Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology



The evolutionary psychology of climate change behaviors: Insights and applications

Palomo-Vélez, G., & van Vugt, M. (2021). (link).The evolutionary psychology of climate change behaviors: Insights and applications. Current Opinion in Psychology.


We examine climate-related activities through an evolutionary psychology lens, zooming in on factors that motivate or discourage people to behave sustainably to mitigate climate change. Complementing current knowledge, we discuss five core ancestral psychological motivations that shape people's environmental decisions in fundamental ways. We review recent studies that explore how evolved psychological mechanisms related to self-interest, status, sensing, discounting tendencies, and social imitation can be used to promote proenvironmental behavior. We discuss the potential strengths and limitations of evolutionary-based behavioral interventions and briefly reflect on outstanding research questions that can further the integration of evolutionary approaches into mainstream environmental psychology.

Copyright © 2012– Mark van Vugt