Advancing the potential impact of future scenarios by integrating psychological principles

Richter, I, Gabe-Thomas, E, Queiros, AM, Sheppard, SRJ and Pahl, S 2022 Advancing the potential impact of future scenarios by integrating psychological principles. Environmental Science & Policy, 140. 68-79.

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Engaging with the future to make better decisions in the present is key for sustainable development and climate change responses. In this conceptual paper, we suggest a scenario building approach that connects psychological principles of future thinking with future scenario development in order to advance the impact of scenarios. Future scenario work currently does not sufficiently consider processes of human communication, emotion, cognition and has only begun to focus on people’s local contexts in recent years. We argue that more understanding of psychological processes, such as cognitive biases and heuristics, as well as psychological distance, which typically occur in future thinking, can improve the impact of scenarios. Specifically, we provide a psychological basis for systematically integrating emotion-evoking aspects into future scenario development, using tailored narratives and visuals to make content tangible and meaningful for a broad spectrum of audiences, and adapting content temporally, spatially, and linguistically to audiences, in combination with inclusive and creative co-creation of scenarios and sustainable solutions. We explain why this approach has the potential to overcome some recognised cognitive biases hampering scenario impact and intended sustainable change pro�cesses, and can therefore support the co-development of sustainable and inclusive policies and solutions that empower and connect individuals, communities, and decision makers.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Sustainable development Future scenarios Climate change Cognitive biases Emotions Co-creation
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Sea and Society
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 05 Jan 2023 10:16
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2023 10:16

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