Janet Swim

Janet Swim
Pennsylvania State University | Penn State · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

127
Publications
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Publications

Publications (127)
Preprint
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Building on previous research in existential psychology, we tested whether inducing death anxiety and death reflection differentially inhibit or inspire pro-environmental outcomes, respectively (Hypothesis 1). The outcomes we examined were of biospheric concerns, intentions to engage in environmental activism, support for population growth mitigati...
Article
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The emergence of concern about and evidence of climate change has been argued to create a cultural milieu unique to the Millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1996) and iGeneration (aka iGens or Generation Z born after 1997). The present research tested a) claims of unique angst about climate change among younger versus older generations, b)...
Article
People appear to empathize with cases of animal suffering yet to disregard such suffering when it conflicts with human needs. In three studies, we used an empathy regulation measure – the empathy selection task – to test whether people choose or avoid sharing in experiences of animals versus humans. In Study 1, when choosing between sharing experie...
Article
Since ecotourism was popularized in the late 1980s, a focus in scholarly writings on the topic has been its dual in situ mandate of biodiversity conservation and community development. As visitor education ­­gained attention, so too did research on how nature-based aspects of ecotourist experiences influence ex situ pro-environmental. Yet, research...
Article
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Although many philosophers and environmental psychologists agree that progress toward a more ecologically conscious society depends upon individuals developing a sense of connectedness to nature, such agreement is of limited use if we do not understand how connectedness forms. The purpose of this review is to delineate the state of the psychologica...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has extensively changed the state of psychological science from what research questions psychologists can ask to which methodologies psychologists can use to investigate them. In this article, we offer a perspective on how to optimize new research in the pandemic’s wake. Because this pandemic is inherently a social phenomenon—...
Article
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Public support for climate policy is necessary to enact the large-scale changes needed to mitigate climate change. We use the three-pillar model of sustainability as a conceptual framework to examine how individuals evaluate climate policies and how these evaluations predict policy support. We consider individuals’ evaluations of 1) environmental i...
Article
We suggest that policies will be less popular when individuals personally have to pay for them rather than when others have to pay (i.e., a Not Out of My Bank Account or NOMBA effect). Dual process models of persuasion suggest that personally having to pay would motivate scrutiny of persuasive messages making it essential to use effective science c...
Article
There are broad differences in popularity amongst different policies designed to address climate change. Across two studies, we explore systematic preferences across three policy attributes: 1) who is targeted: business versus individuals, 2) what is targeted: energy supply versus energy demand, and 3) how change is motivated: incentives versus dis...
Article
This research examines the extent to which four anticipatory emotional reactions (hope, anxiety, helplessness, and boredom) that arise when contemplating participating in public-sphere climate action predict intentions to engage in such action. In a large, geographically diverse sample of American adults visiting informal science learning centers (...
Chapter
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Meeting sustainability goals will be fostered by public acceptance and engagement with sustainable development. Yet, there is little baseline knowledge about how lay individuals conceptualize different aspects of sustainability. In the present chapter, we explore possibilities for lay individuals’ mental models of sustainability, using the three-pi...
Article
Recently, tourism scholars have recognized that travel can create transformation, including (1) personal benefits such as improved wellbeing and personal growth and (2) societal benefits such as increased open-mindedness and more positive pro-environmental attitudes, motivations, and behaviors. Expanding and integrating this research, this experime...
Article
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Despite Greta Thunberg's popularity, research has yet to investigate her impact on the public's willingness to take collective action on climate change. Using cross‐sectional data from a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults (N = 1,303), we investigate the “Greta Thunberg Effect,” or whether exposure to Greta Thunberg predicts collective...
Article
Drawing from the rejection-identification model, acculturation, and acceptance threat literatures, we examined how Indigenous and mainstream identification influence the effect of discrimination on acculturative and physical stress. A community sample of 126 Indigenous Alaskans reported discrimination, identification with Indigenous Alaskans and ma...
Article
Highlights • New measure of native plant attitudes gives nuanced insight into behavior. • Situational strength informs when attitudes and norms play stronger or weaker roles. • Results provide tools for researchers and practitioners from a range of disciplines.
