Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists should advance management of behavioral norms

13.02.2013
Governments need to create environmental policies that populations will over time accept as normal

Researchers should study how people's social and personal norms are influenced by behavior and use their insights to help governments promote pro-environmental actions, a distinguished group of scholars writes in the March issue of BioScience.

The authors maintain that effective policies induce not only short-term changes in behavior but also long-term changes in norms. More effective management of social norms will be necessary, they write, to persuade the public to accept the inconvenience and expense of many environmental policies.

The interdisciplinary group, led by Ann P. Kinzig of Arizona State University, includes noted environmentalists and ecologists as well as two Nobel Prize winners, the economist Kenneth Arrow and the political scientist Elinor Ostrom (who died last June). The group argues that although values obviously influence behavior, "what policymakers need to exploit is that behaviors can also influence values." This is how domestic recycling, for example, has become the accepted habit of many people who were at first resentful of having to separate recyclable items.

Governments can influence behaviors by many means, including exhortation, regulation, and financial pressure, as well as in more subtle ways. But ignorance of how behavioral norms change can lead to useless or counterproductive campaigns. There is now a "woeful lack of information" about how policy, behavior, and norms affect each other, Kinzig and her colleagues write.

Anticipating possible objections to an increased role of government in influencing norms, the authors argue that their recommendations can be carried out in a way that "abides by the principles of representative democracy, including transparency, fairness, and accountability." Moreover, they point out, many other parties in democratic systems act to influence personal and social norms, including charitable organizations, corporations, neighborhood groups, and organized religions.

The article provides an agenda for life scientists to tackle. It notes, however, that the academic community will have to change its own norms to "increase its capacity to work with policymakers." Kinzig and her colleagues suggest, among other things, that social and behavioral scientists should more often be included in assessments of environmental trends, to ensure their plausibility.

BioScience, published monthly, is the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS; www.aibs.org). BioScience is a forum for integrating the life sciences that publishes commentary and peer-reviewed articles. The journal has been published since 1964. AIBS is a meta-level organization for professional scientific societies and organizations that are involved with biology. It represents nearly 160 member societies and organizations. The article by Kinzig and colleagues can be accessed ahead of print at www.aibs.org/bioscience-press-releases/ until early March.

The complete list of peer-reviewed articles in the March, 2013, issue of BioScience is as follows. These are now published ahead of print.

Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges: The complex Interaction of behaviors, Values, and Policy.

Ann P. Kinzig, Paul R. Ehrlich, Lee J. Alston, Kenneth Arrow, Scott Barrett, Timothy G. Buchman, Gretchen C. Daily, Bruce Levin, Simon Levin, Michael Oppenheimer, Elinor Ostrom, and Donald Saari

Spatial Extent and dynamics of dam Impacts on Tropical Island Freshwater Fish Assemblages.

Patrick B. Cooney and Thomas J. Kwak

Explanatory, predictive, and Heuristic Roles of Allometries and Scaling Relationships.

Jani P. Raerinne

Winter disturbances and Riverine Fish in Temperate and Cold Regions.
Christine Weber, Christer Nilsson, Lovisa Lind, Knut T. Alfredsen, and Lina E. Polvi
Ecologically Appropriate plant Materials for Restoration Applications.
Thomas A. Jones

Tim Beardsley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aibs.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>