APA exhibit on psychology and environment attracts thousands at USA Science Expo

Exhibit educates public about behavioral factors influencing energy use and pollution

Thousands of people visited the USA Science & Engineering Festival Several thousand people visited the American Psychological Association’s exhibit on psychology and the environment at the USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo, held over the weekend of October 23-24 on the National Mall in Washington, DC.  The APA exhibit was one of the few in the behavioral and social sciences among over 500 Expo exhibits sponsored by academic institutions, government agencies, professional societies, publishers, and corporations.  

Nicolle Singer and Cameron Richardson at the APA exhibit Targeted to adolescents and adults, the exhibit -- titled Let’s Use Our Heads to Save the Environment -- had both general and specific aims.  The general aim was to inform visitors that psychology is a rigorous science that addresses major societal challenges.  At the specific level, the exhibit was designed to provide information and stimulate discussion about the psychological factors that influence behaviors related to energy use and the production of waste and pollution. 

The exhibit featured a colorful slide show that summarized findings from psychological research on environmental behaviors and posed questions to visitors about how this research related to their own lives and what further scientific work was needed.  Research was presented in the areas of decision-making, the effects of feedback and social influence, and environmental values and awareness. 

By focusing on environmental behaviors, the exhibit addressed one of the Expo’s major themes of conservation and sustainability.   The exhibit also provided APA with the opportunity to share with the general public some of the research discussed in APA’s recent task force report on Psychology and Global Climate Change.  

Visitors to the APA booth learn about psychological research on environmental behaviors Visitors to the exhibit were of all ages and levels of education.  Psychology graduate students from Washington area universities and APA Science Directorate staff members served as hosts at the exhibit.  They engaged visitors in discussions about psychological research related to the environment as well as about psychology in general. 

Materials containing further information about psychology and the environment were distributed at the exhibit.  Among these materials were a summary of the task force report and the APA booklet on Global Climate Change, one of a series for general audiences on Society's Grand Challenges: Insights from Psychological Science.

If you would like further information about the exhibit, please contact Kirk Waldroff (202-336-6000) of the APA Science Directorate.