Lecture series - SDG 2030
The Division of Psychology arranges a climate psychology lecture series with international researchers during the spring 2022.
Every first Wednesday between 13.15-14.45 on Zoom.
Environmental Psychology: Research Priorities and Teaching Resources
Dr Cameron Brick, Assistant Professor of Social Psychology,
University of Amsterdam
A surprising range of psychologists are engaging with the climate crisis, whether doing primary research or reducing the environmental impact of departments and conferences. My group studies the motivations and social processes that predict behaviors that affect the environment spanning from political engagement to reducing meat consumption to flying. I will talk about public opinion on climate change including in Sweden, social tipping points, and how to measure and think about pro-environmental behavior. Most previous studies assumed that pro-environmental behavior is a coherent latent variable, but our work suggests these diverse behaviors have different causes. I will share new laboratory tasks with repeated, consequential environmental dilemmas that have recently advanced the field. I also will discuss three ways to address bias in self-reported behaviors, and share a resource of free, open psychological datasets. Finally, I will discuss how sustainability is taught within social psychology at my university in both the BA and MSc, and share additional resources and communities for further curriculum development.
Anne van Valkengoed, PhD candidate, Environmental Psychology Group, University of Groningen
The climate on Earth is changing, which has large scale consequences for the way in which we live our lives and organize our societies. For example, we all know that we have to act more pro-environmentally: driving less, eating less meat, and consuming less electricity. But we also need to start adjusting to the consequences of climate change, for example by preparing our homes for the impacts of heatwaves and storms. Transitioning to a sustainable society is also a social affair: for example, how do we determine who in society is responsible for doing what?
Our responses to climate change are determined not only by the economy or technological developments, but also by psychological factors. Understanding how and why people respond to climate change (or not) is a critical hurdle in the transition to a sustainable and resilient society. In this talk, I will give an introduction to the field that aims to answer such questions: environmental psychology. I will give an overview of the types of research that environmental psychologists conduct, highlight key discussions in the field that are ongoing, and demonstrate the real-world impact of our findings. Lastly, I will show how environmental psychology can benefit from more collaborations with health- and clinical psychologists.
Dr Kristian Nielsen, University of Cambridge, Department of Psychology, Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab
Addressing climate change requires unprecedented societal transformations within a short time frame. Psychology has an important role to play in informing this transformation. The typical psychological approach to date has, however, been to demonstrate that specific concepts and theories can predict behaviors that contribute to or mitigate climate change. Psychologists need to go further and show that integrating psychological concepts into feasible interventions can reduce greenhouse gas emissions far more than would be achieved without such integration. In this talk, I will offer recommendations for how to strengthen psychology’s contribution to mitigating climate change and increase its relevance for policymakers and high-level interdisciplinary research collaborations. Moreover, I will propose a new impact-focused research agenda that might help realize psychology’s untapped potential.