11 February 2019

Ralph Hertwig (Max Planck Institute) to speak on “Implications of Prompted Rationality perspective”

On April 11, 2019, strategic theme Institutions for Open Societies accommodates an interdisciplinary seminar for scientists and policy makers that explores the relevance of autonomous choice and empathy for developing new public policies. The program includes two keynote speakers: Professor Ralph Hertwig (Max Planck Institute for Human Development) and Professor Christian Keysers (Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience).

Professor Ralph Hertwig. Photo by Bernhard Ludewig

Ralph Hertwig

Professor Hertwig is an international leading scholar in human decision-making with a training in rational choice theory. Inspired by Herbert Simon’s work on bounded rationality, he recent work addresses shortcomings of behaviourally informed approaches that focuses on ‘nudges’; that is, non-fiscal and non-regulatory interventions that steer (nudge) people in a specific direction while preserving choices. He proposes an alternative evidence-based class of non-fiscal and non-regulatory intervention: Boosts.


The goal of Boosts is to make it easier for people to exercise their own agency in making choices. In an interview with a German newspaper, he describes it as follows: “There is the so-called "Boosting", which is also motivated by scientific research in Psychology and Behavioural economics. By doing so, you want to make people more competent in the long term, so that they can make better decisions, or better assess risks.”

At the Max Planck Institute, Hertwig is director of The Center for Adaptive Rationality (ARC), an interdisciplinary and international research group of psychologists, neuroscientists, economists, philosophers, biologists, and mathematicians. In addition, he is Honorary Professor at the Humboldt University, Berlin.

You want to make people more competent in the long term, so that they can make better decisions, or better assess risks.

Prompted Rationality seminar

During the seminar, Hertwig will speak on Implications of PR perspective: Autonomy & empathy in public policy. In addition, there will be reflections by the Prompted Rationality consortium, discussion with the audience and another keynote speech by Professor Christian Keysers of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. More information about Professor Keysers will follow soon.

Interested in attending the seminar? Please register via this registration form (limited seats available).