Climate change is often conceived as a technical challenge, requiring smart policies and science-driven solutions. Yet, climate change is also profoundly social: How people understand and engage with the issue is powerfully influenced by the responses of others, including members of ingroups and outgroups.
The articles in this special issue examine social psychological causes and consequences of climate change, with a particular focus on research that presents fresh insights and emerging theoretical approaches. Beyond seeking to understand how group dynamics influence how people process and respond to climate change, several of the articles highlight ways in which the study of climate change can inform the study of intergroup relations. Intergroup relations researchers are uniquely poised to unpack the processes and offer critical insights into the complex social dynamics that underlie what is perhaps the greatest shared threat of our time.
Climate change is often conceived as a technical challenge, requiring smart policies and science-driven solutions. Yet, as revealed by each new round of international negotiations, and by growing (rather than receding) partisan divides on climate change in the United States, climate change is also profoundly social: How people understand and engage with the issue is powerfully influenced by the responses of others, including members of ingroups and outgroups. This special issue brings together research and theory that shed light on new and understudied group and intergroup dimensions of climate change. The featured articles showcase the breadth of social psychological processes (e.g., social identity and categorization processes, intergroup perceptions, normative influence, justice concerns, and groupbased ideologies) relevant to the study of climate change while highlighting how the 10.1177/1368430217747750 problem’s shared, global relevance poses unique questions and opportunities for the field. We explore the contributions of these articles to the social psychological study of climate change and highlight new challenges and pathways forward.
Climate change and intergroup relations: Psychological insights, synergies, and future prospects
Adam R. Pearson, Jonathon P. Schuldt
First Published March 19, 2016
From Group Processes & Intergroup Relations