UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Constructs mapping

Principal InvestigatorProfessor Susan Michie (UCL) 



Professor Robert West (UCL),
Dr Carmen Lefevre (UCL),
Dr Rachel Carey (UCL),
Dr Lauren Connell (UCL),
Cristina Godhino (UCL)
ResearchersDr Artur Direito, Hilary Groarke 
Project start and end dates2014 - 2019

Project details

A recent multidisciplinary literature review across the fields of psychology, sociology, economics and anthropology identified 83 theories of behaviour and behaviour change (Davis, Campbell, Hildon, Hobbs & Michie, 2014). These theories contained a total of 1725 constructs, many of which showed considerable overlap, while others were less commonly used but were potentially useful. Descriptions of each of these theories have been published as a compendium of behaviour change theories to provide a resource for researchers, policy makers and intervention designers (Michie, West, Campbell, Brown & Gainforth, 2014).

To maximise the usefulness of this resource for intervention development and evaluation, and to contribute for the advancement of behaviour change science, it is important to develop a system to express the theories in terms of the constructs they contain and the proposed relationships between them, with a view to;

  • facilitating theory selection
  • describing how well the theories are articulated, and
  • creating an overarching, synthetic framework within which individual theories can be located and to which new theories that may be developed in the future can be incorporated.

This synthetic framework will form the basis of a ‘Behaviour Change Ontology’. This is a conceptual structure for systematically representing, sorting and linking the ‘elements’ of behaviour change interventions. The ‘construct mapping project’ is one of the most ambitious pieces of this Behaviour Change Ontology. Using expertise from both behavioural and computer sciences, it seeks to organise the identified theoretical constructs into a single synthetic theoretical framework.