A psychology professor at Princeton University, Elke U. Weber will begin an Einstein Visiting Fellowship at the Technische Universität Berlin, where she will research political decision-making powers and global action to tackle climate change through the behavioral and social sciences. Elke Weber will be attached to the Einstein Center Climate Change (which is currently in the process of being set up) and will draw on psychological theories to investigate the extent to which personal experiences, as well as social norms and interactions, affect decision-making and action. To ensure the study considers the specific social and existential factors that influence people’s decision-making, Elke Weber’s project will be based on a comparative analysis of existing studies on climate policy and environmental protection measures, comparing Berlin-Brandenburg, New Jersey (USA), and New Delhi (India).
Eric J. Johnson from the Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia University will also be working on a project for the forthcoming Einstein Center Climate Change that links climate research with the behavioral sciences and economics. Based at the Technische Universität, Eric Johnson will be researching decision architectures, i.e. ways of presenting choices and facilitating decision-making processes by utilizing the various social, economic, and psychological factors that shape our actions. Using empirical methods as well as face-to-face and online interviews, and in cooperation with the Universität der Künste and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, the project’s aim is to develop approaches and tools for political structures and businesses that make it easier to implement measures to reduce individual or industrial CO2 emissions.