Dr Nicky Nicholls has been a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Pretoria (UP) since 2017. She studied Psychology (MA) at Stellenbosch University, and Economics at the University of the Witwatersrand (MCom) and UP (PhD).
Dr Nicholls enjoys collaborating with and learning from colleagues in the Department of Economics. “The department gives me the freedom to focus on investigating research questions that are both interesting and important,” she says.
She uses surveys and economic experiments to better understand how people make decisions in different contexts. Her research has considered, among other topics, race and gender bias; trust in social media; belief updating; and factors influencing the willingness to give.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Nicholls has been involved in various research projects that investigated predictors of people’s willingness to adopt behaviours that reduce the spread of COVID-19, students’ adjustment to online learning and people’s willingness to contribute to public funds.
Her advice to school learners or undergraduates who are interested in her field is to read as much as they can. “The more you understand what other people are contributing to this field, the more you will be able to see where you can make a difference.”