Effectiveness of behavioural science for financial decision making and literacy - ON-139

Preferred Disciplines: Psychology, Masters or PhD
Company: Anonymous
Project Length:  8-12 months 
Desired start date: Any time after July 2018
Location: Toronto, Ontario 
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: n/a

About the Company: 

We are one of the largest financial institutions in Canada and our Design Research team is comprised of Masters and Doctoral graduates from areas such as Human Factors, Psychology, Anthropology, Engineering, and more.  Our research is focused on user experience of the physical and digital aspects of the bank. However, we also have a mandate to conduct foundational research practices that inform Experience Strategy now and in the future. 

Project Description:

The world of behavioural economics (i.e. nudging, aka judgement and decision making) has risen to prominence within certain industrial sectors; Finance is one of these. This field and it’s proponents make a great deal of claims with regard to the effectiveness of certain interventions to change people’s behaviours. 

We are interested in working with an researcher who can help to seaprate fact from fiction by sifting through the numerous papers, reviews, and other data. From this developing an understanding of nudging and behavioural interventions and model the effectiveness of these interventions for decision making in finances as well as for financial literacy.

We are also interested in areas of intersection between the disciplines of knowledge translation and behavioural economics. There is a substantial literature on models for behavioural change when it comes to health and yet effectiveness is still fairly low.

Bringing all this together we want to evaluate the effectiveness of BE/JDM approaches for changing behaviour in financial decision making or financial literacy. However, we also want to evaluate the impact of regret when later evaluating financial decisions made in an unconscious way through BE/JDM approaches (i.e. nudging).

Research Objectives:

  • Effectiveness of interventions
    • Could involve a small systematic review or literature review on effectiveness specifcially for financial literacy and decision making
  • Creation and validation of model & testing of regret
    • Building out a model for effectiveness of interactions
    • Employ a nudging experiment and evaluate regret ~1-month post implementation


Will be decided with the help of the intern and the academic supervisor

  • Potential meta-analysis & literature review – depends on the nature of the initial literature scoping to see what is known already
  • Model generation
  • Model validation with BE/JDM experiment

Expertise and Skills Needed:

    • Psychology background with Judgement and Decision Making experience is an asset
    • Implementation Science or Knowledge Translation is also useful here
    • May require experience with meta-analysis/advanced statistics (depends on discussion with academic partners)

    For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

    1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.

    2. Complete this webform. You will be asked to upload your CV. Remember to indicate the title of the project(s) you are interested in and obtain your professor’s approval to proceed!

    3. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Jillian Hatnean e at, jhatnean(at)mitacs.ca.