Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science

The Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS)’s mission is to further UEA’s tradition of using behavioural and experimental methods to study key questions in the social sciences. The Centre brings together academics from different fields and aims to enhance collaborations on high quality research projects within and beyond the social sciences.

The centre was established in 2007 by the Faculty of Social Sciences.


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 societal 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 digitisation, health, and the environment. 

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.

This cluster aims to inform the current academic and popular debates on topics of social inclusion. 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 Ben D'Exelle and Oana Borcan or CBESS Director Stefan Penczynski

Using the science of individual development to enhance global child health, education, and policy.

In the first five years of their life, individuals experience more physical and cognitive growth than in the remainder of their life, creating a critical window of opportunity to optimize a child’s path early in development with long-lasting influences in health, school performance, and psychosocial function.

The iDevelop Cluster will seek to change the landscape of early development by focusing on early intervention for at-risk infants, school readiness and education, parental decision-making and behaviour, and global health and educational policy. We will implement multiple levels of analysis from genetic influences to community-based risk factors. The cluster will create synergies that cut across groups to achieve our long-term goal: to foster the global development of the next generation.

If you are interested in the activities in this cluster, please contact the cluster lead Maria Isabel Santana and Teodora Gliga or CBESS Director Stefan Penczynski

The Behavioural Finance cluster is dedicated to studying the psychological and social factors that influence financial decision-making and financial markets. Our researchers examine a wide range of issues, including investor psychology, behavioural market anomalies, financial literacy and decision-making, and the ethics of financial market actors. Our research aims to inform policymakers, practitioners, and the public about the behavioural factors that influence financial markets. If you are interested in the activities in this cluster, please contact the cluster leaders Ariel Gu and Lucia Murgia or CBESS Director Stefan Penczynski.

This cluster is now discontinued and related activities now fall into the remit of the Data Science Laboratory.
In May 2020 we have hosted an 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. You can watch the CBESS presentations on YouTube and read the workshop programme.
If you are interested in related activities, you can still contact the 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.

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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