Event Title

Imagining Apocalypse: Prospection Increases Systems Thinking

Presenter Information

James Cato, Oberlin College

Location

Virtual presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2020 8:00 AM

End Date

5-2-2020 5:00 PM

Abstract

Addressing climate change requires an ability to think systemically and holistically about the future, as the challenge is far-reaching and compounding. However, it is not known what kind of future thinking is most useful, or how it may relate to systems thinking and pro-environmental behavior. In this study, participants were asked to engage in prospection by writing about either a positive (hopeful) or negative (apocalyptic) future relating to climate change, or assigned to a control condition to write about present day. Afterwards, all participants completed measures of systems thinking, support for climate change legislation, and a task with real environmental consequences. Both prospective conditions saw an increase in systems thinking and support for climate change legislation. However, those in the negative prospective condition decreased their pro-environmental behavior. This relationship was marginally mediated by heightened anxiety from the future-thinking frame. These data indicate that climate messaging emphasizing apocalyptic outcomes may actually reduce some pro-environmental behaviors, despite increasing systems thinking.

Keywords:

Systems thinking, Environmental psychology, Prospective thinking, Apocalypse, Utopia

Notes

Click here to view this poster at the Office of Undergraduate Research website from April 27-May 2, 2020.

Major

Environmental Studies; Psychology

Project Mentor(s)

Cindy Frantz, Environmental Studies

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 27th, 8:00 AM May 2nd, 5:00 PM

Imagining Apocalypse: Prospection Increases Systems Thinking

Virtual presentation

Addressing climate change requires an ability to think systemically and holistically about the future, as the challenge is far-reaching and compounding. However, it is not known what kind of future thinking is most useful, or how it may relate to systems thinking and pro-environmental behavior. In this study, participants were asked to engage in prospection by writing about either a positive (hopeful) or negative (apocalyptic) future relating to climate change, or assigned to a control condition to write about present day. Afterwards, all participants completed measures of systems thinking, support for climate change legislation, and a task with real environmental consequences. Both prospective conditions saw an increase in systems thinking and support for climate change legislation. However, those in the negative prospective condition decreased their pro-environmental behavior. This relationship was marginally mediated by heightened anxiety from the future-thinking frame. These data indicate that climate messaging emphasizing apocalyptic outcomes may actually reduce some pro-environmental behaviors, despite increasing systems thinking.