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Lehrveranstaltungen

The Psychology of Environmental Judgments and Decisions (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Astrid Kause

Termin:
wöchentlich | Mittwoch | 18:15 - 19:45 | 17.10.2022 - 03.02.2023 | C 11.319
Einzeltermin | Fr, 09.12.2022, 14:15 - Fr, 09.12.2022, 15:45 | C 11.319
Einzeltermin | Do, 15.12.2022, 14:15 - Do, 15.12.2022, 15:45 | C 40.165

Inhalt: Why can sustainable behavior be difficult for people, even though they are highly motivated to reduce their impact, and easy for others who may care less? For effectively addressing challenges related to sustainability, we need to understand how individual judgments and behaviors relate to a wider societal and political context. In this course, we will look at psychological theories and empirical findings about two major themes: 1) how people perceive risks (and other challenges) related to sustainability and the environment, including communications about those, and 2) people's environmental behaviors, their determinants and how to predict them. This will include an introduction into and several examples about how decision scientists empirically study these topics, as well as how their findings help scientists, policy makers and the general public to communicate about and make more competent decisions regarding sustainability. We will draw on core literature from the field of decision sciences. Following an introduction into the field of (environmental) judgments and behaviors, (teams of) students will present relevant theories and empirical findings. They will apply them for understanding current and often highly debated sustainability challenges, such as for example the massive and ongoing use of fossil-fuel based energy systems, carbon emissions caused by animal-based proteins; the opposition to technologies such as onshore wind farms, or carbon capture and storage. We will also discuss practical applications of decision sciences research in public policy. This will include examples for empirically evaluated guidelines about science communication, as well as how interdisciplinary teams of social scientists currently help governments understanding individual judgments and behaviors, aiming to improve the design of their political interventions through empirical research. These are for example the “Behavioral Insight Unit” from the UK, or the unit “Besser Entscheiden” installed by the chancellors’ office of the German government. Drawing on knowledge acquired during the seminar, we will compare their different approaches and then discuss when, how and by whom it is (in)appropriate to steer individual behavior into a specific direction. This seminar requires individual course work by reading several empirical research articles and discussing them with others. Sessions will involve a high percentage of collaborative work in groups as well as student-led discussions and presentations. The term paper will focus on an empirical intervention for shaping environmental communications or behaviors. The seminar will be in a hybrid format, to allow for collaborative work between students from Leuphana and the University of Arizona, so participants should be prepared to use technologies such as Zoom during sessions.