Social psychological responses to climate change: The role of second-order beliefs and other (mis)perceptions

We live in times of significant environmental, cultural, and political uncertainty. Many of society’s current challenges, most notably climate change, have been dubbed ‘wicked problems’ due to their resistance to easy resolution. Social psychology and related disciplines can contribute to understanding such problems more fully, with a longer-term view to contributing to their resolution via informing policy development. I will present findings from my research over the years to show how social normative (mis)perception and motivated cognition processes inhibit, and (less often) propel, effective responses to environmental change.

Zoe is a Research Fellow in the Research School of Psychology. Her research applies social and environmental psychology to investigate how individuals, groups, and culture shape responses to social and environmental challenges, particularly climate change. Prior to joining ANU in 2020, Zoe was a post-doctoral research fellow at Edith Cowan University, and before that, a Research Scientist at the CSIRO in Perth.