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The Dragons of Inaction : Psychological Barriers That Limit Climate Change Mitigation PSYC 515 Tim Enad Dominique Eyl Natalie Hejran Julie Hernandez Gifford,

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Presentation on theme: "The Dragons of Inaction : Psychological Barriers That Limit Climate Change Mitigation PSYC 515 Tim Enad Dominique Eyl Natalie Hejran Julie Hernandez Gifford,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Dragons of Inaction : Psychological Barriers That Limit Climate Change Mitigation PSYC 515 Tim Enad Dominique Eyl Natalie Hejran Julie Hernandez Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a /a

2 Introduction 29 psychological barriers – “dragons of inaction” Broken into 7 categories: ◦ Limited cognition ◦ Ideologies ◦ Comparisons with others ◦ Sunk costs ◦ Discredence ◦ Perceived risks ◦ Limited behaviour Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

3 Limited Cognition Ancient brain ◦ We remain concerned with present time, dangers, and resources Environmental numbness ◦ With too much stimuli about the environment, we become numb to its message Judgmental discounting ◦ The act of undervaluing future risk ◦ Conditions are perceived as worse in places other than ones own habitat Optimism bias ◦ Perception the environment will worsen in the future and in areas outside where one lives Perceived behavioural control ◦ A lack of action due to a perceived lack of worthwhile effect Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

4 Ideologies Suprahuman powers ◦ A deity or nature itself will solve our climate problems Technosalvation ◦ Technology will solve our climate problems System justification ◦ The tendency to defend the status quo Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

5 Comparisons with Others Social comparison ◦ We derive norms about what is right based on the actions of others Social norms Perceived inequity ◦ The fear you will be taken advantage of by those who do not take action if you choose to Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

6 Sunk Costs Financial investments ◦ After making a financial investment, it’s hard to turn your back on it Behavioural momentum ◦ Some behaviours are so habituated they are resistant to change ◦ These behaviours require a substantial push to change Conflicting values, goals, or aspirations ◦ The desire to get ahead often outranks the desire to change behaviours to mitigate climate change Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

7 Discredence Perceived program inadequacy ◦ Many programs are voluntary so many citizens think it’s not worth their time Reactance ◦ Change threatens freedom Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

8 Perceived Risks and Limited Behaviour Functional Financial Social Temporal Tokenism ◦ Some pro-environmental actions do not do as much for the environment but are easier for people to adopt Rebound effect ◦ Pro-environmental action is taken but results in anti-environmental behaviour Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

9 Bill Nye and Rep. Blackburn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR4 GrHPDcWE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR4 GrHPDcWE Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

10 Critical Review Informative Points Judgmental discounting in Britain: inhabitants think environmental conditions in similar cities are worse Many of Gifford’s points overlapped: several dragons are perhaps one idea When people are uncertain of the amount left in a resource pool, they tend to use that resource at a rate of self-interest rather than what is best for the environment Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

11 Critical Review Weak Arguments Lack of evidence for the idea of (lack of) place attachments: people are more likely to care for a place they feel attached to. Lack of evidence for discredence: when individuals hold the views of others in a negative light, they are unlikely to take direction from those others No hard evidence that any of the six perceived risks Gifford mentioned actually lead to engagement in environmentally friendly behaviors Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a

12 Questions Do you think the debate mentioned any dragon of inaction? Was there a proposed solution? Some of these psychological barriers are similar; should they be approached together or separately? Based on the psychological barriers presented, which group do you think would be most effective in bringing about change? Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), doi: /a


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