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BehaviourWorks at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival


Smart Phones, Dumb People: BehaviourWorks Australia showcases behavioural science at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

On Monday 9 April BehaviourWorks Australia presented its first ever show at the 2018 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Playing to a full house in Melbourne Town Hall's Powder Room, Smart Phones Dumb People explored behavioural science and our ever-increasing obsession with the most successful product of all time, the smartphone.

In 2018 the number of people with mobile phones will outnumber those without. Smartphones are designed to attract and hold our attention for as long as possible, and they're changing our behaviours in ways we don't fully understand.

Geoff Paine and researchers from BehaviourWorks Australia explored how we can be primed, influenced and distracted by other people and the devices we carry everywhere. They’re in our pockets, our cars, our homes, and in our heads. But are they making us smarter? Not so much.

In probably the only festival show where the audience was encouraged to keep their phones turned on, the BWA team used live polling, audience interaction and a series of behavioural experiments to demonstrate how the latest smartphones impact our lives.

Exploring everything from a phone's default ringtones and sounds, to SMS reminders, texting and driving, selfies at funerals, and how a smartphone placed on a table can dramatically change the dynamics of a conversation, the show took a look at what we can do to re-claim the parts of our brains taken over by these devices.

Smart Phones, Dumb People grew from a series of sell out events called The Change Room that were developed by BehaviourWorks Australia to extend the concept of research-entertainment. The show at this year's Festival brought the behavioural sciences to a wider audience.

More Change Room events will be held in Melbourne during 2018. Visit the MSDI events page for more information.

Watch the highlights: Smart Phones, Dumb People