Conference Paper
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The Critical Zone (CZ), the near surface more portion of the terrestrial Earth is a complex concept that plays a pivotal role in the food-energy-water nexus. Due to its complexity, the concept of the CZ and its components are not well understood by society. Challenges range from imagining the invisible (the soil, rock, and water beneath us) to unde...
Conference Paper
The critical zone (CZ) plays a pivotal role in the food-energy-water nexus, yet in its entirety, it is not well understood by society. Challenges range from imagining the invisible (from bedrock to soil) to understanding complex relations between the involved components. We have launched a transdisciplinary project driven by immersive technologies...
Article
With 2017 as the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the role of tourism in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring that tourism be designed and managed for sustainability is more imperative than ever. Here we present the Sustainability Insight Scale (SIS), which offers scholars and practitioners a practical to...
Article
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Although pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs) have been characterized as feminine, some PEBs are masculine suggesting that gender bending (e.g., engaging in pro-environmental behaviors inconsistent with one’s own gender) and gender conformity (e.g., engaging in pro-environmental behaviors consistent with one’s own gender) are possible for both women...
Article
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Gender plays an important role in considerations of sustainable consumption. Not only are there gender differences in the amount and type of sustainable consumption among women and men, but gender stereotypes and norms shape the way women and men think about the topic, respond to its necessity, and choose to act. Further, differences are embedded i...
Article
Scholars, government scientific research institutions, and public policy‐making entities are increasingly focusing on environmental issues from a food‐energy‐water (FEW) nexus perspective. This nexus represents the interconnection of these three systems, which are essential to human life. The FEW nexus is inherently and inescapably interdisciplinar...
Article
Environmental artists have risen to the challenge of communicating the urgency of public action to address environmental problems such as air pollution and climate change. Joining this challenge, the immersive artwork Pollution Pods (PPs) was created through a synthesis of knowledge from the fields of environmental psychology, empirical aesthetics,...
Article
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Previous research suggests that many who are concerned about climate change self-silence on the topic; failing to engage in regular discussion about climate change despite their desires to do so. This research examines how a communication training program for environmental educators working at aquariums, zoos, and national parks might boost this po...
Article
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Engagement in proenvironmental behavior can be understood in part by considering how individuals operate as members of social communities and are influenced by these communities. In the present work, we use social network analysis to explore how social network structure predicts proenvironmental behavior. We consider three types of behaviors—(a) pr...
Article
In order to address sustainability challenges, we posit that knowledge generation needs to move rapidly from a disciplinary linear ‘tree’ model to an interdisciplinary ‘web’ model. We show how such a shift is useful by looking at case studies in the context of water management.
Article
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Political marches are one of the most public and vocal means of engaging in collective action and can potentially build social movements by increasing the likelihood that bystanders become engaged with the social movement. Here, we conduct a trend study to test the impacts of two back-to-back highly visible large-scale climate change related marche...
Article
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While communication experts largely recommend avoiding climate change messages that create negative emotional states, little is known regarding how members of the public use emotions in their own communication about climate change. Given the important role individuals can play in addressing climate change via their interpersonal communication, it i...
Article
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The present work explores how gendered impressions of issue publics (i. e., those who are well-informed about, and have strong opinions about, a given topic) can predict individuals' interest in engaging in activism either consistent with the issue public's position or diametrically opposed to its position. In two studies (Ns = 286, 245) using MTur...
Chapter
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Several unique qualities associated with human‐caused climate change require psychologists to expand their ways of thinking about environmental problems. Awareness and understanding of climate change has increased since the 1980s when it first entered public consciousness. The extent to which people understand climate change is also reflected in pe...
Article
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Climate change is a global problem that is caused by humans and must be solved by humans, and while differences exist, many theories and research on prejudice and discrimination have direct connections to the psychological processes involved in climate change. Climate change is not only a geophysical issue, but an intergroup issue with justice impl...
Article
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We document the gendered nature and valence of stereotypes about each of the Six Americas climate change opinion groups that represent a continuum of climate change opinions from Dismissive to Alarmed. Results primarily supported predictions. First, the more groups were associated with strong concern about climate change, the more feminine they wer...
