#46 - Human Behaviour with Dame Theresa Marteau

Who is Dame Theresa Marteau?

Theresa Marteau is a British health psychologist, professor, and director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge. Her initial research concerned communicating risk information and found out that people usually don’t change their behaviours despite receiving any form of information about preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes or certain types of cancer. Hence, she decided to redirect her focus on the non-conscious rather than conscious processes that could improve people’s health behaviours e.g. reducing glass size to reduce alcohol consumption. Through that research, she’s demonstrated that it is the change in government policies or population-level interventions – putting nudge theory into practice – that present a potential for the improvement in our population’s health. For these notable findings and contributions she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.


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Nudge theory

Social psychology

Milgram experiment

Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View by Stanley Milgram

Spatial, temporal, and demographic patterns in prevalence of smoking tobacco use and attributable disease burden in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019

Impact of bottle size on in-home consumption of wine: feasibility and acceptability randomised cross-over study

Shopper lab

Impact of minimum unit pricing on alcohol purchases in Scotland and Wales: controlled interrupted time series analyses