PhD Position in Social Psychology
10.11.2020, by Tina Keil
University of Exeter, UK
Application deadline: January 8th, 2021
Climate change, a major threat to our natural environment, is largely human-made. Why do so many people act in a way that increases climate change, e.g. by buying climate-unfriendly products or not supporting policy changes? How can we improve that? Climate change is characterised by two aspects that might make behaviour change challenging. Firstly, the people who suffer most from climate change are distant to those who need to change their behaviour (for example, people in the Global South are more strongly affected than Europeans). Secondly, public communication about climate change impacts talks about risk – and the uncertainty associated with that gives people an excuse not to change their behaviour.
Project Aims and Methods
The goals of this project are to investigate I) how distance and risk affect human choices relating to climate change and, based on that, II) how modelling and other outputs that estimate risks of climate change impacts can be communicated more effectively to the public. Methodologically, we will combine climate science with psychology by using the latest UK climate change risk modelling provided by our collaborative partner, the Met Office, and feed this into psychological testing of interventions to promote behaviour change. We are particularly interested in students who want to play an active role in designing the research. It is possible to collect data online, so the project can proceed in the case of pandemic lockdowns.
We will mainly use experimental psychological methodology (surveys, behavioural experiments). Applicants should have a degree in psychology or a closely related empirical discipline and ideally have some experience of data collection and analysis. Please contact the lead supervisor for more information. Collaborative partner: Met Office (Prof Peter Stott).
For further details and application please visit: