What is it about?

In this Substack, I delve into the apparent puzzles of human behaviour. I use insights from behavioural and social sciences to shed light on the good reasons we behave the way we do from simple situations to large social interactions.

There is a wealth of insights in behavioural and social sciences that deserve to be better incorporated into our commonly shared understanding of people and society. On the one hand, social scientists are fairly siloed, publishing in their domain, with limited institutional incentives to connect the dots across disciplines. On the other hand, the ideas from behavioural and social sciences the public receives are influenced by the latest fashion with simplistic takes often becoming popular before they fade away and are replaced by new fads.

In this Substack, I go above the silos and beyond the fads. I connect the old and well-established wisdom from classical references and the frontier of research. If you are interested in understanding why we behave the way we do and why society works (or not) the way it does, this Substack is for you.

Endorsements

This Substack builds on the perspective developed in my book “Optimally Irrational” (Cambridge University Press 2022).

Page’s book is the best I know at expounding how this cross-fertilization of disciplines works - meaty in its choices of examples without going overboard, one could not find a better source for studying the current state of play. - Ken Binmore, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University College London

An antidote to the generally pessimistic view that the field of behavioral economics has conveyed about human cognition and behaviour. Lionel Page builds a much . richer understanding of the plethora of cognitive deficiencies and human misbehaviours reported in the literature. This book is a must read to any scientist interested in the irrational side of human behaviour. Beyond, it will be a great read to educated readers fond of behavioural economics. - Peter Bossaerts, Faculty of Economics, Cambridge University

The human mind is an elaborate product of natural selection. Optimally Irrational is very welcome in bringing into focus the evolutionary underpinnings of human cognition as applied to economic decisions. Behavioral economics has often taken psychological mechanisms as arbitrary, without regard to the evolutionary design problems that created them. Page’s deeper examination of behavioral economics is thoughtful and wide-ranging. I learned much from this insightful and engaging book. - David Hirshleifer, Professor of Finance, University of California Irvine

Almost a century after the official divorce of economics from psychology, and some three decades into the behavioral revolution, Lionel Page offers a lucid and intelligent assessment of the state of the science… with a strong and enlightening focus on historical and philosophical perspectives, striking a balance between observation and theory, and helping us to tell apart insightful analysis from fanciful idealization, as well as robust findings from anecdotal evidence. - Itzhak Gilboa, Professor of Economics and Decision Sciences, HEC Paris

Rationality, central in economics and empirically abandoned in the “behavioral revolution,” is, unfortunately, rarely discussed because of its slippery nature. This monograph, very very well building up, captures its essence, as of behavioral economics. Nuanced and in-depth. It thus serves two methodological purposes—a fortunate combination because one cannot be understood well without the other. - Peter Wakker, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University

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Delving into the reasons why people and society work the way they do

People

Behavioural economist - Director of the Centre for Unified Behavioural and Economic Sciences at the University of Queensland