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Lecturer: Francesca Pongiglione

Climate change as a cognitive challenge (a.a. 2019/20)


Climate change is one of the most serious challenges the world is facing today. Yet, both institutions and individuals are not adopting significant measures in order to help mitigating it. In this course, we will explore some of the main cognitive barriers that hinder individual response. First, we will focus on climate science knowledge, investigating whether inaction might arise, at least partially, from it. This will lead us to deepen the relation between knowledge and behavior, and more specifically to identify a particular kind of knowledge that can be related to behavioral change.
After this analysis, we will explore more broadly the issue of motivation for adopting pro-environmental behavior. Further barriers will be identified and analyzed, such as the perception of individual inefficacy. Eventually, the role of social context in influencing behavior will be explored.


March 9th 2020, h. 11-13; 14-16.
March 16th 2020 , h. 11-13; 14-16.
March 23rd 2020, h. 11-13.

March 16th 2020: 11-13 > lesson via zoom
March 16th 2020: 14-16 > individual activity
March 23rd 2020: 11-13 > lesson via zoom
March 23rd 2020: 14-16 > individual activity
March 30th 2020: 11-13 > lesson via zoom



  • Norgaard, K. M. (2009). Cognitive and behavioral challenges in responding to climate change. Policy Research, Working Paper 4940, The World Bank, Development Economics, World Development Report Team.
  • Pongiglione, F. (2014). Motivation for adopting pro-environmental behaviours: the role of social context. Ethics, Policy and Environment, 17, 3; pp. 308-323;
  • Pongiglione, F. (2012). The key role of causal explanation in the climate change issue. Theoria—An International Journal of Philosophy of Science, 27/2, 175–188.
  • Tasquier, G., Pongiglione, F. (2017). Knowledge and Behaviour in the Climate Change Issue: Results From Teaching/Learning Experiences at Secondary School Level. International Journal of Science Education.


The evaluation will be based on an oral exam.

Credits: 2


Tipologia corso : Tipo b

Periodo: Semestre II

Anno accademico: 2019-2020

Luogo : Università San Raffaele

Durata : 10 ore