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People & collaboration

We warmly welcome all to join our community by attending the BeCS seminar that features speakers from our network and beyond. Find the schedule and speakers of the seminar here.


If you have any questions about our network, please send an email to


Nelli Hankonen

Professor of Social Psychology, Tampere University


Nelli Hankonen has conducted and led academic research in the area of behaviour change over 15 years. 


Contact details:; phone: +358-40-7657997 


Keegan Knittle

Assistant Professor of Exercise Psychology, University of Jyväskylä


Dr Knittle is a health psychology researcher with interests in understanding the motivational processes that underlie health behavior change and understanding how individuals make use of interventions to change their behavior. Keegan has conducted several meta-analyses to identify intervention components associated with increases in motivation, physical activity and weight loss maintenance. He has also developed interventions to promote physical activity among individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and among people with excess risk of cardiovascular disease. These projects involved developing (mhealth) behavior change tools for patients and developing interventions to train healthcare providers to deliver motivational interviews in practical settings.


Personal links:
Google Scholar ORCID

Matti Heino

Doctoral Researcher, Tampere University;

Grant Researcher, University of Helsinki;

Behavioural Science Advisor, Prime Minister’s Office (Finland) 


Matti Heino studies behaviour change from a systems perspective, with main interests in practical applications of health psychology and behavioural medicine, as understood through the lens of complexity science. He sees the idiographic approach as necessary to post-replication crisis psychology research, but insufficient to tackle the largest societal problems we face today – most prominent of which being pandemics. He has a pre-academic background in the business sector, mostly working with implementation and development of marketing communications. 


Matthias Aulbach

Postdoctoral Researcher in Social Psychology, University of Salzburg, Aalto University, University of Helsinki


Matthias Aulbach is a postdoctoral researcher working at the University of Salzburg, Austria, and Aalto University. With a background in psychology, he has worked in the clinical addiction field before starting his PhD in the Behavior Change and Well-being research group at the University of Helsinki. In his thesis, he examined how behavioral impulses towards unhealthy foods can be reduced with simple computer tasks, using a wide range of methods (meta-analysis, EEG, smartphone data from a field trial). He continues his work in this domain at the University of Salzburg, Austria. Further, he has worked on other health-psychological topics like physical activity and sedentary behavior. He is interested in all things impulse control and, since the beginning of 2021, has ventured to apply his knowledge in the domain of intergroup relations.


Marguerite Beattie

Doctoral Researcher in Social Psychology, University of Helsinki


Currently, Marguerite is doing her PhD on the psychological mechanisms behind uptake and maintenance of well-being enhancing behaviors, e.g., mindfulness practice, among adolescents. She has also branched out into environmental psychology collaborating on a study on acceptance and support for a climate policy adjusting food prices for agricultural emissions. She has previously worked with a variety of subjects in social psychology including subjective well-being, culture, income inequality, justification theory, moral and political psychology, motivation for physical activity, the role of literature in evoking sympathy/empathy, self-enactable motivation and behavior change techniques, and experimental frameworks for governments.


Malin Ekholm

Doctoral Researcher in Social Psychology, University of Helsinki 


Malin is currently doing her PhD in the psychosocial wellbeing and health behavior of the chronically ill. She is especially interested in how patient perceptions of their illness are associated with various outcomes (e.g. depression and treatment adherence), and how care pathways should be developed to support self-management and overall wellbeing. Malin is currently working in close collaboration with the Helsinki University Hospital and Aalto University in the CleverHealth Network eCare for Me -project, which aims to develop the care of Chronic Kidney disease through digital solutions. Before pursuing her PhD, Malin spent several years working with User Experience Design and user research in IT startups and as a consultant.


Eleonoora Hintsa

Doctoral researcher in exercise psychology, University of Jyväskylä


Eleonoora Hintsa is a PhD student researching habit promoting strategies for physical activity maintenance. She has a Master’s degree in sport and exercise pedagogy and more than five years of practical experience working as a well-being and performance coach.


Personal links:

Eeva Kettunen

Postdoctoral Researcher in Sport and Exercise Psychology and Information Technology, University of Jyväskylä


Eeva Kettunen is a postdoctoral researcher working at the University of Jyväskylä. Her PhD research was related to sport and wellness technology and how it can be used to motivate people towards a more physically active lifestyle. Her studies are focused especially on digital coaching as well as on physical activity of teenagers. Due to her sport and exercise psychology background her research interest is combining psychology and the use of technology in order to promote healthier and more physically active lifestyles to various populations. She is also working as a sport and exercise psychology consultant and therefore is also interested in sport psychology related research.

Personal links:

Anna Kilponen

Research Assistant, Tampere University


Anna is finishing her master’s degree in social psychology at Tampere University and works as a research assistant in the MotiStyleSport -project. She submitted her master thesis on the relationship between work related social media use and work engagement. Anna is interested in the wide range of topics in social psychology but she finds especially motivation and behavior change, as well as how these themes relate to well-being, in both work and leisure contexts, very interesting. She also has a strong interest in sports and in how the study about motivation and behavior change can contribute to that field.


