Behavioral Social Sciences (BeSS)

Head of the group: Raúl López Pérez



Understanding in some detail the causes of individuals' behavior and attitudes, as well as the aggregate effects of their actions, is crucial for successfully designing and implementing public, organizational, or institutional policies. Our group seeks to explore (i) the formation of beliefs and preferences, (ii) how beliefs and preferences affect individual decisions, (iii) the social phenomena generated by such decisions, and (iv) policies based on previous analyses. Examples of specific topics that interest us include the formation of conspiracy theories, acceptance of inequality, how limited attention and memory shape public opinion, explanatory factors of interpersonal trust, misinformation and democracy, polarization, the anti-social motivations of individuals, roots of political conflict, social norms in the realm of politics, or the behavioral mechanisms of inequality and discrimination. Although our methodological approach places particular emphasis on experimental techniques for testing accurate hypotheses or even formal models, it also includes other qualitative and quantitative research methods to ensure a global understanding of society. We also share a decidedly multidisciplinary approach: the group currently includes economists, political scientists, and sociologists, but we also believe in collaboration with other disciplines such as neuroscience, psychiatry, and cognitive or social psychology. The Behavioral Social Science research group hosts the Discrimination & Inequality Lab, D-Lab, a unique research infrastructure for the experimental study of inequality and discrimination.

Dept. of Economics and Politics