Elissa will discuss models of research for climate change mitigation.  A “strategic research” (use-inspired) model starts by working with stakeholders from the outset, and helps us identify goals to impact structural change.  The Science of Behavior Change initiative at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides a roadmap for high impact methods that also fit NIH priorities for funding.  By starting with an idea about mechanisms of behavioral or social change, we can conduct small scale experiments to change the presumed mechanisms. We can also use quasi-experimental designs, building on natural experiments, while still measuring mechanisms of change. Effective interventions to improve climate related behavior can be informed by the synergy of both psychological principles and contemplative wisdom. Principles that can be applied to climate-related change include promoting high concern—moderate threat matched with high self and collective efficacy to trigger collective action, increasing nature connectedness and altruism (vs. materialism)—and promoting salient social norms for sustainability behaviors and schemas toward viewing the climate crisis as a moral issue. The integration of science, spirituality, and social ethics may create greater likelihood for the transformational change that is needed.  We will discuss some of the research questions, models, and mechanisms that the participants in the Summer Research Institute are exploring.

Elissa Epel, PhD

University of California, San Francisco

Convening Faculty, Fellow, PPC Member

Elissa Epel, Ph.D, is a Professor, and Vice Chair, in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at University of California, San Francisco. She studies psychological, social, and behavioral pathways … MORE