Keith O' Brien - Psychology
Keith O’ Brien.

It has been an interesting road that led me to psychology. I can never decide if I am a physiologist, a cognitive psychologist, or a vague ‘behavioural scientist’.

Despite my mother’s best efforts to convince me to do a medical degree, I received a BSc in Physiology from University College Cork (Ireland) in 2010; specialising in neurophysiology and cognition. Terrified at the thought of being chained to a lab bench, I served as a Director of Elections in Ireland’s General Election in 2011. Fascinated with the explosion in psychology around human decision-making, I grabbed the chance to move to London for an MSc in Cognition & Decision-Sciences at UCL. While studying, I was as a regional campaign organiser for London’s 2012 Mayoral Elections.

In June 2012, I was shipped to India to work as a ‘Behavioural Architect’ with Final Mile Pvt. Ltd. My role was to research & help design interventions to combat the rise in drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis, caused by patient non-adherence to medication. Over four months of ethnographic research in India’s villages, slums and hospitals, I detailed a range of behavioural insights and co-developed various physical, behavioural, and policy changes.

In 2012, I was offered an IMPACT scholarship for a doctorate in experimental psychology (judgement & decision-making) at University College London. The thesis questioned whether voters choose the ‘correct‘ candidate when they go to vote.  I’ve been in haunting the corridors of 26 Bedford Way ever since, and hope to be awarded my PhD in 2016.

Click here to see my staff and research profile on UCL’s Experimental Psychology website.

Recent News:

  • 2016: Became Teaching Fellow at UCL (area: Memory & Decision-Making)
  • Won the 2015 ‘Nudgeathon’ competition hosted by Warwick Business School
  • Won the 2013 UCL ‘Grand Challenges’ in Human Well-being Prize (£10,000)


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