Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

Title

Cultural and Environmental Changes: Cognitive Adaptation to Global Warming

Publication Date

2013

Abstract

The present paper uses a methodological and theoretical perspective on cognitive and cross-cultural psychology as it basis. Our research covers an important area: the role of cognition on the human adaptation to global warming. We draw the general hypothesis that human cognition, mediated by culture, can adapt to changes in the environment. However, we believe that accelerated global climatic changes create cognitive vulnerability because culture cannot provide proper knowledge and cognitive tools. We present some results of our fundamental research on cognitive adaptation to climate change from a cross-environmental and cross-cultural perspective. We specifically highlight some preliminary comparative analysis between adults of New Caledonia and Paris on the representation of climate and climate change followed by the human capacity to adapt to this condition. In addition, we provide an intra-cultural comparison on representation of climate, taking into consideration important geographic and climatic differences in France. Preliminary results suggest that culture and environmental experiences have focal impacts on cognitive adaptation. Our findings show that Parisian adults present greater cognitive vulnerability, thus less adaptive cognition. In the light of cross-cultural psychology, we consider that this fact is due, on one hand, to the analytic way of thinking dominated by an urban occidental population and, on the other hand, to the absence of bi-metric representations.

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