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

Global Environmental Change 17(1):47-58, 2007

Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 13-19

12 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2013 Last revised: 1 May 2013

See all articles by Sabine M. Marx

Sabine M. Marx

Columbia University - Technological Change Lab

Elke U. Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology

Ben Orlove

School of International and Public Affairs Columbia University MC 3323

Anthony A. Leiserowitz

Decision Research

David Krantz

Columbia University

Carla Roncoli

Emory University

Jennifer Phillips

Independent

Date Written: October 30, 2006

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, Uncertainty, Probability

Suggested Citation

Marx, Sabine M. and Weber, Elke U. and Orlove, Ben and Leiserowitz, Anthony A. and Krantz, David and Roncoli, Carla and Phillips, Jennifer, Communication and Mental Processes: Experiential and Analytic Processing of Uncertain Climate Information (October 30, 2006). Global Environmental Change 17(1):47-58, 2007; Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 13-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2240331

Sabine M. Marx

Columbia University - Technological Change Lab ( email )

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

Elke U. Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Ben Orlove (Contact Author)

School of International and Public Affairs Columbia University MC 3323 ( email )

420 West 118th Street, room 833
New York, NY 10027
United States
+1 (212) 854 1543 (Phone)

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

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Jennifer Phillips

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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