Changing unhealthy behaviour: the information paradox

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OLS 17-18: Changing unhealthy behaviour

Who this event is for

  • Everyone


John Henry Brookes Main Lecture Theatre, John Henry Brookes Building, Headington Campus


In this lecture, Professor Dame Theresa Marteau will explore less and more effective ways of changing behaviour to improve the health of everyone.


Our unhealthy behaviour is the major cause of disease and premature death worldwide. Informing people of the risks from their behaviour has little or no impact. More promising interventions involve altering cues in physical, digital, economic and social environments that shape our behaviour, often without awareness. Changing these cues requires public support. Informing people of these influences on their behaviour may generate such support.


Theresa will argue that while informing people of the risks from their behaviour – on average – doesn’t change their behaviour, informing them that it doesn’t and why, could lead them to support changing environments to ones that would change their behaviour.



This is the HLS Annual Research Lecture.