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New Psychology of Climate Change module for third-year psychology students

Awareness is rapidly growing that humanity is on a self-destructive path in which our fossil-fuel-based operations are driving the climate crisis and ecological collapse. The  “Psychology of Climate Change” module has been set up by Kate Jeffery and Sabine Topf to illustrate how psychology can help us understand the emotions, cognition and behaviours linked to the climate crisis, meet the increasing need for a workforce that is literate in this area, as well as a growing desire among students to engage in a positive and productive way with this crisis.

The aim of this elective module for 3rd year Psychology undergraduates is to introduce students to the interactions between humans and environment. This includes examining the complex causes of climate change and reactions to it, behaviours that foster or inhibit sustainable choices, antecedents and correlates of these behaviours, and finally ways to encourage pro-environmental behaviour in the context of economic, institutional and policy forces.

The course also tackles climate change communication, and part of the assessment involves designing a social media communication. The way information about climate change is framed significantly influences public knowledge, attitudes and perceptions, and this module will enable students to get hands-on experience with creating communications and understanding how a given message’s effectiveness may vary with individual differences.

The course is taught by specialists from a range of disciplines including Earth sciences, Politics and Psychology. The formal lectures will be accompanied by an informal online seminar series involving external speakers, with the aim of promoting a wider discussion about this critical issue.

For more information about the course, get in touch with teaching assistant and PhD Candidate, Jona Leka via email here :