Research Topic

The Cognitive Psychology of Climate Change

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About this Research Topic

Climate change is one of society’s great challenges. The scientific community agrees that human activity is to a large degree responsible for these changes and efforts to promote more sustainable behaviors and lifestyles often backfire. People travel for longer distances when driving a vehicle that uses a ...

Climate change is one of society’s great challenges. The scientific community agrees that human activity is to a large degree responsible for these changes and efforts to promote more sustainable behaviors and lifestyles often backfire. People travel for longer distances when driving a vehicle that uses a ‘sustainable’ energy source; they purchase ‘organic’ food as a means to be environmentally friendly without necessarily reducing other means of consumption; and those who deliberately change their behavior to be more environmentally friendly in one area often start behaving environmentally irresponsibly in another. Environmentally harmful behavior and decision making often have their roots in cognitive biases and cognitive inabilities to properly understand climate change issues, to understand the effects of one's own behavior on the environment, and other means by which thinking and reasoning about climate change issues are biased.

This Research Topic addresses the cognitive challenges of climate change: how people perceive, understand and solve environmental problems. It covers studies on individual and collective judgment and decision making, heuristics and biases, reasoning and thinking, perception and problem solving in relation to climate change and sustainability-related problems. It also covers, but is not limited to, the cognitive psychology of the CO2 accumulation problem, biases in judgments of environmental impact of objects and actions, confirmation biases in thinking and reasoning about climate change issues, and ways in which people's thinking about and understanding of climate change problems can be improved.


Keywords: Perception, Judgement, Cognition, Climate Change, Environment


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