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Empirically grounded theories of individual or household-level decisions about energy and environment do not currently enter into global models of long-term low-carbon futures, aside from hidden assumptions about rational expectations and choice. In this seminar, Elke U. Weber will review how descriptive models of human decisions in a physical and social context extend the goals and processes utilized by homo economicus and highlight the challenges and opportunities of modeling behavior related to energy consumption or GHG emissions across different levels of analyses. Finally she argues that a better understanding of behavior at these levels can provide entry points for effective interventions and better decision environments or choice architectures.
Elke Weber is the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment and Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Her past research has modeled decision-making under risk and uncertainty and time delay from a psychological and neuroscience perspective. She currently works on the impact of physical and social variables on decisions. Prof. Weber is past president of three societies (Neuroeconomics, Judgment and Decision Making, and Mathematical Psychology) and a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society for Experimental Psychology. She was elected to the German National Academy of Sciences and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for Risk Analysis.