Katri Kostamo

Postdoctoral Researcher, Tampere University


Katri Kostamo is a postdoctoral researcher in the Social Psychology discipline at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Having previously been employed in the areas of health promotion, quality assurance, and knowledge management, she currently applies various mixed methods (triangulation, realist evaluation, and a qualitative survey) for process evaluation of interventions targeting people’s life style changes. This work has been funded by Juho Vainio Foundation and by a collaborator funded by Business Finland.


Katri is especially interested in improving research effectiveness by evaluation, implementation and dissemination, thus increasing research relevance for policy and practice. Her doctoral dissertation explores physical activity by identifying critical incidents related to behaviour change. Focusing on critical incidents in storytelling can facilitate making conclusions about important components in behaviour change interventions.


Personal links:
Latest publications

Johanna Nurmi

Doctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki


Johanna is a social psychologist and behavioural scientist focused on health behaviour change, intervention design and digital services.


Her areas of interest cover:

  • Pandemic management, public engagement in protective measures
  • Digital service development, human-computer interaction, gamification, and usability research
  • Individuals’ engagement in the behaviour change process


Minttu Palsola

Doctoral Researcher in Social Psychology, Tampere University


Minttu currently works in the Citizen Shield and MotiStyleSport projects. She has a Master’s degree in social psychology and has analyzed Let’s Move It data on the use of self-motivating techniques for her thesis. For her PhD, she continues to work on intervention process evaluations in the context of Let’s Move It and MotiStyleSport projects. She is highly interested in various fields of social psychology, especially in behaviour change processes and motivational constructs, and behavioural insights in the context of public policy. Prior to her academic career, she has worked in sports coaching, community management, recruiting, and corporate communications.


Meri Pietilä

Research Assistant, Tampere University


Meri is a master’s degree student in social psychology at University of Helsinki. She worked as a research assistant in the Citizen Shield -project. In her master’s thesis, she investigated the association between quality of motivation and intention to adhere to COVID-19 related protective behaviors.


Melina Puolamäki

PhD Stu­dent, Tampere University


Melina is a licensed psychologist and qualified occupational health psychologist, in addition having a background in sport and exercise psychology. Before starting with her PhD, Melina had been working as an occupational health psychologist with experience in multiple health-related issues.


Melina is especially interested in motivation and behaviour change, and she shares a passion for sport psychology. Currently, Melina is working with her PhD on motivational interaction and professional’s behaviour change in the context of exercise and sports. Melina is a part of Nelli Hankonen’s research group.


Sarmite Puukko

Researcher, Tampere University


Sarmite is a social psychologist who currently works as a researcher in Citizen Shield project. Previously, she has worked as an assistant teacher on statistical methods courses and as an assistant in several projects, such as Citizen Shield, Let’s Move It and Behaviour Change Science & Policy (BeSP). She is interested in understanding behaviour change, advancing her methodological knowledge, and using behavioural insights to tackle societal issues.

Personal links:

Elina Renko

Postdoctoral researcher, Tampere University, University of the Arts Helsinki


Elina’s main research interests lie in the fields of interaction, agency, motivation, well-being and behaviour change. Her current research focus is primarily on motivational interaction; fostering narrative competence and the changing of motivating style. Elina currently works in the MotiStyleSport-project (at the University of Tampere) and strives to integrate a complex-system lens to qualitative process evaluation design. Further, she works in the Learning narrative competence -project (at the University of the Arts Helsinki) and explores the intersection of reflective writing, narrative and collaborative, person-centered clinical practicesElina has worked extensively in the field of alcohol research. Her doctoral dissertation discusses attitudes toward alcohol screening and counselling in social work. Her current research topics in this area involve the construction of alcohol-related problems. Disseminating social psychology research is close to Elina’s heart. She has collaborated with various stakeholders to disseminate a considerable amount of evidence-based intervention materials and manuals. Further, she coordinated the Behaviour Change Science and Policy project that aimed to encourage interdisciplinary discussion on questions related to influencing behaviour when designing public policy. 


Kaisa Saurio

Pro­ject Plan­ner, Tampere University


Kaisa currently works in the Citizen Shield – project, that aims to tackle pandemics with technological, behavioural and societal solutions. She has previously worked as a clinical psychologist, mostly in the field of pediatric neuropsychology. Kaisa is interested in everything related to metascience and open science.


Related projects

Citizen Shield

Tech­no­lo­gical, be­ha­vi­oural and so­ci­etal solu­tions for pro­tect­ive ac­tions to tackle pan­dem­ics

2020-23, Academy of Finland
This project will explore technological, behavioural and societal solutions to tackling pandemics.


Im­prov­ing mo­tiv­at­ing styles: To­ward a com­plex dy­nam­ical sys­tems approach

2020-23, Ministry of Education and Culture
This project investigates how to enhance professionals’ training to improve their interaction styles.