Article for the Culture & Conscience series at the Center for Humans and Nature.

If we assume our evolutionary predispositions represent hardware, we can consider both culture and the conscience as software.

Read more here

Public shaming can make the world a better place

The discussion about 21st-century shaming usually turns to cases in which an otherwise well-behaved person posts a tweet or photograph that results in excessive punishment by an anonymous and bloodthirsty online crowd which ruins that person’s life for a while. Many people, myself included, object to this form of vigilantism. But other examples of shaming — singling out big banks for environmental destruction, exposing countries for refusing to end forced labour or calling out denialists who undermine action on climate change — challenge the mistreated tweeter as shaming’s stereotype. What shaming largely is, after all, is not necessarily what shaming might be. Read more at WIRED.CO.UK.

Is Shame Necessary in The Brooklyn Rail

“Guilt only needs to be addressed by the self, whereas shame can force change in others’ behavior. Shame can scale and its target need not be human. A company or an industry can be shamed, but they cannot feel guilty as these entities lack consciences. This important distinction is central to Jacquet’s thesis: abandon guilt and turn to shame as the tool for resolving collective action problems.” Read more in The Brooklyn Rail.

Article for the Mind & Morality series at the Center for Humans and Nature.

We are not built to solve climate change, but we were also not not built to solve it.

Read more here.

The anthropocebo effect: a psychological condition that exacerbates human-induced damage — a certain pessimism about humanity that leads us to accept humans as a geologic force and destruction as inevitable.

Jacquet, J. (2013) The Anthropocebo Effect. Conservation Biology 27:898-899. Response to the annual question.

How do we encourage personal savings and investment? Answers to this question, revealed through new analyses in experimental economics, provide insight into how to encourage collective savings and investment in our future through ecological conservation. There are three lessons to be learned.

Jacquet, J. (2009) What can conservationists learn from investor behavior? Conservation Biology 23(3): 518-519.