On the psychological plausibility of prospective exercises (i.e. foresight/futures exercises etc.)

This post began as a research “memo” (written to myself as an entry in a reflective PhD journal) entitled “on psychological plausibility”. I was prompted to write it by a couple of pieces written by David Roberts on current debates about 100% renewable electricity and the feasibility of such goals (see link, link) and other …

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The knowledge illusion and its effects, good and bad

A new book popularising and discussing cognitive science, The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, recently got my attention. It focusses on recent research findings that people tend to radically overestimate how much they know and, linked with this, greatly overestimate their knowledge of how things work (e.g. fairly simple things like how modern …

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Never Saw It Coming

Karen Cerulo’s book Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst is an interesting sociological book which considers the socio-cultural practices and other factors that influence whether worst case scenarios have a sufficiently prominent place in thinking and planning. The analysis is mostly focussed on the United States of America. Cerulo analysis proposes …

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What’s the most important environmental problem? A (slightly) contrarian perspective

Lately I’ve seen the following James Gustave Speth quote shared on social media: When I read that quote I “groaned” a little. Cultural change is part of what’s needed, no doubt about it, but are the top problems “selfishness, greed and apathy”? Apathy can hamper any change effort, sure, but the emphasis on selfishness and …

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Contemplating the tensions between scholarship and activism

Whilst many people would argue that there aren’t unsolvable tensions between scholarship and activism I’ve sometimes found that there are tensions. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about regarding future career options and directions. I was also stimulated to revisit this line of thought by a fascinating talk given by the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt …

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