Dr. Paul Thibodeau will present “Systems thinking, metaphor, and sustainability” at Denison University. Climate change is one of the most compelling challenges for science communication today. In this talk, Dr. Thibodeau will argue that certain metaphors for the human-environment relationship can lead people to adopt a more nuanced and responsible conception of their place in the natural world. Some metaphors are “systemic” and highlight the complexity of relationships. Other metaphors don't enforce the same level of relational structure, instead highlighting a more superficial element of a scene or event. Dr. Thibodeau will describe a series of studies designed to demonstrate that metaphoric language can be used to emphasize systemic interconnections and to impact decision- making and behavior in the context of climate change.
Dr. Thibodeau is an Assistant Professor of psychology at Oberlin College and director of the language and cognition lab. His lecture is part of the Ronneberg Lecture Series and is sponsored by the Department of Psychology and Department of Environmental Studies. The lecture is open to the public.