Correct me if I’m wrong: A group decision making intervention improves reasoning in the climate stabilization task

Belinda Xie, Mark Hurlstone, Iain Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Avoiding dangerous climate change requires ambitious emissions reduction. Scientists agree on this, but policy-makers and citizens do not. This discrepancy can be partly attributed to faulty mental models, which cause individuals to misunderstand the carbon dioxide (CO2) system. For example, in the Climate Stabilization Task (hereafter, ‘CST’) (Sterman & Booth-Sweeney, 2007), individuals systematically underestimate the emissions reduction required to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels, which may lead them to endorse ineffective ‘wait-and-see’ climate policies. Thus far, interventions to correct faulty mental models in the CST have failed to produce robust improvements in decision-making. Here, in the first study to test a group-based intervention, we found that success rates on the CST markedly increased after participants deliberated with peers in a group discussion. The group discussion served to invalidate the faulty reasoning strategies used by some individual group members, thus increasing the proportion of group members who possessed the correct mental model of the CO2 system. Our findings suggest that policy-making and public education would benefit from group-based practices.
LanguageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

Fingerprint

Climate
Decision Making
Climate Change
Policy Making
Administrative Personnel
Carbon Dioxide
Education

Cite this

@article{368b01fa0f8c4a3da5bd91214550d392,
title = "Correct me if I’m wrong: A group decision making intervention improves reasoning in the climate stabilization task",
abstract = "Avoiding dangerous climate change requires ambitious emissions reduction. Scientists agree on this, but policy-makers and citizens do not. This discrepancy can be partly attributed to faulty mental models, which cause individuals to misunderstand the carbon dioxide (CO2) system. For example, in the Climate Stabilization Task (hereafter, ‘CST’) (Sterman & Booth-Sweeney, 2007), individuals systematically underestimate the emissions reduction required to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels, which may lead them to endorse ineffective ‘wait-and-see’ climate policies. Thus far, interventions to correct faulty mental models in the CST have failed to produce robust improvements in decision-making. Here, in the first study to test a group-based intervention, we found that success rates on the CST markedly increased after participants deliberated with peers in a group discussion. The group discussion served to invalidate the faulty reasoning strategies used by some individual group members, thus increasing the proportion of group members who possessed the correct mental model of the CO2 system. Our findings suggest that policy-making and public education would benefit from group-based practices.",
author = "Belinda Xie and Mark Hurlstone and Iain Walker",
year = "2019",
language = "English",
journal = "Frontiers in Psychology",
issn = "1664-1078",
publisher = "Frontiers Media S. A.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Correct me if I’m wrong: A group decision making intervention improves reasoning in the climate stabilization task

AU - Xie, Belinda

AU - Hurlstone, Mark

AU - Walker, Iain

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Avoiding dangerous climate change requires ambitious emissions reduction. Scientists agree on this, but policy-makers and citizens do not. This discrepancy can be partly attributed to faulty mental models, which cause individuals to misunderstand the carbon dioxide (CO2) system. For example, in the Climate Stabilization Task (hereafter, ‘CST’) (Sterman & Booth-Sweeney, 2007), individuals systematically underestimate the emissions reduction required to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels, which may lead them to endorse ineffective ‘wait-and-see’ climate policies. Thus far, interventions to correct faulty mental models in the CST have failed to produce robust improvements in decision-making. Here, in the first study to test a group-based intervention, we found that success rates on the CST markedly increased after participants deliberated with peers in a group discussion. The group discussion served to invalidate the faulty reasoning strategies used by some individual group members, thus increasing the proportion of group members who possessed the correct mental model of the CO2 system. Our findings suggest that policy-making and public education would benefit from group-based practices.

AB - Avoiding dangerous climate change requires ambitious emissions reduction. Scientists agree on this, but policy-makers and citizens do not. This discrepancy can be partly attributed to faulty mental models, which cause individuals to misunderstand the carbon dioxide (CO2) system. For example, in the Climate Stabilization Task (hereafter, ‘CST’) (Sterman & Booth-Sweeney, 2007), individuals systematically underestimate the emissions reduction required to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels, which may lead them to endorse ineffective ‘wait-and-see’ climate policies. Thus far, interventions to correct faulty mental models in the CST have failed to produce robust improvements in decision-making. Here, in the first study to test a group-based intervention, we found that success rates on the CST markedly increased after participants deliberated with peers in a group discussion. The group discussion served to invalidate the faulty reasoning strategies used by some individual group members, thus increasing the proportion of group members who possessed the correct mental model of the CO2 system. Our findings suggest that policy-making and public education would benefit from group-based practices.

M3 - Article

JO - Frontiers in Psychology

T2 - Frontiers in Psychology

JF - Frontiers in Psychology

SN - 1664-1078

ER -