Human reactions to climate change: A social psychological perspective

Rusi Jaspal, Brigitte Nerlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Climate change is a significant global challenge but also a controversial topic. In this article, we present an integrative theoretical framework and discuss the social psychological aspects of climate change, focusing on how it is communicated and understood, and how people respond to it. First, we focus on linguistic constructions of climate change and its mitigation measures, drawing on tenets of social representations theory. Second, we outline the individual and group levels of identity and their relevance to understanding how people respond to particular social representations of climate change and its mitigation measures. Third, through the lens of identity process theory, we discuss relevant climate change behaviours in terms of coping strategies which operate at individual, interpersonal and intergroup levels. We argue that social representations of climate change (and its mitigation strategies) must resonate among the general population; that they must not excessively challenge identity and wellbeing; and that people should be empowered to take action against climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalClimanosco Research Articles
Volume3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2022

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