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Centre for Risk Research
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Prof. Konstantinos Katsikopoulos Diploma and MPhil (Athens), PhD (Massachusetts), FHEA (UK), Fellow of the Psychonomics Society (US)

Deputy Head of Business School for Research and Enterprise, and Professor of Behavioural Science

Prof. Konstantinos Katsikopoulos's photo

I am the Deputy Head of the Business School for Research and Enterprise, and a Professor of Behavioural Science.

My work connects behavioural science with analytics: I employ experiments to understand lay and expert decision making under conditions of radical uncertainty; harvest this understanding to build models of how such decisions should be made; and test multiple models using machine learning methodologies. This approach is enjoying a rare success—our models are accurate and at the same time transparent.

My group and I have developed tools for challenging problems such as identifying threats at security checkpoints in Afghanistan while minimizing civilian casualties, regulating UK investment banks without curbing financial innovation, and predicting the incidence of influenza in the US more robustly than big data. Such psychologically inspired quantitative models help set high standards of transparency and effectiveness for various approaches, including big data algorithms. With the increasing use of artificial intelligence for decision support, understanding decision rationales is vital, especially in sensitive domains, in future epidemics, and other critical events. 

The puzzles of human and machine decision making will only be solved by interdisciplinary ideas.

I studied applied mathematics and cognitive psychology in Athens and Freiburg and then obtained a PhD in operations research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before joining Southampton, I was a lecturer at the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMass (2 years and 9 months), visiting assistant professor at the Department of Operations Research of the Naval Postgraduate School (3 months) and the Engineering Systems Division at MIT (2 years); as well as a research fellow/scientist and deputy director at the Centre for Adaptive Behaviour and Cognition of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (13 years).  

Research interests

I work on integrating standard decision theory with the simple rules of thumb people actually use. I have helped built an interdisciplinary theory of the conditions under which simple models outperform more complex ones, and vice versa. I engage with government and other organizations on problems, characterized by complexity and uncertainty, in areas such as health and wealth. I am passionate about projects that enhance well-being, and take great care to disseminate results to first users. For example, our decision aid for improving civilian safety at checkpoints is included in an Army manual. 

My work has been funded by organizations such as the NASA Ames Research Centre, the German Science Foundation, and the European Network for Excellence; published in journals such as Psychological Review, Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, the Journal of Supply Chain Management, AI Magazine, and the European Journal of Operational Research; and covered by media such as the Tageszeitung, Founding Fuel, and Science News. I regularly deliver lectures and short courses to academia and industry; Visit Prof. Konstantinos Katsikopoulos: David Blockley lectures in Systems for a lecture to a general audience and CogTalk June 2014: Blind to Reason? Cognitive illusions and (ir)rational thinking for a public debate on whether people think irrationally. 

I am the lead author of the book "Classification in the Wild: The Science and Art of Transparent Decision Making" (MIT Press), with Özgür Şimşek (head of AI group at the University of Bath), Marcus Buckmann (senior data scientist at the Bank of England), and Gerd Gigerenzer (director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development) . This short volume aims at clarifying for a broad audience of academics and practitioners the overarching themes of our approach, demonstrate its impact, and show how to apply it. I am now working on a single-authored book contracted by Palgrave Macmillan, entitled “Cognitive Operations: Describing Psychological Processes and Predicting Decisions”. This book will present and analyse modeling tools for opening the black box of human decision making in operational contexts.  

I am the academic chair of The OR Society's (UK) Special Interest Group on Behavioural OR. I am also very active in the interdisciplinary area of bounded rationality, co-organizing the Annual Winter School in India on the topic. I serve as an associate editor/editorial board member of the Journal of the OR Society, Judgment and Decision Making, and the Journal of Mathematical Psychology.

I am very interested in working together with talented and enthusiastic students. My PhD students have secured fellowships from institutions such as UC Berkeley and Cornell, won Max Planck Society junior groups and entry professorships in universities such as TU Munich and the University of Southern Denmark (Danish Institute for Advanced Studies), and founded commercially successful startups such as Simply Rational (Berlin). 

PhD Supervision

Leen Gammoh, 2018-21, “Enhancing Flood Preparedness in Jordan” (with Dr. Ian Dawson)

Maryam Alyahya, 2020-2023, “Managing Company Reputation in Saudi Arabia” (with Dr. Yaniv Hanoch)

Lidia Mayangsari, 2020-2023, “Improving Food Choices in Indonesia” (with Dr. Stephan Onggo)

Research Projects:

“EFFECT: Executive Function Focused Effective Coaching Tool”, Technical Education Research Centers, Cambridge, MA (Liaison: Dr Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki)

“A behavioural model of returns of product packaging”, with the National Institute for Industrial Engineering, Mumbai (Liaison: Prof. Sushmita Narayana) 

“Consistent and accurate inference when past choices are recalled imperfectly", with the Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi (Liaison: Ms. Kriti Manocha) 


Affiliate research groups

Centre for Risk Research, CORMSIS Centre of Operational Research, Management Sciences and Information Systems, Behavioural OR (The OR Society), Harding Centre for Risk Literacy

  • Deputy Head of School for Research and Enterprise
  • Chair of Behavioural OR Special Interest Group (The OR Society)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Simon Institute for Long-term Governance (Geneva)
  • Member of the General Assembly of the International Herbert Simon Society    
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Book Chapters




Working Paper

  • Module leader for Behavioural Operations, postgraduate module (forthcoming)
  • Module leader for Management Analysis, core module on introductory undergraduate mathematics and statistics
  • Lecturer, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods, core module on postgraduate research methods
  • Short course leader, Behavioural OR, National Training Centre in OR  
  • Lecturer at the Summer Schools on Bounded Rationality (Max Planck Institute for Human Development) and Behavioural OR (rotating – Aalto, Nijmegen, Loughborough)
  • Co-founder and co-organizer of the Annual Winter School on Bounded Rationality in India (T. A. Pai Management Institute) 
Prof. Konstantinos Katsikopoulos
Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.

Room Number : 2/5017

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