Saadi Lahlou | Paris Institute for Advanced Study – Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, London School of Economics
Thursday 5th August 2021
Our behaviour in a given situation is a local compromise between what we would like (motives), what we can do (affordances of the environment), what we know how to do (our embodied competences), and what we are socially expected to do (institutions, including social norms). The last three types of determinants combine in local situations, in “installations” that channel our behaviour in a predictable way (a bus ride, a family dinner, a meeting at work etc.) In fact, most of our activities in public space are channelled by such installations. They make our behaviour predictable for others, to an amazing level of detail (e.g. think of how disciplined and channelled is your behaviour in the bus); which is the condition for coexistence and the smooth operation of large-scale societies. The power of installations supercedes most classic variables (e.g. all passengers in the bus behave in a similar way, whatever their age, gender, etc. and even whatever their motives for travel).
This presentation will provide (a) the framework, installation theory, to analyse this powerful behavioural channelling and the reasons for its efficiency and resilience (b) the mechanisms by which installations reproduce practice, material culture and norms in society (c) how this natural societal process can be hacked and leveraged by interventions to change behaviour.