About me

I am a behavioural scientist based across both the University of Cambridge and the University of Western Australia. 

My research focuses on applying psychology to design effective behaviour change campaigns, with a particular interest in altering consumer behaviour towards better social and environmental outcomes.
I am driven to finding innovative solutions to complex problems such as climate change, health fraud, and the illegal wildlife trade. I am also particularly interested in finding sustainable partnerships that enable the business and corporate sector to contribute to conserving the Earth’s natural resources.


I have a background in conservation, international law, and psychology. I currently work both as an academic researcher and a consultant on behaviour change initiatives.

My Research in the Media

Click the images to read, or link to, the original articles

Website Logo_Manta.png

My Twitter handle is @Traffic_Science  

Sharing science research that applies to counter the illegal wildlife trade.


Asst. Prof Matt Motta

Oklahoma State University 

“Unfortunately, social scientists have lacked a single, cohesive, theoretical framework that we can consult when attempting to design new interventions to stop the spread of misinformation and alternative health behaviours...


Until now, that is.

— About our innovative behaviour change framework.


Published in a commentary for Social Science & Medicine

Prof Scott O. Lilienfeld

& Dr Candice Basterfield 

Emory University & 

University of Melbourne

In their superb article, MacFarlane, Hurlstone, and Ecker (2020) provide a five-fold framework for conceptualizing susceptibility to fraudulent health claims and propose potential remedies for each...​​


... MacFarlane et al. (2020) have done the field a valuable service by bringing together findings from diverse psychological subdisciplines to help us better understand why so many people, even the best educated, are drawn to fraudulent health claims.”

— About our innovative behaviour change framework.


Published in a commentary for Social Science & Medicine

Michael Skapinker

The Financial Times

“[In 2019] the largest-ever study into any possible link between MMR and autism, involving 657, 461 Danish children, was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. As with [other[ studies... it found no connection between MMR and autism. If this fails to convince recalcitrant parents, it is difficult to know what will...


... A recent study from the University of Western Australia points to one way forward."

— In regard to addressing strongly-held, but misinformed, beliefs regarding vaccinations. Skapinker refers to our novel intervention findings, published in the journal Psychology & Health, on combatting the illusion of causality.

What the experts say

Whalla Steps.jpg


Research & Consultant Profiles

PhD Candidate 

University of Western Australia

(Google Scholar, ResearchGate)

Ecker Memory &

Cognition Lab

The Behavioural Economics Laboratory

Visiting Researcher,

Cambridge Conservation Initiative 

University of Cambridge





The Cambridge Conservation Initiative | The David Attenborough Building | University of Cambridge | CB2 3QZ

Copyright © 2020 — www.douglasmacfarlane.com. All rights reserved