research also includes work on Fit Science and Do Something Different (DSD) developed over many years at the University of Hertfordshire and now put into practice through a spun-out company.

Do Something Different (DSD) - developed over many years by Professor Ben Fletcher and other staff in the department – has also generated many national and international applications of behaviour change through commercial and medical health applications that originally began via a University spin-out company.

Our pioneering work in the public understanding of psychology (including mass participation experiments) is now being applied to personal behaviour change, through a variety of modern media.

Research areas

  • Behaviour change in public health - Neil Howlett
  • Do Something Different - Ben Fletcher
  • Mass participation experiments and public engagement - Richard Wiseman
  • Practice based research in large-scale organisations - Paola Amaldi
  • Pro-environmental behaviour change - Mike Page
    • In recent years, we have been involved in work looking at pro-environmental behaviour change. This stemmed from a PhD by Nadine Page on the underlying psychology, and taps into a background in Engineering. Our pro-environmental behaviour change projects include: the EASIER Project (2009-2012) - that advised SMEs on carbon cutting, SHARE - that looked at reducing emissions in the hospitality sector (where Mike Page was academic lead), and the CUBE Project - which involves the design and build of carbon-neutral microhomes. The Cube Project has featured frequently in national media, including in two separate episodes of George Clarke's Amazing Spaces, for Channel 4 UK. Dr Page also presents talks about personal carbon reduction under the heading “Your Carbon Counts” and is currently working on a project called Greentown, looking at the most appropriate way to design and build sustainable towns of the future.
  • Psychology of criminal justice - Tim McSweeney
    • This research addresses drug and alcohol misuse and dependency within the criminal justice system. It also focuses on understanding 'organised' and group-based forms of offending and measures the impact of different criminal justice interventions on behavioural change and reoffending.