RISC Colloquium
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
York Lanes 280A, York University and via Zooom

RISC Colloquium – Unstandard deviation: Applying positive deviance in behavioral science to reduce economic and health inequality

By Kai Ruggeri, Professor in behavioral science & public policy - Columbia University | Fellow - Cambridge

Kai Ruggeri

The Fall term RISC colloquia series of talks will be concluded with a phenomenal presentation of Professor Kai Ruggeri of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Ruggeri is Director - Global Behavior Studies at Columbia University, and his research revolves around population behavioral science and decision making, with a focus on reducing inequalities and improving population well-being.

Behavioral scientists are increasingly interested in looking for public policy solutions to reduce inequalities. Yet evidence from effective population-level interventions is limited. One framework, known as positive deviance, emphasizes individuals from disadvantaged circumstances who have significantly better outcomes than are typical for their group. Studying their behaviors and outcomes helps to understand what might explain their overall success. These insights could also be used to help others from these circumstances experience positive outcomes. This talk will present a framework for doing so specifically within behavioral science for public policies aimed at reducing inequalities. Using examples from real-world and experimental insights on choices and outcomes of positive deviants, we demonstrates paths for further study of choices and trajectories over time to produce valuable insights. We propose that leveraging those findings would inform public policy by introducing interventions that are more ecologically sound and population-relevant and thus have a better chance at benefiting those who start off under adverse circumstances.