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Source: pexels-daniel-reche-1556707

Diversity and inclusion are hot topics right now (and rightly so) but there is one group who is less visible and — ironically — often excluded from the discussion: neurodivergent people. As today is the last day of October and the last day of ADHD Awareness Month, I thought I’d procrastinate on some more important stuff and squeeze in some musings on how all the talk on diversity and inclusion is perhaps forgetting something.

I’ve been meaning to write since the beginning of the month but, in characteristic ADHD style, I forgot about it until this morning when I read a report on workplace neurodiversity that 30% of employers would not consider hiring someone with ADHD. The irritation provoked by that fact electrified me more than my regular morning triple espresso and I knew I had to write — even though speaking about ADHD publicly is much riskier than most of the other neurodiversity conditions. …


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Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

This is a story about a kitchen bin, privilege and how our unconscious class blinkers can bias the way we think about behaviour change.

Privilege as the absence of inconvenience has been on my mind recently as I’ve immersed myself in Stephanie Land’s Maid and her experience of living in poverty: poorly paid work, ruthless working conditions, humiliating requirements for government aid with a side dish of domestic violence and homelessness. …


These books will give you new windows on the world — much more so than the average business book

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I have put together my favourite books that will help you understand yourself and others from different cultural backgrounds. These are rarely on lists of business books yet the understanding they can give you are essential in today’s world. If you read these books, you will never look at the world the same again!

Why read these books? …


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I read this excellent post from Jason Collins while sipping my morning coffee and it reminded me that I was looking at a random list of “25 most influential behavioural economists” a couple of days ago and thinking something similar… it was quite a homogeneous list.

(This was going to be a post but it ended up longer so here it is as an off-the-cuff article!)

Judgment and decision making, the field that produces much of what we call behavioural economics research, is a discipline almost entirely spearheaded by white, (upper) middle class American and some Israeli/Dutch/British scientists.

I’ve been quietly wondering for a long time how influences a scientific discipline, especially one focused on how we make decisions as human beings, if it is driven predominantly by a very particular kind of cultural group. As uncomfortable as it might be to consider, science is influenced by the scientist’s cultural background and context: the topic of study, the assumptions/premises, the choice of methods (epistemology/ontology) and of course the interpretation and generalisability assumptions. …


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As applied behavioural science grows in popularity around the world, we are at a point where we need to consider how can be applied in different cultural contexts. In this series of blog posts I explore the ways in which factors such as cultural context influence individual decision making and what we know about the human mind is often based on a limited sample of humanity.

This is part 2 of my ‘Globally Irrational, Locally Rational’ article series — find part 1 here!

There is a lot of evidence of the variation in the human experience and that economic, social and linguistic environments strongly shape people’s behaviour, motivations and preferences. Despite this, these topics have not received a lot of attention in decision making psychology. In this article, I shed some light on the background of why this is the case. But before we can talk about the influence of culture on decision-making, we need get on the same page by defining what exactly do we mean when we talk about culture. …


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Many articles have been written about how to change behaviours when it comes to coronavirus — at the beginning it was about washing hands, but lately the focus has shifted to staying indoors. As I was reading an article yesterday about “pandemic shaming”, I was reminded of basic dog training and it got me thinking whether we had forgotten about more fundamental principles of behaviour change.


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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m not a mental health professional, nor are my views here derived from robust scientific evidence — I wrote this because in case my experiences help someone else cope better with the current situation, so if you disagree with anything feel free to ignore it and only take what works for you.

I hesitated writing this — there are hundreds of articles on the mental health aspect of this situation we all find ourselves in. I’m also not a healthcare professional, a home-schooling parent or an entrepreneur who has to close their business indefinitely. …


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Photo by slon_dot_pics from Pexels

Over the past 10 years, applied behavioural science grown more and more popular in across a range of industries and sectors. As it spreads across the globe, we are at a point where we need to consider whether we are as “irrational”* as we seem and, more importantly, whether we are all “irrational” in the same way — in other words, does behavioural science as we know it travel well?

In this series of articles I shed light on the ways in which factors such as cultural context influence individual decision making (beyond just social norms), and the ways in which what we know about the human mind is often based on a limited sample of humanity. …


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https://www.pexels.com/photo/adorable-agility-animal-breed-533502/

I’ve just finished reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits — an international bestseller that was recommended by many people when I recently asked about which behaviour change methods people had found to be effective in their own life. Among other things, I noticed that the most important concepts in the book are actually straight out of dog training manuals… applied to humans.

I spend a lot of time working with my two spaniels in dog sports like agility and detection dog practice so I think about canine behaviour almost as much as I do humans. That’s probably why James Clear’s internationally acclaimed book Atomic Habits sounded so remarkably familiar: many of the behaviour change mechanisms he describes in the book are also used in dog training, and based on fundamental psychology concepts like operant conditioning — just packaged in really nice a way that helps us apply them to change our own behaviour. …


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Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

I have travelled a lot in the past 10 years: I’ve attended 60 conferences around the world, and clocked up over 350 flights, plus countless trains as well as tens of thousands of kilometres on road trips across Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Some years I even spent a third of my time in some other country that I didn’t live in. At the beginning it was fun and exciting, but over time my feelings towards travel have changed completely — these days, I need a good reason to pack my bags and leave the house.

But how did I go from a restless globetrotter to the ultimate homebody? …

About

Elina Halonen

Behavioral scientist — specialised in cultural psychology, interested in behavioral design. Side interests: dogs and ADHD.

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