Article
Extending theory and research on gender roles and masculinity, this work predicts and finds that common ways of talking about climate change are gendered. Climate change policy arguments that focus on science and business are attributed to men more than to women. By contrast, policy arguments that focus on ethics and environmental justice are attri...
Article
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This article discusses the possible effects of climate change–related visual art, based on a comprehensive review of the psychological research literature. Taking a psychological perspective, potential effects of confrontation with such works of art are explored and a preliminary conceptual framework is proposed about special features of art that g...
Article
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The present paper tests the validity of using a single-item individual difference measure of climate change concern derived from the “Six Americas” project’s descriptions of the US public’s concern about climate change. The “Six Americas” project identified six segments of the US population proposed to range from the most (i.e. Alarmed) to least Co...
Article
Bridgeman (2017) describes the important role of population growth in contributing to environmental problems. The present essay argues that population is an important component of human impact on the environment, but it must be considered in combination with consumption rates. A place-based approach, examining the local context for reproductive dec...
Article
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Using the head, heart, and hands model, we examined a training program designed to catalyze national public engagement with climate change through informal science learning centers (e.g., aquariums, zoos). Survey data were collected from visitors (N = 7,285) observing 1,101 presentations at 117 U.S. institutions before and after presenters particip...
Article
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Interpersonal discussions about climate change among the public are important for creating positive social change to addressing the issue, yet a majority of the public does not regularly discuss the topic. Previous correlational research connects avoidance of climate change discussions to low efficacy about these discussions. The present research t...
Article
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The status of climate change education at nature-based museums (i.e., zoos, aquariums and nature centers) was examined, with a particular focus on centers participating in a National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) leadership training program. Study 1 revealed that, relative to nature-based museums that did not particip...
Article
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Human behaviour is integral not only to causing global climate change but also to responding and adapting to it. Here, we argue that psychological research should inform efforts to address climate change, to avoid misunderstandings about human behaviour and motivations that can lead to ineffective or misguided policies. We review three key research...
Article
Environmental challenges, though daunting, present an important area for psychologists to apply their knowledge. Psychological theories, research methods, and interventions are essential for examining the questions about human impacts, tendencies, and capacities that are integral to constructing effective responses to these challenges. Although a g...
Article
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Images of animals, particularly polar bears, harmed by climate change are often used in environmental campaigns, despite warnings of potential reactance and resultant perceived distance from the issue. As an alternative to these emotional appeals, environmental campaigns could encourage an objective (i.e., emotionally detached) perspective on clima...
Article
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Local, state, and federal governments are continuing to design and pass programs and policies to decrease demand for energy. These programs and policies provide social, economic, and environmental benefits. Social and behavioral scientists can inform policymaking and evaluation because of their expertise in behavioral change. Specifically, policies...
Article
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The preservation of open space, preserved or minimally developed stretches of land, is a pressing issue facing many United States’ communities. This paper examines one United States township’s attempts to preserve open space. Most residents surveyed (96 percent) approved of preserving open space, and most homeowners (73 percent) were willing to pay...
Article
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Educators at America’s Zoos and Aquariums have the potential to have extensive impact on the public’s knowledge about climate change. However, evidence suggests that educators at these institutions may not be taking full advantage of these opportunities. The present research suggests that about one-third to two-thirds of these educators would like...
Article
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Climate Change is a complex set of issues with large social and ecological risks. Addressing it requires an attentive and climate literate population capable of making informed decisions. Informal science educators are well-positioned to teach climate science and motivate engagement, but many have resisted the topic because of self-doubt about thei...
Article
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The validity and internal reliability for scores on four popular measures of sexist beliefs (the Modern Sexism scale, the Attitudes Toward Women scale, and the Benevolent and Hostile Sexism subscales of the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory; collected from 1994 to 1999 with college students) were tested across four U.S. ethnic groups: 174 African America...
Article
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Making pro-environmental behavior changes can be difficult, particularly when these changes challenge daily routines and comfortable lifestyles. We designed and implemented an eco-representative intervention program to help students reduce their energy use by proactively coping with barriers to pro-environmental behavior change, and then communicat...
