Helen Fischer

Helen Fischer
Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien | KMRC

Dr.

About

34
Publications
9,784
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Citations
Introduction
Interested in the relationship of metacognition, motivated reasoning, and beliefs about politicized science. How does insight into the validity and fallibility of our own thoughts shapes beliefs about climate change, COVID-19, or vaccination? Insight into own reasoning errors and biases. Science-related misinformation.

Publications

Publications (34)
Article
Full-text available
Accurate confidence—confidence that reflects the accuracy of knowledge—can be relevant for decision-making in areas of high uncertainty. Accuracy of confidence is of particular importance in the area of climate change where scientifically correct information exists alongside misinformation in the public discourse and media. Here we assess the accur...
Article
Full-text available
To develop effective climate change policy, decision-makers need to have the best possible understanding of the available climate science. The IPCC Assessment Reports therefore aim to lay the foundation for informed political decision-making by providing policy-relevant information. But how successful are IPCC reports at communicating key findings?...
Article
One of the oldest debates in psychological research into politicized science such as nanotechnology, vaccination, or climate change centers around the role of knowledge. Does increased knowledge of the science affect beliefs about it? While research has traditionally focused on the role of object-level knowledge, here we highlight the importance of...
Article
Full-text available
Societal polarization over contested science has increased in recent years. To explain this development, political, sociological, and psychological research has identified societal macro-phenomena as well as cognitive micro-level factors that explain how citizens reason about the science. Here we take a radically different perspective, and highligh...
Article
A substantial literature shows that public polarization over climate change in the U.S. is most pronounced among the science literate. A dominant explanation for this phenomenon is that science literacy amplifies motivated reasoning, the tendency to interpret evidence such that it confirms prior beliefs. The present study tests the biasing account...
Preprint
Full-text available
A substantial number of citizens in democratic countries believe in a political media dictate, the false assumption that governments decide what mainstream and flagship journalistic outlets may report or not. Two survey studies using national German samples (N= 590 and N = 1067) revealed that more than one third of the adult population believes in...
Article
Full-text available
Mental models influence how individuals think and act in relation to their external environment and have been identified as leverage points to address sustainability challenges. Given the importance of mental models, a new tool to assess mental models has been developed: the Mental Model Mapping Tool (M-Tool). M-Tool was designed to have a standard...
Article
Full-text available
Stakeholder mental model elicitation can produce valuable insights into perceptions of complex systems such as ecosystems, economies, or the climate. These mental models can uncover crucial differences in perceptions between stakeholders and prevalent misunderstandings of the system, which can ultimately contribute to successful resource management...
Preprint
Full-text available
A substantial literature demonstrates public polarization over climate change, particularly among the science literate. The dominant explanation for this phenomenon is that science literacy amplifies directional motivated reasoning, the tendency to interpret evidence such that it confirms desired conclusions. However, the evidence regarding this bi...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the development of non-linear processes such as economic or population growth is an important prerequisite for informed decisions in those areas. In the function-learning paradigm, people's understanding of the function rule that underlies the to-be predicted process is typically measured by means of extrapolation accuracy. Here we ar...
Preprint
Full-text available
Susceptibility to COVID-19 misinformation--believing false statements to be true--negatively relates to compliance with public health measures. Here, we make the prediction that metacognitive insight into the varying accuracy of own beliefs predicts compliance with recommended health behaviors, above and beyond the accuracy of these beliefs. In a n...
Article
Full-text available
To develop effective climate change policy, decision-makers need to have the best possible understanding of the available climate science. The IPCC Assessment Reports therefore aim to lay the foundation for informed political decision-making by providing policy-relevant information. But how successful are IPCC reports at communicating key findings?...
Preprint
Full-text available
Societal polarization over contested science has increased in the recent years. To explain this worrisome trend, political, sociological, and psychological research has identified societal macro-phenomena as well as cognitive micro-level factors that explain how citizens reason about the science. Here we take a radically different perspective, and...
Method
Full-text available
A new app, called M-Tool, has been developed by researchers at Heidelberg University and Tanzanian Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) as part of the MultiTip project. M-Tool is an innovative app that allows users to capture people's perceptions of complex systems (or mental models) with mobile devices, and can be tailored to map perceptions of a...
Preprint
Full-text available
