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Communication and Mental Processes: Experimental and Analytic Processing of Uncertain Climate Information

Global Environmental Change, Vol. 17, pp. 47-58, 2007

12 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2008  

Sabine M. Marx

Columbia University - Technological Change Lab

Elke U. Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology

Benjamin S. Orlove

University of California, Davis

Anthony A. Leiserowitz

Decision Research

David Krantz

Columbia University

Carla Roncoli

Independent

Jennifer Phillips

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

People process uncertainty information in two qualitatively different systems. Most climate forecast communications assume people process information analytically. Yet people also rely heavily on an experiential processing system. Better understanding of experiential processing may lead to more comprehensible risk communication products. Retranslation of statistical information into concrete (vicarious) experience facilitates intuitive understanding of probabilistic information and motivates contingency planning. Sharing vicarious experience in group discussions or simulations of forecasts, decisions, and outcomes provides a richer and more representative sample of relevant experience. The emotional impact of the concretization of abstract risks motivates action in ways not provided by an analytic understanding.

Keywords: Risk communication, Environmental decisions, Group decision making, Mental processing, Affective decision making, Climate information

Suggested Citation

Marx, Sabine M. and Weber, Elke U. and Orlove, Benjamin S. and Leiserowitz, Anthony A. and Krantz, David and Roncoli, Carla and Phillips, Jennifer, Communication and Mental Processes: Experimental and Analytic Processing of Uncertain Climate Information (2007). Global Environmental Change, Vol. 17, pp. 47-58, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1304735

Sabine Marx (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Technological Change Lab ( email )

406 Schermerhorn Hall, MC 5501
1190 Amsterdam Ave
New York,, NY 10027
United States

Elke Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Benjamin Orlove

University of California, Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Anthony A. Leiserowitz

Decision Research ( email )

1201 Oak Street, Suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
United States
(541) 485-2400 (Phone)
(541) 485-2403 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~ecotone/

David Krantz

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Carla Roncoli

Independent ( email )

Jennifer Phillips

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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