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Friday, October 23, 2015


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Join Us for the Second Seminar in the
Fall 2015 Baruch Climate Change Series

The Goldilocks Principle of Support for Climate Change Action:

Framing Climate Change at a Distance That’s Just Right

October 29, 2:30-3:45pm, NVC14-285



From: the members of the Baruch Faculty Research Seminar on Climate Change 

Professors Deborah Balk, Mindy Engle-Friedman, Christopher Hallowell, Samantha MacBride, Kannan Mohan, Cynthia Thompson, Steven Young, and Chester Zarnoch, and Matthew LePere, Center for Corporate Integrity

About the Program
Climate change may be perceived as temporally, socially, spatially and hypothetically distant from the self. Some research on personal experience of climate change-related events suggests that psychological proximity may increase support for climate action, however existing research has not examined how perceptions that climate change is far away in space, time, certainty and social distance might interact with each other to influence environmental decisions. I will discuss research in which we have examined the effects of manipulating the perceived psychological distance of climate change impacts in terms of their spatial, social, temporal and hypothetical distance on people’s willingness to engage in or support climate change action. Our findings suggest that to encourage action on climate change, impacts should be framed at a distance that’s just right: psychologically near enough to be considered personally relevant, but no so near that they are seen as threatening or insurmountable, nor so far that they seem irrelevant. I will also discuss other potential considerations for the efficacy of communication strategies that seek to manipulate the perceived psychological distance of climate change impacts.

About the Speaker
Rachel McDonald is an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Kansas. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Queensland, Australia in 2013. Before joining KU she worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, in collaboration with the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the UNSW Centre for Excellence in Climate System Science.


Her research is broadly concerned with how social factors influence decisions with environmental consequences. She examines the factors that predict willingness to engage in individual pro-environmental behaviors, pay for pro-environmental products, take political action in support of environmental issues, and support sustainable policies. Her research explores diverse topics such as social influence and the effects of influence from multiple groups, moral-framing, ingroup responsibility for collective environmental dilemmas, and how to optimally frame the psychological distance of climate change to encourage concern and action. 


To register, please e-mail or call Matthew LePere: