12 Feb Adaptive capacity and human cognition: The process of individual adaptation to climate change
Adaptive capacity and human cognition: The process of individual adaptation to climate change
Global Environmental Change
Vol (No), pp
Adaptation has emerged as an important area of research and assessment among climate change scientists. Most scholarly work has identified resource constraints as being the most significant determinants of adaptation. However, empirical research on adaptation has so far mostly not addressed the importance of measurable and alterable psychological factors in determining adaptation. Drawing from the literature in psychology and behavioural economics, we develop a socio-cognitive Model of Private Proactive Adaptation to Climate Change (MPPACC). MPPACC separates out the psychological steps to taking action in response to perception, and allows one to see where the most important bottlenecks occur—including risk perception and perceived adaptive capacity, a factor largely neglected in previous climate change research. We then examine two case studies—one from urban Germany and one from rural Zimbabwe—to explore the validity of MPPACC to explaining adaptation. In the German study, we find that MPPACC provides better statistical power than traditional socio-economic models. In the Zimbabwean case study, we find a qualitative match between MPPACC and adaptive behaviour. Finally, we discuss the important implications of our findings both on vulnerability and adaptation assessments, and on efforts to promote adaptation through outside intervention.
Grothmann, T., & Patt, A. (2005). Adaptive capacity and human cognition: The process of individual adaptation to climate change. Global Environmental Change, 15(3), 199-213.