Why do we research emotions in the context of climate change?

The aim of our research project is to understand and describe how climate change makes us feel and what it means for our mental health and climate action taking. To this end, we will conduct a series of studies using questionnaire and experimental methods. The research will be based on data collected in Poland and Norway, two countries heavily dependent on fossil fuels, but with a different social and individual perception regarding the urgency of climate action.


What do we want to accomplish?

Create a psychometric tool

In the first study, we want to develop a psychological questionnaire to measure climate change worry and the stress caused by its awareness.

explore how climate change descriptions impact emotions and action taking

We will try to determine the effect of different ways of communicating information about the changing climate on people’s pro-environmental behavior.

measure brain responses to emotional information about climate change

Lastly, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we will directly measure the brain's response to emotional descriptions of climate change.

"I can get tearful when I – well, I get tearful out of pure sadness. You know, when I see the news, read the news, or watch television. I see (...) really horrible things that are happening to nature. I can get tearful because I am thinking about the future of my children and grandchildren, and I am thinking – oh, God, what a miserable world they are going to live in."
"In the past, I tended to suppress thoughts about climate change. But it has become more and more impossible to carry on like this. Every time I confront myself with facts and numbers, it's deeply frustrating to realise how humankind laid claim to this world. In fact, I feel that we've managed to fool ourselves that we have this special place in the world. I suspect that many people who deny that we are facing the climate crisis would never admit humankind is just another species on its way to extinction."
"I came to this period of existential grief. As for me, it came to another level, where I learnt to appreciate life in quite another way, you know? To be appreciating and loving life, how it is now."

"I hope that nature will prove to be resilient. And adaptable. And that we will not manage to destroy the ability of nature to adapt itself. That’s a different kind of hope."

Do you have questions about the project?

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