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Sustainability News

DCDC News DCDC Spotlights

October 20, 2011

October 26 | 12:00-1:30pm | DCDC Conference Room

Assistant Professor Kelli L. Larson and environmental psychologist Susan Ledlow will present research ranging from human environment interactions and water resource governance to aspects of human nature that constitute potential obstacles to solving problems of sustainability or that might facilitate our ability to make sustainable decisions.

This year's DCDC Water/Climate Briefing theme focuses on a branch of behavioral research situated at the intersection of psychology and economics. Our researchers are exploring the mental processes that shape our choices, behaviors and attitudes, and employ both evolutionary and sociocultural models to understand environmental decision making.

Dr. Larson's interests lie at the intersection between human-environment interactions and water resource governance. Focusing on urban ecosystems in recent years, her work aims to understand how diverse people frame social-ecological risks and what they are willing to do in order to ameliorate them. Her research presentation will focus on environmental concerns, risk perceptions, and policy attitudes regarding water issues in metropolitan Phoenix, including how assorted perspectives vary by gender, cultural domains, and the public, policy, and science spheres. The implications of this work speak to enhancing societal support and actions for sustainability, encompassing both collaborative decision-making and conservation practices.


Susan Ledlow is part of a team of psychologists who are adding experimental approaches to the suite of DCDC research activities. Their work takes an evolutionary functional approach to human decision-making. They are particularly interested in aspects of human nature that constitute potential obstacles to solving problems of sustainability, or that might facilitate our ability to make sustainable decisions. Susan will present results from a number of experiments they have conducted over the last two years related to residential water use, self-presentational aspects of landscaping, and framing persuasive messaging using motives related to status or kinship.