The Psychology of Climate Change Communication - Professor Ben Newell

What is this research about?

Climate change is a big human problem. But it is also a big human opportunity. Climate change presents us with the opportunity to change the way we think, the way we act and the way we work together.

But to seize that opportunity we need to overcome some psychological “foibles”. These foibles can, at times, impede our ability to think about our future selves and lead us to be ‘stuck’ in the here and now.

This work examines our psychological responses to climate change with a view to increasing our understanding of how to communicate the risks posed by our changing world.

Other researchers involved:

Prof Brett Hayes
Prof Marilynn Brewer
Dr Rachel McDonald
Prof Stephan Lewandowsky

Publications relating to this research:

Newell, B.R., Kary, A., Moore, C., & Gonzalez, C. (2016). Managing the budget: Reframing the CO2 accumulation problem. Topics in Cognitive Science, 8, 138-159.

Newell, B.R., Rakow T. Yechiam, E., Sambur, M. (2016). Rare disaster information can increase risk-taking. Nature Climate Change, 6, 158-161.

McDonald, R.I., Chai, H-Y, & Newell, B.R. (2015). Personal experience and the 'psychological distance' of climate change: An integrative review. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 44, 109-118.

Lewandowsky, S., Oreskes, N., Risbey, J., Newell, B.R., & Smithson, M. (2015). Seepage: Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community. Global Environmental Change, 33, 1-13.

Newell, B.R., McDonald, R.I., Brewer, M., & Hayes, B.K (2014). The Psychology of Environmental Decisions. Annual Review of Environment & Resources. 39, 443-467.

Lewandowsky, S. Risbey, J., Smithson, M., Newell, B.R., & Hunter, J. (2014). Scientific Uncertainty and Climate Change: Part I. Uncertainty and Unabated Emissions. Climatic Change, 124, 21-37

Lewandowsky, S., Risbey, J. Smithson, M., & Newell, B.R. (2014). Scientific Uncertainty and Climate Change: Part II. Uncertainty and Mitigation. Climatic Change, 124, 39-52

McDonald, R.I., Newell, B.R., & Denson, T. (2014). Would you rule out going green? The effect of inclusion versus exclusion mindset on pro-environmental willingness. European Journal of Social Psychology, 44,507-513.

Hurlstone, M., Lewandowsky, S., Newell, B.R., & Sewell, B. (2014). The effect of framing and normative messages in building support for climate policies. PLoS One, 9,12.


ARC Linkage Projects LP120100224 (with Hayes, Brewer, Lewandowsky, Pitman & England) and ARC Future Fellowship FT110100151.



To find out more about this research, please contact Professor Ben Newell.