Article
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Two studies revealed that admonishing individuals for anti-environmental behavior via interpersonal communication (i.e., confronting) increased pro-environmental behavior. Although there was some evidence that praising pro-environmental behavior resulted in the intention to do other pro-environmental behavior, this behavioral spillover was only fou...
Article
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The papers in this Special Section of Ecopsychology explore the mechanisms and benefits of confronting antienvironmental (i.e., unsustainable) behaviors as a means to encourage more environmentally friendly behavior. Confronting is important because it is a means of socially regulating behaviors that affect the common good and increases the frequen...
Article
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In two multi-part studies we tested the effectiveness of an experiential learning-based intervention (WAGES–Academic: Workshop Activity for Gender Equity Simulation) to reduce sexism endorsement. We randomly assigned undergraduates to either WAGES (n = 144) or one of two control conditions (n = 268): one where participants received the same informa...
Chapter
A nice overview of the current psychological research which can contribute to our understanding of the human dimensions of climate change.
Article
Countries can set the stage for residents’ behaviors via government and business policies and the values held within countries. This study examines German versus U.S. residents’ (predominantly students’) efforts to engage in direct and indirect behaviors that lessen their personal contribution to greenhouse gases. Consistent with country level diff...
Article
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Culture has been shown to influence response styles. The authors conducted two studies to test the notion that African Americans would be more likely to respond to racism directly, whereas Asian Americans would be more likely to respond indirectly and therefore more subtly. Study 1 showed that Black women subjected to a racist comment from a confed...
Article
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In two experiments, the present research identifies basic mechanisms for reducing endorsement of benevolent and modern sexist beliefs. Responses to attitudinal measures and a collective action measure on policy beliefs in Study 1 (N = 164) as well as to dating profiles in Study 1 and Study 2 (N = 159) support the hypothesis that endorsement of bene...
Article
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Three experiments were conducted in the United States and Germany to test whether women and men endorse sexist beliefs because they are unaware of the prevalence of different types of sexism in their personal lives. Study 1 (N = 120) and Study 2 (N = 83) used daily diaries as a method to encourage individuals “to see the unseen.” Results revealed t...
Article
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We are facing rapid changes in the global climate, and these changes are attributable to human behavior. Humans produce this global impact through our use of natural resources, multiplied by the vast increase in population seen in the past 50 to 100 years. Our goal in this article is to examine the underlying psychosocial causes of human impact, pr...
Article
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This article addresses the nature and challenge of adaptation in the context of global climate change. The complexity of "climate change" as threat, environmental stressor, risk domain, and impacting process with dramatic environmental and human consequences requires a synthesis of perspectives and models from diverse areas of psychology to adequat...
Article
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We examine factors that explain variability in attitudes toward hate crimes legislation. We find that one's posture toward the current social system directs the conditions under which characteristics of hate crimes exert the most influence. System-justification motivation is negatively related to support for hate crimes legislation (Studies 1–3). T...
Article
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Global climate change poses one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in this century. This article, which introduces the American Psychologist special issue on global climate change, follows from the report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change. In this article, we p...
Article
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This research investigated the associations between hegemonic cultural values, gender equality, and environmental protection. Psychologists have largely studied domination of people over other people (e.g., men over women) rather than domination of people over the environment. Ecofeminism, however, theorizes that hegemonic systems of power and oppr...
Article
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Women's endorsement of beliefs that prioritize others’ voices over their own (i.e., self-silencing beliefs) predicted behaviorally self-silenced to everyday, interpersonal forms of sexism. Self-silencing beliefs, which are consistent with prescriptive gender roles for women, indicate that one should avoid conflict in relationships, put others needs...
Article
Proactive coping with racial discrimination takes three forms: self-focused coping, situation-focused coping, and avoidance. Overall, African Americans used self-focused coping more than situation-focused coping or physical avoidance, though there were interesting differences between retrospective recall of racial discrimination and daily reports....
Article
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Past research examining whether experiencing heterosexism is related to negative psychological outcomes has yielded mixed results. The present research used daily diary methods to assess the effects of heterosexist daily hassles on lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals (n = 69). The results indicated unique effects of heterosexist and nonheterosex...