Behaviour Science

Behaviour Science

About us

2CV: Behavioural Science helps clients get to the heart of consumer behaviour by using innovative methodologies and theoretical frameworks to gain a deeper understanding of people's decision processes. Our approach to this area of consumer research allows us to account for what people can't or won't tell us, as well as what they can. At 2CV we call these two sides of the picture 'Behind the Scenes' and 'Personal Perspective'.

We are committed to ensuring that we account for all the factors driving consumer behaviour. We draw upon established academic theories from psychology and anthropology, whilst keeping abreast with the latest thinking from behavioural economics, neuroscience and other behavioural sciences.
Central to our approach is the mission to keep the 'Personal Perspective' at heart of understanding alongside 'Behind the Scenes'; accounting for both things that consumers can tell us and the things that they can't. It is through an understanding of the synergies and differences between the two that we understand the nature and scope of the challenge faced by our clients helping navigate a path to success.


What we do

The 2CV: Behavioural Sciences approach can be used at any stage of the strategic, marketing or product development lifecycle to help clients unlock powerful understanding from both 'Behind the Scenes' and 'Personal Perspective'.

  • Beyond rationality: we know that the stories people tell of 'what happened' and 'why' don't account for all factors. Indeed, the very act of remembering changes our memories and affects accuracy. Furthermore, our desire to be well received means we tell our stories in a way that we believe will make the 'most sense' and make us look good.  This understanding is important for clients as we are able to unpick the difference between 'true motivations' and 'rationalisations' and use the knowledge of these for different purposes. The 'rationalisations' tell us how people want to be seen and what they identify with from the Personal Perspective; the 'true motivations' from Behind the Scenes uncover the things that affect people's decisions and how clients can influence them.
  • Understanding the Herd: humans are social beings who are heavily influenced by the behaviours of others; we always look to how social groups act and interact and how the social context affects individual choices and behaviours. 
  • Choice Architecture and framing: most often the context of a choice is more important than the specific factors of the individual 'thing' that is selected. We look for how the choice is framed from the consumer perspective and how this influences the choices they are making.
  • Anchors: Our brain simplifies the decision processes it undertakes on a moment by moment basis - anchors are critical to decision making processes, framing parameters of choice. We look at the choices people are making and identify anchors to help clients understand how decisions are influenced and made. For example, on a wine list, the lowest priced bottle acts as an anchor for how other prices are viewed and how quality is assessed - the second cheapest wine on a list is often the most popular.
  • Biases and Heuristics: cognitive biases and heuristics (mental short cuts) are wired into our brains to give preferential treatment to certain options when we are making decisions. These biases make our decision processes more certain and less effortful. For example, defaulting to tried and tested foods takes the work out of decisions (which is also an example of loss aversion). They can also add unwarranted weight to certain options - for example selection of driving over walking because of the 'effort' taken to change a habit. Biases and heuristics can also be emotional.


How we do it

We use our appreciation of the Behavioural Sciences and understanding of how decisions are made to ensure both our approaches and findings get to the truth of the consumer decision.

We use observational ethnography, in the moment capturing and tailored questioning techniques to dig deep Behind the Scenes. We also use group techniques for co-creation and understanding of how social factors can affect decisions. We are careful to separate out the difference between what we find Behind the Scenes and what we find within the Personal Perspective as these are both important for our clients but may inform different actions.

We also provide introductory seminars for clients who want to get to grips with the Behavioural Sciences.


Who We Are

The 2CV: Behavioural Sciences unit is led by Rob Hartley and Jane Goldthorpe, and brings together a multi-disciplinary team with backgrounds in psychology, anthropology, sociology and linguistics to help our clients gain a true understanding of consumer behaviour.

Interested in Finding Out More?

We keep up to date with the latest theory in the Behavioural Sciences and how this is relevant to businesses. To find out more about this fascinating area of consumer research, please get it touch with Kat or Rachel.

Also, if we've sparked an interest in the topic, we've listed below some interesting reading to get you started:



Kat Jennings


Six Reasons Why 2CV Loves Advent Running

Six Reasons Why 2CV Loves Advent Running

For our second year 2CV is doing Advent Running. The challenge is simple - to run every day between 1st and 24th December for a minimum of 15 minutes*. It doesn't matter where or when you do it, or whether it's an all out sprint or your first attempts at a walk-jog programme like Couch to 5K. It just matters that you do it every day. It's a good example of a behaviour change challenge for a number of reasons.


*Some Advent challenges set this at 30 minutes, or a mile, but we prefer the smaller target of 15 minutes (because we believe in starting small).

See all Behaviour Science articles



Jane Goldthorpe
Research Director



Rob Hartley
Research Director