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Ises 2013   day 3 - janet swim (professor of psychology, penn state) - the psychology of climate change
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Ises 2013 day 3 - janet swim (professor of psychology, penn state) - the psychology of climate change

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Can We Change Our Minds To Think More Sustainably? …

Can We Change Our Minds To Think More Sustainably?

Climate change challenges our world in many ways, yet we have barely started to address this problem. Why are we not doing more about this? Climate change is a psychological challenge, psychological barriers limit individual and collective action on climate change. Can we be nudged into acting differently?

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  • 1. Teaching the Choir to Sing: Encouraging discourse about climate change Janet Swim Pennsylvania State University Done in collaboration with John Fraser New Knowledge Network Funded through NSF CCEP II John Anderson and William Spitzer PIs
  • 2. Richard Alley: Even Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State It’s RealIt’s Real It’s Real It’s Real!
  • 3. Conversations are Important
  • 4. Why isn’t the public talking about it? • Literal denial? – No, most believe in climate change and have for over a decade • Denial of human responsibility? – No, most perceive humans or humans and nature cause climate change • Denial of importance? – No, most are at least cautious, if not concerned or alarmed
  • 5. Climate change is not perceived as the most important problem. 1/2
  • 6. Psychological explanations l Uncertainty and unsophisticated knowledge about climate change l Status quo bias l Lack of perceived self and personal self-efficacy l Avoidance of disturbing emotions
  • 7. Social factors
  • 8. Conversational Norms Few social spaces where climate change is considered relevant or appropriate
  • 9. Spiral of silence: Underestimate public concern 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Own belief Meta-perceptions Swim, Fraser, & Rank (2013)
  • 10. Our Research on Spiral of silence Public unconcerned Hope about ability to discuss Willingness to talk (Geiger & Swim, 2013) Told High vs. low concern among others Concerned Appear incompetent Willingness to talk
  • 11. Breaking silence at Informal Science learning centers
  • 12. ISLs Ideal location to talk about climate change
  • 13. Yet educators are not fully talking Never Occasionally Somewhat often Very Often Always 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Percent frequency of saying all wanted to say about climate change Swim & Fraser, 2013
  • 14. Professional norms Two possible pictures
  • 15. Self-presentation concerns Looking stupid Afraid of hostility Afraid of disinterest
  • 16. Teaching Choir to Sing
  • 17. • Teach interpreters how to frame messages resulting in – Increase knowledge of strategic framing – Increase communications skills – Increase Hope (agency and a plan) • Provide continual support – Build a community of practice • Increase climate literacy among – Interpreters – Those connected to Interpreters – Aquarium Visitors Climate Change Communication Goals
  • 18. Study circles building to a community of Practice Work Dyad 1 Work Dyad 2 Work Dyad 3 Work Dyad 4 Bi-Annual training of interpreters
  • 19. • Focus on shared values & strengths at local level q Responsible management, Innovation, Future legacy • Use organizing principles q Interdependence of life • Metaphors that communicate core physical processes Strategic framework: Training by frameworksinstitute.org
  • 20. Larger Choir Russian Choir of 4,335 in Saint Petersburg
  • 21. Visitors/ Guests Community of Practice Work Dyad 1 Work Dyad 2 Work Dyad 3 Work Dyad 4 Social Radiation
  • 22. Trainees Visitors/ Guests Community of Practice Work Dyad 1 Work Dyad 2 Work Dyad 3 Work Dyad 4 Social Radiation
  • 23. Friends Conservation Colleagues Trainees Visitors/ Guests Community of Practice Work Dyad 1 Work Dyad 2 Work Dyad 3 Work Dyad 4 Social Radiation
  • 24. Friends Conservation Colleagues Trainees Visitors/ Guests Community of Practice Community at Large Work Dyad 1 Work Dyad 2 Work Dyad 3 Work Dyad 4 Social Radiation
  • 25. Phase 1: Effects of training Certain Knowledge Personal hope 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 Peer means Recalled pre-training emotions Post training emotions
  • 26. Friends Peers 1 11 21 31 41 51 61 71 81 91 Correlations Certainty knowledge r = .001 r = .52** Post-training Hope r = .16 r = .62** t(28) = 3.96, p < .001 Post-training discussions

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