“There are no environmental problems”
Scott, Amel, Koger & Manning, 2016
Today’s most pressing environmental problems are ultimately the products of human decision-making and behavior. Changing behavior is therefore an essential element in creating a sustainable future for humankind. We conduct applied research that aims to advance psychological theory while producing insights to address society’s challenge of sustainability. Our approach draws heavily upon psychology and integrates methodologies and perspectives from several other disciplines, including engineering, computer science, and public policy. At a basic level, the primary aims of our research are the following:
1. Understand and model the psychological, social, and contextual factors that influence decision-making and behavior pertaining to environmental resource consumption
2. Develop and evaluate interventions to encourage pro-environmental behavior change
3. Elucidate the cognitive, emotional, and social mechanisms that underlie behavior change
Our work is situated in several theoretical frameworks, including cognitive attribution and cognitive biases, identity and self-perception, and behavioral spillover. Our work relies heavily on quantitative methods (e.g., experimental, survey), and often involves collection of high-resolution consumption (e.g., smart electric meter) and other consumer data.
Current applied areas of interest include the following:
- Residential energy use and demand side response
- Adoption and use of alternative transportation systems and low-emission vehicles
- Adoption and use of sustainable innovations for households (e.g., solar panels, home energy management technologies)
- Consumption patterns and behavioral spillover in the food-energy-water nexus
For more information on what we are currently working on, go to our Projects page.