12 - 1 p.m. ET
May 19: Gregg Sparkman, Princeton University
Progress on the "Wicked" Problem: Overcoming Behavioral and Decision Making Hurdles to Address Climate Change and Decarbonize Society
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Gregg Sparkman is a postdoctoral research associate in the Andlinger Center at Princeton University. His research is focused on understanding social change, including the causes and consequences of norms shifting over time. He completed his PhD at Stanford University in social psychology, where he investigated how people are influenced by witnessing social change and how this can be incorporated into interventions in social, environmental, and political domains. Collaborating with non-profit, public, and private organizations, he uses national surveys and field studies to develop and assess social psychological interventions to meet social and environmental goals.
ABOUT THE TALK
Climate change has been aptly described as a "Wicked" problem from a behavioral science standpoint as it thwarts key heuristics in our decision making and demands substantial change. One prominent challenge we examine here is how to motivate people to adopt novel sustainable behaviors, technologies and policy attitudes that go against current norms. We will discuss a novel approach to this problem: shifting people's attention away from current norms and onto changes in norms over time ("dynamic norm information") can motivate people to abandon current norms and adopt more sustainable alternatives. We also investigate a second major challenge: how do we ensure people consistently act across important climate domains, including both behavior and policy support? Past research warns that sustainable behavior may "negatively spillover" and lead people to reduce support for important decarbonization policies. In this talk, we will discuss under what (limited) circumstances this occurs, and how achieve "positive spillover" instead so that sustainable actions actually increase decarbonization policy support.