Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science

The Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) furthers the long UEA tradition of using controlled laboratory and field experiments to study key questions in the social sciences, from foundational and methodological issues to applied research.

The centre was established in 2007 by the Faculty of Social Sciences. Together with our colleagues at the University of Nottingham and University of Warwick, we are founding members of the ESRC Network for Integrated Behavioural Science.


Our latest news

Research clusters

In autumn 2020, we grouped our research activities into the following clusters. CBESS views these as promising fields for behavioural and experimental contributions on current key questions.

This cluster is set to expand the understanding of human behavioural change from multi-disciplinary perspectives and to help improve human behaviour in important domains, including the current handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This cluster will combine behavioural and experimental expertise of CBESS academics with specific knowledge and needs in environmental science, nutritional science, medicine, and other domains.

If you are interested in the activities in this cluster, please contact the cluster lead Amrish Patel or CBESS Director Stefan Penczynski.

Carrying forward the work of the ESRC-funded network NIBS, this cluster focuses on understanding consumer decisions in the market environment.

This objective does not only connect CBESS members from different schools, the resulting insights are expected to be of interest to companies as well as consumer protection and regulation authorities.

If you are interested in the activities in this cluster, please contact the cluster lead Theodore Turocy or CBESS Director Stefan Penczynski

This cluster aims to inform the current academic and popular debates on topics of diversity and discrimination. It supports research on social identities such as gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Experimental methods promise to provide detailed insights into biases and their consequences.

If you are interested in the activities in this cluster, please contact the cluster leaders Boon Han Koh and Ben D'Exelle or CBESS Director Stefan Penczynski

This cluster focusses on methodologies and applications of two very promising tools for social scientists: text analysis and artificial intelligence. One major aim is to increase and improve the use of text data, as a rich source of information about drivers of individual and collective behaviour.

In May 2020 we have hosted our first online Textual Analysis Workshop.

The workshop has focused on the use of textual analysis methodologies in social sciences. Our presenters have kindly agreed to make available their presentations to the research community.

Our presenters have kindly agreed to make available their presentations to the research community. You can watch the CBESS presentations on YouTube and read the workshop programme

If you are interested in the activities in this cluster, please contact the cluster leader David Hugh-Jones  or CBESS Director Stefan Penczynski.

Research outputs

With the establishment of the CBESS research clusters in 2020, the CBESS Funding Programme will be strategically prioritizing and supporting work in the clusters. This includes covering payments to participants in experiments and surveys, but it can also include other forms of support for your research.

Members who wish to apply for support should get in touch early in their planning process and describe the research project and support needs. Please send an email to both the lead researcher of the relevant research cluster of your project and the CBESS Director.

The proposed research will then be evaluated by the cluster lead and members of the CBESS Exec. A decision will be made and communicated to the applicant.

We expect that the project’s design will be presented in a group meeting and – in case of an experiment – that a public lab test is organized to obtain feedback on the design.

Note that all awarded funds must be spent and be accounted for before the end of the current financial year (31/7/21).
Please note that CBESS funding comes with the following obligations.

In any paper(s) that results from the collected data, we expect the funding source “CBESS Research Funding Programme” to be acknowledged and you to include CBESS as one of your affiliations.

In any presentation(s) that involves the collected data, the CBESS logo should feature on the title page and if affiliations are indicated, your CBESS affiliation should be included.

CBESS is a partner in the Network for Integrated Behavioural Science (NIBS).  This is a cross-disciplinary group of researchers at the Universities of East Anglia, Nottingham and Warwick who work on developing and testing models of human behaviour and behavioural change, and draw out their implications for the formulation and evaluation of public policy.  NIBS has been funded by ESRC since 2013 and has established a reputation for world-class cross-disciplinary research in behavioural science. 

NIBS’s current research programme, funded by ESRC up to 2021, is ‘The Science of Consumer Behaviour’.  The aim is to develop realistic models of consumer behaviour and decision processes and to examine the implications of behavioural science for the operation and regulation of firms and markets.  UEA’s contribution to this programme focuses on how the decision processes of ‘behavioural’ consumers interact with features of the market environment and on the implications of these interactions for how markets should be regulated.

This is a collaboration between CBESS and the Centre for Competition Policy, drawing on our combined experience, both as academic practitioners and as participants in market regulation, in experimental economics, behavioural economics, industrial organisation, competition policy and consumer protection.

Contact us

For general enquiries, please contact: cbess.info@uea.ac.uk

To participate or present at one of our seminars: S.Penczynski@uea.ac.uk

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