Michael Ranney, Professor

Open (1) Reasoning About Global Warming, Climate Change, (and Evolution,) and Numbers

Open. Apprentices needed for the fall semester. Please do NOT contact faculty before September 11th (the start of the 4th week of classes)! Enter your application on the web beginning August 16th. You must also bring a hard copy of your unofficial CalCentral transcript to the URAP office in 2412 Dwinelle Hall by noon on the application deadline date. You will be given full instructions after submitting the application. The deadline is Tuesday, August 29th at 8 AM.

We've explored many controversies, but global warming (and, less so, evolution) has emerged as most central. Recent project facets have focused on reasoning about global climate change and/or ways to slow or stop it. Sometimes we study (1) how numbers and/or factual information might improve conceptual understandings of climate change (/evolution), and (2) the psychological relationships among global warming, evolution, nationalism, and religious beliefs. More such studies are planned, as well as those regarding how media (e.g., see our videos in HowGlobalWarmingWorks.org) and community-based projects (e.g., direct actions) might change how people understand and/or accept global warming. We are translating our videos into non-English languages to more effectively spread the information, and need help with languages beyond Mandarin, German, etc. We also need help promoting our sites (e.g., via social media and environmental organizations), especially in foreign countries such as China.

Recent facets of our project have involved (a) asking people about the mechanism of global climate change and (b) analyzing the utilities (for journalists, students, etc.) of various numbers/statistics in changing beliefs about science-based societal policies. We also hope to (further) assess our different videos (e.g., that vary from 52 seconds to 4.7 minutes)--both amongst themselves and in contrast to our text-based and statistics-based interventions.

The apprentice's role will be determined based upon the match of the project's needs and the apprentice's availability, interests, and skill-set. The apprentice would possibly/likely be engaged in website dissemination/promotion/translation, database construction, reviewing relevant literatures, designing web-interfaces, designing experimental materials, coding/entering/analyzing data, and running experiments. We are particularly interested in people familiar in languages that many people on Earth speak, such as Arabic, Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali, Punjabi, Javanese, Malay, etc.

Qualifications: To assist in studying the phenomena of interest, the apprentice will optimally be interested in (or have experience with) experimental research in psychology or cognitive science. Computer (e.g., web-design/analysis) skills are a big plus, as is any familiarity with data analysis (e.g., statistics). Knowledge of global climate change is also desirable. Strong knowledge of a non-English language is a distinct plus (e.g., to translate our videos). Up six hours a week is usually required, and usually include attendance at a two-hour lab meeting that is usually on Fridays around 1-3 PM.

Weekly Hours: 3-6 hrs

Related website: http://HowGlobalWarmingWorks.org
Related website: http://hamschank.com/convinceme/publications.html#rtmd