Measuring Climate Change Perception in India and France (M2C)

Prof Parul Rishi, PhD in Psychology, is coming to Aix-Marseille from april 15th to may 16th, 2015, to work with OT-Med members on the topic of measuring climate change perception in a cross-cultural perspective, especially comparing France and India.

Behavioral sciences such as psychology have felt concerned very early and have always taken an active part in studying human motivations and perceptions in regard to human-environment interaction (Maloney & Ward, 1973 ; Oskamp, 2000 ; Schmuck & Schultz, 2002 ; Weiss & Girandola, 2010). Many studies in the field of risk perception show evidence that besides knowledge, representations and feelings people have of the state of the environment are equally if not more influent on their risk perception. Even if people are well informed, they might not be inclined to adapt their behavior (Bonnefoy, Weiss & Moser, 2010). Under this regard, climate change is particularly difficult to understand and perceive for people (Lammel, 2013). Climate change is seen as a slow and gradual process that has taken place over years and years and though the impacts are very much obvious in recent times, still the required urgency is not experienced by most of the people. One of the reasons behind is that gradual climatic changes do not elicit the required anxiety which people have because of a feeling of lack of control over catastrophic consequences, hence climate change is not perceived as an “immediate risk.” For much of the general public, climate change is still an “unknown risk” which is new and has unforeseeable consequences and therefore hard to believe or feel at risk about it. The study of Climate Change Perception has gained in importance over the last years in France (, 2013) and various tools are used to measure climate change perception, such as interviews and questionnaires.

Rishi and Mudaliar (2014) have developed a scale, the Climate Change Perception Inventory (CCPI) and used it to measure the climate change perception of Indian samples, assessing the cognitive understanding of climate change, climate stress and actions and reactions of coastal people with a special focus on behavioral adaptation and subjective well being. The study was conducted in four coastal cities of India, namely Mumbai, Chennai, Daman and Pondicherry keeping in mind the coastal hazards and vulnerability issues associated with Indian coastal cities (TERI, 1996).

The first aim of the stay of Professor Rishi is to work with Alexandra Schleyer-Lindenmann (UMR ESPACE) and Olivier Chanel (GREQAM) in order translate the CCPI into French and conceive a validation study along the classical lines of psychometric criteria. A second aim of the stay is to gain theoretical insight into French and Indian belief systems concerning human-environment interactions, and establish a state of the art of the question. From that on, an empirical study can be planned.

During her stay, Prof. Rishi will present her work to all interested members of OT-Med in a conference.

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