Professor of Behavioural Science, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick
Ivo Vlaev is a Professor of Behavioural Science, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. Ivo received a DPhil (PhD) in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford (and St. John's College) and MSc in Cognitive Science and BSc in Psychology from the New Bulgarian University. Before coming to Warwick, Ivo worked as a research fellow at University College London and senior lecturer at Imperial College London. He has a track record of research in decision science (behavioural economics) and behaviour change, which is published in peer-reviewed academic journals, book chapters and government reports.
In decision science, Ivo investigates how the brain integrates information in order to evaluate experiences and risks; how the brain strikes a balance between stability and context sensitivity in judgment and choice; and what neural mechanisms underlie those fundamental cognitive abilities. His research is a convergence of disciplines (psychology, neuroscience, economics) and a synergy of methods (experimentation, brain imaging, quantitative modelling).
In behaviour change, Ivo’s research focuses on developing an integrated theory of behaviour change which combines principles from psychology, neuroscience, and economics. Testing the theory involves developing and evaluating behaviour change interventions in various domains such as health (influencing lifestyle risk factors such as dieting and physical activity; modifying patient behaviours such as medication adherence; changing professional practice such as safety and quality of care) and finance (motivating customers to manage their money more effectively; design of financial products). Ivo is also a co-author of the famous UK Cabinet Office MINDSPACE report, which provides a framework for designing effective policy utilising the latest insights from behavioural sciences (also known as nudge theory). The report was the basis for establishing the ‘Behaviour Insight Team’ at the Cabinet Office. MINDSPACE is widely used across both local and central government and in the commercial sector.
Ivo’s advisory and consultancy work with various public organisations is on applying behaviour change principles to change people’s decisions about their health, finances, education, work, and environment. Ivo has helped public and private organisations develop and apply lessons from behavioural science. The government sector organisations include: Department of Health, NHS England, Health Education England, Public Health England, NHS RightCare, NICE, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Cabinet Office, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education, Money Advice Service, Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Reporting Council, Citizen Advice; City of London, Croydon and Islington councils, West Midlands Combined Authority; European Commission. The private sector organisations include: Institute and Faculty of Actuaries UK, Institute for Employment Studies, Decision Technology, Behavioural Architects, Mindmetic, Tesco, E.on, AXA, Aviva, Fairbanking Foundation, Orbit Group, Ipsos Mori, Swissre, Barclays Bank, Capital One, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ecorys, Bearingpoint, Ogilvy, Prime Global Medical Communications, AtomicPR, Kindred Agency, Ernst & Young, Boehringer Ingelheim, UCB, Pfizer, McDonald's.
Ivo’s work on using behavioural economics (‘nudging’) to boost tax compliance (conducted for HMRC) was cited in the scientific background document accompanying the Nobel prize committee’s awarding of the prize for economic sciences to Richard Thaler in 2017.