• Updated
12 January 2022

Homo sapiens dans la cité

"Homo Sapiens dans la cité - Comment adapter l'action publique à la psychologie humaine" is the result of a collaboration between Coralie Chevallier, researcher in cognitive and behavioural science at ENS - PSL and Inserm, and Mathieu Perona, executive director of the CEPREMAP's Observatoire du bien-être. This book has just been published by Odile Jacob.


Why do humans remember a face they met fifty years ago, but forget to pay their bills on time? Why can't we reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, when we are all concerned about the survival of the planet?

In spite of ourselves, our inner contradictions hinder the change of our behaviour in the service of the common good. These deviations from the perfect citizen are the result of the extremely efficient adaptation of humans to their environment. The authors explain how evolution has conditioned our psychology, our relationship to decision and action. 

The challenge is therefore not to modify human nature, but to design a public action that fully integrates the real functioning of cognition in the service of greater autonomy for everyone.

Illustrated by concrete examples of experiments in France and abroad, this book shows how behavioural sciences can redefine public action in depth in order to bring about changes in our ways of acting.


Coralie Chevallier  is a specialist in social decision-making and the application of cognitive science to improve public action.

Normalien and former student of the École d’économie de Paris, Mathieu Perona specialises in the measurement of well-being and in the design and evaluation of public policies.