Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Can Social Psychology Explain and Predict How People Respond to Climate Change?"

Cameron Brick
PhD Candidate
Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, UCSB

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

"Cameron will cover research and theories from social psychology that are relevant to the gap between climate change evidence and action. His seminars provide thought-provoking insights from an area of study that has enormous untapped potential for guiding environmental policy and stakeholder negotiations on climate change." — Cameron Gray, Bren School student host

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations are rising and, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), "very likely" responsible for the increase in global temperature over the past fifty years. Projections from the IPCC of likely future temperature rises include mass extinctions and massive public health disasters. However, public belief, interest, and engagement with climate change lag far behind the science. How do we bridge the gap? Social psychological theories can inform and predict climate change attitudes and behaviors. I frame climate change as a collective-action emergency and present social psychological research that identifies cognitive and social factors determining when people will respond. I will present work on how threats are perceived, as seen within a theory of emergency response by Darley and Latané. I will close with a demonstration from game theory and hopefully open up a discussion with the audience of what practical steps we can take to encourage public action on climate change.

Cameron Brick earned his BA in Psychology at Reed College and worked as a researcher in laboratories at Reed and at Oregon Health & Science University. He then earned an MA and is currently a doctoral candidate in Social Psychology, working with Professor David Sherman in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, UCSB. He holds a fellowship from the National Science Foundation and is the recipient of other grants and honors. He has published several articles and given presented research at national conferences and in South Korea. He teaches undergraduate courses here at UCSB.


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