Why Do Humans Often Act Against Their Own Best Interests?

James Erskine

Wednesday, May 10 2017 at 7:30PM

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James Erskine

What's the talk about?

One common human experience is to formulate an intention to behave in a certain way, for example to only have one drink in the pub, to return the dry cleaning on time or not to talk to the attractive colleague at work.

However it is equally the case that on many of these occasions we not only fail to complete our intention but often do something resembling the complete opposite of the intention. This talk will examine some explanations for why this might be so common and potential ways to regain a degree of measured control.


Dr James Erskine grew up in many places and has a broad perspective on most issues. His background is in healthcare and university settings. He trained as a psychologist and holds a BSc in psychology, MSc in statistics and research methods, PhD in psychology and a second clinical doctorate in counseling psychology. He has studied and worked in various universities (Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Harvard, Regents, St George’s) and hospitals / GP surgeries (St George’s, Shenley, Harperbury, Kneesworth House, Orford Lodge), as an educator, researcher and clinician. 

In the distant past he worked at other jobs (mail room sorter, hospital porter, kitchen assistant, cleaner, prison officer, writer, personal assistant).

He has published scientific journal articles in the fields of psychology and healthcare. Furthermore he has published poetry in several anthologies. He was married, is now divorced and lives with his daughter in London. He currently runs a therapy centre in London and Hertfordshire providing treatment excellence to private clients and companies.