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So you give your fellow man a environmental nudge

I'm not supposed To fly this year to Tenerife? On the car drive? Me only vegetarian feed?

How you manage to influence the behaviour of people to a greater environmental awareness positive? Many still think: "What does it matter to me?" and continue to live entirely according to the Motto: "After me, the deluge". The issue of global warming leave you cold, evokes no emotions.

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But why a full of energy go to Demonstrate on the street, while the other is passive and indifferent. "This is partly also due to the fact that the consequences of climate change are generally perceived as far away," says the neuro-psychologist Tobias Brosch of the University of Geneva. Who could imagine what was in 50 or even 100 years from now?

Using magnetic resonance imaging of the Geneva scientist examined, therefore, in the past year, how different the human brain processes such information in order to climate change. What happens if someone learns that the ice melts at the poles still further, the sea level rises even more, there are competitive worldwide, more frequent extreme events such as heavy rainfall or storms, but also supply bottlenecks, the number of climate refugees and social conflicts are on the increase? For the study, he divided the people in the two classic types of "selfish" or "Altruist".

"altruists can project themselves mentally into the future," says Brosch. According to the study, they activate areas in the prefrontal, ventromedial Cortex for mental simulations of future situations. As a result, these people are in position to make the world of tomorrow for. Egoists showed this activation, lived in the Here and Now and were just Worried about the next few years. "That's why you are not worried too much," says Brosch. They could not well understand what it meant, if it was in 80 years, two to three degrees warmer.

Cognitive inertia

More and more psychologists in terms of climate change, environmental protection , and sustainability are in demand. This was demonstrated at the Congress of the Association "Initiative for psychology in environmental protection" on the last Friday in the people's house in Zurich. There, Tobias Brosch talked about how you can achieve this with a small intervention with a big impact. With environmental Schubsern, "Green Nudges", it is possible to move the people to make wise decisions. Without prohibitions and commandments or to change economic incentives.

The principle goes back to the behavioral economist and Nobel prize winner in Economics, Richard Thaler and the legal scholar Cass Sunstein. Therefore, by nature, human beings are often not rational according to the model of a Homo oeconomicus, but is influenced by automatic processes and is prone to cognitive inertia. "This phenomenon of the Nudging with a little List advantage," says Brosch, but without someone to get hurt or someone hurt. Would add that each also communicates transparently.

There is also the opportunity to make decisions in a standard setting. This means that, for example, the selection option for the green power is already crossed. You can change this, but still, if you want to have it otherwise. So it was also in a trial with more than 42000 house. Of these, researchers at the University of Cologne in 2015, reported in the journal "Nature Climate Change". The study participants were able to choose between various Tariffs of the current provider, which offered for a small fee, the Option to obtain electricity from renewable energy sources. The result is a default of this offer already, could be increased by the selection of the "green" variant by a factor of 10 to around 70 percent, than if you have to click it first. Since 2006, the default setting in the Zurich electricity works (EWZ) is already "genudged" – the use of renewable energies.

sinks such As mental Judo

the individual energy consumption, the behavior of social psychological influence. For example, some households in the USA regularly received an Overview of where you stand in comparison to the neighbors. Someone was very economical, he got in addition, two Smileys on his account. As a result, the energy consumption decreased over two years by an average of two percent, as Hunt Allcott of New York University calculated.

"None of us wanted to be the worst polluters," says Brosch. It is important that such minimally invasive interventions complemented the traditional strategies for the promotion of environmentally friendly behaviour, including the provision of information, economic incentives, or legal regulations. There are in between, but it is not always a clear boundary, such as in the case of the five cents for a plastic bag at the supermarket. This was more of a symbolic than financial value, to bring the people but to rethink.

"Nudging is like mental Judo," says Brosch. You use the thinking error of the other, because you don't know its direction and without great effort, could react. The green power-Trick but for the Good for all. Because it was a political decision to phase out nuclear energy.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 14.03.2019, 20:07 PM

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