The Psychology of Environmental Decisions

Posted: 25 Oct 2014

See all articles by Ben Newell

Ben Newell

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Rachel McDonald

The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law

Marilynn B. Brewer

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Psychology

Brett Hayes

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Psychology

Date Written: October 2014

Abstract

Humanity faces an unprecedented set of global environmental problems. We argue that to promote pro-environmental decisions and to achieve public consensus on the need for action we must address individual and collective understanding (cognition) of environmental problems, as well as individual and collective commitments to take action to mitigate or prevent those problems. We review literature pertaining to psychological predispositions, mental models, framing, psychological distance, and the social context of decisions that help elucidate how these goals of cognition and commitment can be achieved. This article reveals the complex and multiply determined nature of environmental decisions. However, we argue that this complexity points to opportunities to reduce the inherent uncertainty surrounding global environmental challenges via appeals to the psychological mechanisms that underpin our decisions.

Suggested Citation

Newell, Ben and McDonald, Rachel and Brewer, Marilynn B. and Hayes, Brett, The Psychology of Environmental Decisions (October 2014). Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Vol. 39, pp. 443-467, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2514293 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-010713-094623

Ben Newell (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Rachel McDonald

The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law ( email )

The University of Queensland
St Lucia
4072 Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Marilynn B. Brewer

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Psychology

1885 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Brett Hayes

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Psychology

Sydney
Australia

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
743
PlumX Metrics