We humans are creatures of bounded rationality and finite processing capacity, and it is understandable that we focus attention first on the here and now. And yet, many individual and social issues (from sufficient pension savings, to healthy eating, to sustainable economic growth) require increased attention to the future costs and benefits of possible courses of action.
Climate change is the most recent and arguably the most urgent and difficult challenge for individual and collective decision making. To make wise decisions we need to fully and justly weigh the immediate and certain costs and benefits of action (be it business-as-usual or greenhouse gas mitigation efforts) against their delayed, risky, and often disputed costs and benefits. Psychological theories from prospect theory to hyperbolic discounting and query theory predict that the future costs of business-as-usual and the future benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation efforts will get short shrift. How to deal with global public health crises like Covid-19 is another example of the difficulty of reaching wise tradeoffs between short- and long-term consequences.
Elke will present some ways that have been shown to focus greater attention on future consequences and thus provide entry points for achieving a better balance between short-term and long-term goals and objectives.
Elke Weber, PhD
Elke Weber is the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment and Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and founder and director of the Behavioral … MORE