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WWS-ACEE Seminar: Elke Weber, Columbia University

Date: May 6, 2015

Time: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Location: Wallace 300

The Woodrow Wilson School and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment present “Energy, Behavior, and Climate Change” with Elke Weber of Columbia University.

Cognitive and social psychological theory and its adoption in behavioral economics have important implications for energy policy at the macro level and its implementation at the micro level. By complementing the assumption of rational expectations and rational choice with a more comprehensive set of human goals and modes of decision making, we can explain observed barriers to a sustainable energy future. More importantly, causal psychological process models of such barriers point the way to the design of more efficient policies and more effective implementation. I will provide examples of my work within the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) on how to communicate information about energy consumption and energy savings in ways that overcome cognitive myopia, loss aversion, and single action bias and how to guide and motivate foresightful energy decisions at the individual and organizational level.

Elke U. Weber is the Jerome A. Chazen Professor of International Business as well as Professor of Management and Psychology and Earth Institute Professor at Columbia University. Her MA and PhD are from Harvard in behavior and decision analysis. She is an expert on judgment and decision-making under uncertainty, specifically in financial and environmental contexts. At Columbia, she founded and co-directs the Center for Decision Sciences (CDS), which generates and facilitates interdisciplinary decision research relevant to the needs of real world decision makers, and the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED), which investigates ways of facilitating human adaptation to climate change and climate variability and recently updated its well-received Climate Change Communications Guide ( She has served on advisory committees of the National Academy of Sciences related to human dimensions in global change, was a member on an American Psychological Association Task Force that issued a report on the Interface between Psychology and Global Climate Change, and a lead author in Working Group III for the 5th Assessment Report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She has served as president for the Society for Mathematical Psychology, the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and the Society for Neuroeconomics. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Risk Analysis, and a member of the German National Academy of Sciences.