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Knowledge4Policy
KNOWLEDGE FOR POLICY

Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Projects and activities | Last updated: 21 Feb 2023

Understanding our political nature: how to put knowledge and reason at the heart of political decision-making

Advances in behavioral, decision and social sciences show that humans are not purely rational beings. As a result, this report brings new insights to political behaviour. It calls upon evidence-informed policymaking not to be taken for granted. 

 

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Advances in behavioral, decision and social sciences show that humans are not purely rational beings. As a result, this report brings new insights to political behaviour. It calls upon evidence-informed policymaking not to be taken for granted. 

Contributors

  •  Contributing to the research that underpins this JRC report were:  
  •  60 experts from around the world
  •  behavioral scientists
  •  social scientists
  •  experts from the Humanities

 

Structure and key findings

There is a chapter dedicated to each key finding. The latest scientific thinking as well as possible implications for policymaking are outlines. The key findings from the report are:

  • Misperception and disinformation
    Our thinking skills are challenged by today's information environment and make us vulnerable to disinformation. We need to think more about how we think. 
  • Collective intelligence
    Science can help us re-design the way policymakers work together to take better decisions and prevent policy mistakes.
  • Emotions
    We can't separate emotion from reason. Better information about
  • Values and identities
    Values and Identities drive political behaviour but are not properly understood or debated
  • Framing, metaphor and narrative
    Facts don't speak for themselves. Framing, metaphors and narratives need to be used responsibly if evidence is to be heard and understood.
  • Trust and openness
    The erosion of trust in experts and in government can only be addressed by greater honesty and public deliberation about interests and values.
  • Evidence-informed policymaking
    The principle that policy should be informed by evidence is under serious attack. Politicians, scientists and civil society need to defend this cornerstone of liberal democracy.

Increasing the outreach

The original report Understanding our political nature was published in English in 2019 but the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the vital role that evidence has in informing the right policy choices to protect lives and livelihoods. It is also clear that evidence-informed policymaking is under threat, making the conclusions and implications are more relevant today than ever. To increase the outreach of the report, it has been translated into French, German, Italian and Spanish. Please click on the button below to access any of them:

Download report in your language