A recent report by the American Psychological Association, featured in the New Scientist, brings together some of the evidence and theory behind the 'positive thinking' approach to communicating about climate change. It goes something like this: people will block up their ears if you tell them the scary facts and make them feel bad. Instead, discover what already motivates them and makes them feel good, and use that knowledge to promote the new behaviours you'd like them to adopt. You might not mention the climate change links at all.
The areas picked up the NS article are:
- social networks
- immediate feedback
- competitive instincts
- fitting in with the crowd
I'm very excited that this kind of psychological analysis is seeping into the world of technical experts and physical sciences. How have you been using psychology to help engaging people more effectively?