The University of Florida Water Institute is cohosting a seminar on Nov. 17 featuring a presentation on “Insights from Geocognition Research About How to Effectively Engage Public Audiences with Climate Change Related Information” by Dr. Karen McNeal, Molette Endowed Professor, Department of Geological Sciences at Auburn University.

Register for the seminar HERE.


Engaging the public about climate change can be challenging for a plethora of reasons, including barriers that relate to cognition and affect. Research has shown that “information is not enough” when engaging the public about climate change topics and that engagement efforts should utilize strategies that have been supported by research in cognitive science, psychology,  climate communication and science education.  The emerging field of geocognition, within the larger geosciences discipline, draws from these research disciplines and applies what is known in these foundational fields to understanding how to robustly measure people’s knowledge and perceptions of climate change as well as their engagement with climate information.  This presentation will describe geocognition research efforts that have utilized: (i) psychometric approaches to characterize how people understand and perceive climate change,  (ii) eye-tracking approaches to measure attention patterns of individuals engaged with climate information (e.g., graphs and figures), (iii) skin biosensors methods to measure how people engage with non-traditional methods (e.g., music) to communicate with the public about climate change, and (iv) qualitative interviews to better understand their perspectives.  The results of these studies will be applied to effective climate engagement practices that have been recommended by communication specialists and that can be utilized by the geoscience community more broadly.