Experiences, Choices, Behaviors: Cultivating Watershed Stewards
For millennia, human thinking was perceived as being highly rational and based mostly on conscious processes. However, as it turns out, human cognition is strongly influenced by unconscious processes (e.g., conditioning, context effects, processing mechanisms) and rules of thumb (e.g., confirmation bias, the availability heuristic, framing, the belief perseverance phenomenon) that allow us to respond efficiently in real time. Communication concerning environmental issues may be more effective when one takes these thinking mechanisms into account.
Questions to discuss: How might environmental educators take these cognitive processes you described into account?
How can psychologists contribute to improving environmental conditions?
What do you think the focus of environmental educators should be?
Submitted by: Heidi Harley, Professor of Psychology and Director of Environmental Studies, New College of Florida