Thinking about climate change: look up and look around!

Colin J. Davis, Stephan Lewandowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We introduce this special issue on Thinking about Climate Change by reflecting on the role of psychology in responding adaptively to catastrophic global threats. By way of illustration we compare the threat posed by climate change with the extinction-level threat considered in the recent film Don’t Look Up [McKay, A. (Director). (2021). Don’t Look Up [Film]. Hyperobject Industries]. Human psychology is a critical element in both scenarios. The papers in this special issue discuss the importance of clear communication of scientific information, the dangers of misinformation and the possible role played by motivated reasoning, all themes that are taken up in the film. Ultimately, though, it is not enough to consider psychological factors in isolation: we must also acknowledge that cognitive flaws and psychological motivations are exploited by vested interests that profit from delaying climate action. A global response to a global crisis requires us to ‘look up’ to recognise the threat and to ‘look around’ to go beyond specialist disciplines and national boundaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Issue number3
Early online date21 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


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