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Environmental Psychology (2nd Lecture).docx

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Western University
Psychology 2990A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Psych 2990A December 4 , 2012 Environmental Psychology II Last week: Defn: Environmental psych is concerned with 1. Understanding the effects of natural, built & social environments on people; and 2. Understanding effects of people on environments  Why do people threaten the environment  How can we change their behaviour  We’re dealing with a classic social dilemma Part 1: Two-Person (Prisoner’s) dilemma Part 2 Social dilemmas involving larger groups  Resource Management Dilemma: Take too much of a limited resource;  Public Goods Dilemma: Don’t give enough. This week: Part 3: How can we resolve social dilemmas (or increase cooperation) Note: With RMD, take as much as possible to maximize short term benefits; with PGD, give as little as possible to minimize short term costs. So… A. Change the short-term payoff structure:  Increase “costs” for non-cooperative behaviour (punish it) - Fines (for not paying taxes; polluting) - Fees for garbage bags. Note: Less effective if people believe a) They won’t get caught; b) Punishments won’t be given.  Increase “rewards” for cooperative behaviour: - Free lottery tickets for taking bus; - Toll-free roads (or separate lanes) for car pools; - Tax rebates for saving electricity. B. Increase perceptions of “trust” (that others will cooperate; minimizes “sucker effect”). E.g., - observing others who are cooperating (e.g., everyone’s using blue-boxes to recycle). But, possible problem (with too much trust): - if most people are cooperating, we might be tempted to take a “free ride” and not cooperate (what harm will it do?). C. Increase communication between group members: (e.g., p. 264) - Group can explicitly set goal of “cooperation” - Increases commitment to achieving the cooperative goal (becomes a “social norm”) - Group can impose punishments when norm is violated - Increases trust that everyone will cooperate - People feel they are members of the group (sense of “we-ness” or “group identity”)  Increases desire to protect group But, potential problems: - Communication must focus on cooperation (not blaming each other for competing!) - Communication between group members becomes difficult when the group is very large (access to the internet might help)
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