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More about Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor became Chief Executive of the RSA in November 2006. Prior to this appointment, he was Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister. Matthew was appointed to the Labour Party in 1994 to establish Labour's rebuttal operation. During the 1997 General Election he was Labour's Director of Policy. His activities before the Labour Party included being a county councillor, a parliamentary candidate, a university research fellow and the director of a unit monitoring policy in the health service. He was the Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research between 1999 and 2003, Britain's leading centre left think tank. Matthew has written for publications including The Times, Financial Times, Guardian, New Statesman and Prospect and is a regular contributor on Radio 4's Moral Maze.

  • Two burning issues

    "I came out of government really interested in two things which I felt I hadn't ever really got to grips with when I worked in number 10... behaviour change and well-being."

  • Matthew Taylor

    Matthew Taylor
  • Happiness

    "We all grow up thinking what makes you happy is being rich, being famous and being powerful and generally... the research suggests that's misguided. Actually what makes you happy is friendship, having a pet is good, having a lifetime partner is good, having a garden is fantastic!"

  • Know your brain better

    "Knowing how our brains work, knowing our susceptibilities, knowing things that we typically get wrong will help us to be more in control of our lives and to be better citizens."

Understanding the criminal brain

"What makes some adults and children behave badly in the first place?"

Neuro-law

"It will force us, and the 'us' in this case of course means lawyers really, to re-examine the notion of a responsible mind... "

Plasticity and learning

"In humans... you can detect structural changes in the brain simply as a result of learning a new skill." (Chris Frith)

Free will?

"Understanding more clearly the way brain processes lead to behaviour has tilted the age-old philosophical argument about free will."

Politics, policy and control

"I was working for Tony Blair when the first ever government paper on what was called 'Behaviour Change' was commissioned... "

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