One of the oldest debates in psychological research into politicized science such as nanotechnology, vaccination, or climate change centers around the role of knowledge: Does increased knowledge of the science affect beliefs about it? While research has traditionally focused on the role of object-level knowledge, here we highlight the importance of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding the development of non-linear processes such as economic or population growth is an important prerequisite for informed decisions in those areas. In the function-learning paradigm, people’s understanding of the function rule that underlies the to-be predicted process is typically measured by means of extrapolation accuracy. Here we ar...
Article
Invoking health benefits to promote climate-friendly household behavior has three unique advantages: (i) health co-benefits accrue directly to the acting individual, they are "private goods" rather than public ones; (ii) the evidence base for, and magnitude of health co-benefits is well-established; and (iii) the idea of a healthy life-style is wel...
Article
Full-text available
Through their consumption behavior, households are responsible for 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, they are key actors in reaching the 1.5 °C goal under the Paris Agreement. However, the possible contribution and position of households in climate policies is neither well understood, nor do households receive sufficiently high priority...
Article
The climate change mitigation potential of the production side has been discussed very frequently, but private citizens and households have received less systematic attention. Thus, this paper focuses on the willingness of private households to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. While many scholars study the socio-economic characteristics of pe...
Article
Full-text available
The following four key messages derive from the Lancet Countdown’s 2018 report: 1 Present day changes in heat waves, labour capacity, vector-borne disease, and food security provide early warning of the compounded and overwhelming impact on public health that are expected if temperatures continue to rise. Trends in climate change impacts, exposures...
Article
Full-text available
Graphs are prevalent in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), often depicting key points and major results. However, the popularity of graphs in the IPCC reports contrasts with a neglect of empirical tests of their understandability. Here we put the understandability of three graphs taken from the Health chapter of th...
Article
Full-text available
Background It is now universally acknowledged that climate change constitutes a major threat to human health. At the same time, some of the measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so-called climate change mitigation measures, have significant health co-benefits (e.g., walking or cycling more; eating less meat). The goal of limiting global warm...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction For 28 years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been assessing the potential risks associated with anthropogenic climate change. Although interest in climate change and health is growing, the implications arising from their interaction remain understudied. Generating a greater understanding of the health impacts...
Article
Predicting the development of dynamic processes is vital in many areas of life. Previous findings are inconclusive as to whether higher working memory capacity (WMC) is always associated with using more accurate prediction strategies, or whether higher WMC can also be associated with using overly complex strategies that do not improve accuracy. In...
Article
Full-text available
It is a truism, but unfortunately not true: policy-relevant climate information should be communicated such that non-scientists can understand. Through their assessment reports, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) periodically assesses global climate research, and creates “Summaries for Policymakers” (SPM) which constitute a synops...
Article
Stocks and flows (SF) are building blocks of dynamic systems: Stocks change through inflows and outflows, such as our bank balance changing with withdrawals and deposits, or atmospheric CO2 with absorptions and emissions. However, people make systematic errors when trying to infer the behavior of dynamic systems, termed SF failure, whose cognitive...
Article
Full-text available
In dynamic system control, cognitive mechanisms and abilities underlying performance may vary depending on the nature of the task. We therefore investigated the effects of system structure and its interaction with cognitive abilities on system control performance. A sample of 127 university students completed a series of different system control ta...
Article
Full-text available
Background.Stock-flow (SF) problems are ubiquitous in nature, ranging from the accumulation of water in a tub to the accumulation of CO 2 in the atmosphere. However, research on SF failure repeatedly demonstrates that people have severe difficulties understanding even the most basic SF problems. Purpose. This study tested the hypothesis that people...
Article
Full-text available
Given the coincidence of the demographic change and climate change in the upcoming decades the aging voter gains increasing importance in climate change mitigation and adaptation processes. It is generally assumed that information status and comprehension of complex processes underlying climate change are prerequisites for adopting pro-environmenta...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
Does anyone have experience with how to prevent cheating (such as using pen and paper) in an online working memory test?
And which tests are best suited to prevent cheating?
Thank you!

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Network of phD and postDocs of Heidelberg University working on the environment.
Project
MultiTip is a research project co-designed by a team of social scientists at the Universities of Heidelberg and Kassel and fishery biologists at fisheries research institutes around Lake Victoria that will augment existing local knowledge and data by providing empirical evidence on the nature and practical exploitability of stakeholders’ awareness and understanding of ecological tipping points for the sustainable management of an economically essential renewable resources