Pete Lunn interview: ‘The system is full of people – and an awful lot of them are actually doing a spectacularly good job’

When Covid-19 struck, the head of the ESRI’s Behavioural Research Unit saw an opportunity to make a real contribution. After more than a year observing public behaviour, he now feels that Ireland is having a ‘good pandemic’

Pete Lunn, head of the ESRI’s Behavioural Research Unit: ‘What we know about these kinds of problems [such as the pandemic] is that people behave better and do the right thing more, the stronger the group identity that they have.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

Before the pandemic, you might have thought of behavioural scientists as researchers in some niche field. Maybe you knew them as the people who rethink supermarket design to encourage us to buy more. Most likely, you never thought about them at all.

But over the past number of years, the role of a behavioural scientist has been growing ever more prominent (they have less to do with getting us to spend money than they do ...