How do we feel about climate change? How can we cope with the barrage of information on this emotive subject? We need to understand human behaviour so we can determine the most effective ways of fighting climate change.
Join psychologist Jordan Harold, social scientist Irene Lorenzoni and cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowsky to explore the psychology of climate change.
Friday 17 February
Please note Caroline Hickman will no longer be part of the panel due to illness, but we are delighted to have Jordan Harold.
Stephan Lewandowsky is a cognitive scientist with an interest in how people can update their memories if information they believe to be true later turns out to be false. This has led him to examine the persistence of misinformation and the spread of “fake news” in society, including conspiracy theories. Stephan has become particularly interested in the variables that determine whether people accept scientific evidence, for example surrounding vaccinations or climate science. His research speaks to important contemporary events, and he contributes to public debate through opinion pieces in the media and public engagement.
Irene Lorenzoni is an environmental social scientist with an interest in how we -as human beings- perceive and understand environmental shifts, what we do about it and why. Focussing on climate change specifically, she researches people’s views and feelings and what spurs action on climate change and explores how this relates to visions of desired futures, and the role of different groups in society in enacting that change. Her current research includes societal transformations and low carbon futures, governance of deep decarbonisation, communication and accessibility of climate data in visual form (including work in collaboration with the IPCC), coastal adaptation and resilience. Irene serves on the editorial board of the academic journal Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) Climate Change and is also member of the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Research Group at UEA and of the Tyndall Centre.
Jordan’s research helps to improve the communication of scientific knowledge, so people can make well-informed, evidence-based decisions about climate change.
He investigates how individuals interpret scientific data and evidence, so scientific information can be more effectively communicated to support societal decision-making.
“I’ve a long-held interest in the social contexts in which scientific research is conducted and applied.
It’s no good advancing scientific knowledge if that knowledge is not communicated and applied for societal good. To borrow a quote from Sir Mark Walport, ‘Science is not finished until it’s communicated’.
By better understanding how people interpret and assimilate scientific knowledge, my work strives to develop approaches that enhance science communications and support evidence-based decision-making - whether it’s individuals making sustainable lifestyle choices or policymakers making decisions on climate change mitigation or adaptation.
It requires a huge scientific and social endeavour to address the challenges posed by climate change.
It’s imperative that climate research and climate solutions draw on expertise from across society, including academia, policymakers, industry and the public. We need to shape the creation of knowledge that fully reflects the rich and diverse social contexts in which climate challenges are situated.
Advancing science communication is a small but critical part of this endeavour. This can only be achieved effectively through interdisciplinary working.”