Welcome to the Pomona Social Cognition & Interaction Lab

Work in our lab uses behavioral science methods and theories to explore how group memberships shape how we think about, interact with, and relate to others and the world around us. Much of our research is guided by two main questions:  (1) How do group processes impact how we perceive and respond to local and global sustainability challenges, like climate change? and (2) how can a deeper understanding of these processes promote informed and equitable decision making? To explore these questions, we use a variety of methods, including lab and field experiments, probability-based surveys, and both quantitative and qualitative approaches.

SCI Lab News!

  • What can psychologists contribute to understanding and addressing climate-related health disparities? In a forthcoming article in American Psychologist, featuring a new interdisciplinary team of social and clinical psychologists, practicing clinicians, communication researchers, health services professionals, and behavioral medicine researchers, we take stock of the current research landscape, spotlight areas of emerging critical need (including infrastructure and community partnerships), and highlight several exciting new initiatives that offer a blueprint for advancing actionable research in this area
  • Public appetite for climate solutions is greater than popular narratives of deep social divisions suggest. In a new BMJ opinion piece, published in advance of the COP27 UN climate summit, we look at the implications this has for health advocacy
  • SCI Lab welcomes new lab members for fall 2022, Noah Liedtke, Kevin Hua, and Maya Cargile!
  • In May, Adam worked with the American Psychological Association to provide federal policy guidance for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2022 Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation Plan. Their letter to the HHS Secretary Rachel Levine highlights psychology’s critical and unique role in promoting public health and argues that an effective environmental justice plan must increase resources for mental health and social services, partner with community stakeholders, and equip environmental justice communities with effective tools to reduce environmental health disparities.
  • SCI Lab member Ingrid Tsang (HMC ’22) begins a new position as a software engineer at Plaid in San Francisco and Stella Favaro (Pomona ’23)  starts a communications internship at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a clean energy and decarbonization think-tank. Congratulations, Ingrid and Stella!
  • In February, the White House launched a new mapping tool that will help direct critical climate investments to frontline communities nationwide. In a new op-ed, Adam and Jon Schuldt discuss the hidden promise and dangers with the use of such tools for public communication
  • New lab member Stella Favaro publishes opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, “How to talk climate change at Christmas without picking a fight”
  • In a new piece in LSE Business Review with Ana Sabherwal and Gregg Sparkman, we explore how, when, and why collective anger might act as a catalyst for climate mitigation
  • Special issue on “Behavioural Climate Policy” now in print, guest-edited with Sander van der Linden and Leaf Van Boven. Great contributions from many scholars on how behavioral science can help shape climate policy
  • Is public outrage good for the planet? See our take in a new op-ed in Grist, with Ana Sabherwal and Gregg Sparkman
  • In new research in collaboration with the YPCCC and George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication, aggregating over a decade of US nationally representative survey data from 2008–2019, we find that climate change is less politically polarized among people of color in the U.S. Across the political spectrum, people of color are more likely to report that climate change is already happening, will harm the U.S., and (most notably) that it poses a personal danger
  • In new work with Lupe Bacio and collaborators at Cornell and the Environmental Defense Fund, familism – a cultural value prioritizing family over the self – is a substantially stronger predictor of US Latinos’ climate change beliefs, concerns, and mitigation policy support than politics, income, or education level. For coverage and discussion, see here
  • Public outrage is easily expressed and rapidly transmitted in the digital age (Crockett, 2017; Sunstein, 2019). In new research with lab alum Ana Sabherwal (Grantham Institute) and Gregg Sparkman, we find that appeals conveying growing public anger about climate inaction within the US enhance perceptions of public mobilization to address climate change and bolster support for climate mitigation across partisan groups
  • Lab research featured in the Union of Concerned Scientists‘ “The Equation,” on the importance of climate diversity to federal policymaking
  • SCI Lab research featured on NPR news and 34+ regional public radio outlets, on why diversity in US federal agencies is key to addressing climate change
  • Lab alum and collaborator Corinne Tsai wins the best paper award at the 2021 SPSP Sustainability Preconference for her talk on “Building Diverse Climate Coalitions.” Congratulations, Corinne!
  • Behavioral Climate Policy Conference held virtually Oct. 23rd, featuring talks and a panel discussion on the state of the science from our special issue in Behavioural Public Policy, sponsored by the CU Boulder Center for Creative Climate Communication and Behavior Change
  • Adam receives the Society for Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology (APA Div. 34) 2020 Early Career Achievement Award
  • New findings with collaborators at Cornell, Purdue, and the Environmental Defense Fund show that minorities and lower-income Americans conceptualize environmental issues differently than Whites and higher-income Americans, an outgrowth of work with community organizations in San Antonio. See coverage here
  • SCI Lab alum Ana Sabherwal wins best student paper award at the 2020 SPSP Sustainability Preconference for work on anger consensus appeals. Congratulations, Ana!
  • Lab alums Rachel Song, Daniel Choi, and Ana Sabherwal begin doctoral programs at U Washington, UCLA, and the London School of Economics, and Corinne Tsai joins MPhil program at Cambridge. Congratulations Rachel, Daniel, Ana, and Corinne!
  • Research synthesizing over a decade of nationally representative data with collaborators at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows that both education and income (but especially education) predict stronger political polarization on climate change. Coverage here
  • New research with Jon Schuldt, Rainer Romero-Canyas, Matt Ballew, and Dylan Larson-Konar shows that people underestimate the environmental concerns of minority, low-income, and other vulnerable populations, and that these perceptions are influenced by levels of diversity shown in organization mission statements  (see coverage in Nature Climate Change, Behavioral Scientist, and PNAS)
  • NPR’s Take Two and Al Gore discuss SCI Lab research on the lack of diversity in climate and environmental STEM fields and its societal implications
  • Adam elected a Fellow of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (APA Div. 9) and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology