top of page
PREDICTORS OF CLIMATE ACTION
Climate change is one of the biggest threats to our existence. To address this threat, we need individual and collective action. My research examines what individual differences and social influences motivate individuals to engage in pro-climate action. In this work I am interested in predictors of pro-environmental behaviors, individual and collective climate action, climate policy support, and proenvironmental attitudes and beliefs more broadly. I employ correlational, longitudinal, and experimental designs to examine these issues. In my work I also incorporate large and publicly available datasets to get a wholistic picture of the different antecedents of climate action across different geographical and cultural settings.
Climate change is plagued by intergenerational discounting. Even though we face some of its consequences today, the direst consequences will be faced by future others. Thus, a lot of people discount the importance of this issue. My work has thus sought to examine how intergenerational cognition could play a key role in influencing peoples proenvironmental attitudes, beliefs, behaviors. One major line of research examines reciprocity between generations. In this intergenerational chain each generations influences the next. Thus, the actions of past generations influence us today. My research examines how trait conceptions of gratitude and reciprocity, norms around reciprocity, and our perceptions of past generations influence our proenvironmental attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.
Inspired by extensive theoretical argumentation by Wade-Benzoni and colleagues (e.g., Wade-Benzoni & Tost, 2009) and by experimental work by Zaval and colleagues (e.g., Zaval et al., 2015) I have been fascinated by the concept of personal legacy, namely the motivation to enact beneficence on others because of an inherent need to build an identity that stands the span of time. Thus in another major line of my work I examine the antecedents of peoples motivation to leave a lasting legacy, as well as the predictors of our perceived responsibility towards future generations. In this work I collaborate with field partners such as DearTomorrow and the See Change Institute to create interventions that seek to both engage individuals in climate action and sustainable behaviors, but also help them constructively cope with climate anxiety.
In a separate but related line of research, I examine what makes us care about animals and nature. As social beings, we have a (theoretically) limited amount of moral worth that we can attribute to different entities in the world. Why do we choose to prioritize saving humans over animals or other natural entities? What are the consequences of this decision? Could caring about animals also influence how we view others or even ourselves? To answer this question I have conducted work examining moral expansiveness, people's belief in the theory of human evolution of animals and how it relates to prejudice, as well as investigations on the consequences of perceived human-animal similarity.
GROUP IDENTITY & INTERGROUP CONFLICT
Understanding that conflict arises in all domains of society, I seek to apply social psychological principles to the study of intergroup conflict. In this domain I examine how individual differences and social influences predict support for conflict resolution. Intervention work I have conducted in this domain has examined how engaging with art and consuming information that highlights intergroup similarities can help reduce intergroup animosity. My research on this topic has focused on various conflict settings within and outside of the U.S. Of particular interest to me, is the role of national identification in shaping attitudes towards other social groups and intergroup conflict more broadly.
bottom of page