Emotions Linked to Environmental Behavior
My colleague and former classmate Nik Sawe recently gave an excellent TEDx talk on his pioneering neuroeconomics research. Using fMRIs or brain imaging, Nik studies the brain to understand what motivates people to make decisions that benefit the environment. One of his findings suggest that emotional pathways are activated when we see national parks and the potential harmful impacts on them, which then motivates us to decide to donate money. This is in contrast to previous beliefs that more information is more motivating for people to perform environmental behaviors.
Nik arrived at this research through a painful personal journey that relates to his own emotional connections to nature. He suffers from a bone disability that prevents him from being very active. As a child, the time he spent in nature helped him feel better, and now he is using his research expertise to enlighten the rest of us about the mechanisms by which we connect with nature.