skip to main content

Title: Social dimensions of fertility behavior and consumption patterns in the Anthropocene
We consider two aspects of the human enterprise that profoundly affect the global environment: population and consumption. We show that fertility and consumption behavior harbor a class of externalities that have not been much noted in the literature. Both are driven in part by attitudes and preferences that are not egoistic but socially embedded; that is, each household’s decisions are influenced by the decisions made by others. In a famous paper, Garrett Hardin [G. Hardin, Science 162, 1243–1248 (1968)] drew attention to overpopulation and concluded that the solution lay in people “abandoning the freedom to breed.” That human attitudes and practices are socially embedded suggests that it is possible for people to reduce their fertility rates and consumption demands without experiencing a loss in wellbeing. We focus on fertility in sub-Saharan Africa and consumption in the rich world and argue that bottom-up social mechanisms rather than top-down government interventions are better placed to bring about those ecologically desirable changes.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Award ID(s):
1636476
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10212869
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume:
117
Issue:
12
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
6300 to 6307
ISSN:
0027-8424
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Purpose Social vulnerability in the context of disaster management refers to the sociodemographic characteristics of a population and the physical, social, economic, and environmental factors that increase their susceptibility to adverse disaster outcomes and capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist, and recover from disaster events. Because disasters do not impact people equally, researchers, public health practitioners, and emergency managers need training to meet the complex needs of vulnerable populations. Design/methodology/approach To address gaps in current education, the CONVERGE initiative, headquartered at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, developed the Social Vulnerability and Disasters Training Module. This free online course draws on decades of research to examine the factors that influence social vulnerability to disasters. Examples of studies and evidence-based programs are included to illuminate common methods for studying social vulnerability and ways that research can guide practice. To evaluate the module, all trainees completed a pre- and post-training questionnaire. Findings Between July 2019 and September 2021, 1,089 people completed the module. Wilcoxon signed rank tests demonstrated a significant perceived increase in self-rated knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA). Students, members of historically underrepresented populations, and those new to or less experienced in the field, had the greatestmore »perceived increase. Practical implications This training module can help participants understand the specific needs of socially vulnerable populations to help reduce human suffering from disasters. Originality/value This article describes a novel web-based training and offers evaluation data showing how it can help educate a broad hazards and disaster workforce on an important topic for disaster management.« less
  2. During emergencies, it is often necessary to evacuate vulnerable people to safer places to reduce loss of lives and cope with human suffering. Shelters are publically available places to evacuate, especially for people who do not have any other choices. This paper overviews emergency shelter planning in disaster mitigation and preparation and discusses the need for better responding to people who need to evacuate during emergencies. Recent evacuation studies pay attention to integrating social factors into evacuation modeling for better prediction of evacuation decisions. Our goal is to address the impact of social behavior on the sheltering choices of evacuees and to explore the potential contributions of including social network characteristics in the decision-making process of authorities. We present the shelter utilization problem in South Carolina during Hurricane Florence and discuss an agent-based modeling approach that considers social community structures in modeling the shelter choice behavior of socially connected individuals
  3. The Colorado River Basin (CRB) supports the water supply for seven states and forty million people in the Western United States (US) and has been suffering an extensive drought for more than two decades. As climate change continues to reshape water resources distribution in the CRB, its impact can differ in intensity and location, resulting in variations in human adaptation behaviors. The feedback from human systems in response to the environmental changes and the associated uncertainty is critical to water resources management, especially for water-stressed basins. This paper investigates how human adaptation affects water scarcity uncertainty in the CRB and highlights the uncertainties in human behavior modeling. Our focus is on agricultural water consumption, as approximately 80% of the water consumption in the CRB is used in agriculture. We adopted a coupled agent-based and water resources modeling approach for exploring human-water system dynamics, in which an agent is a human behavior model that simulates a farmer’s water consumption decisions. We examined uncertainties at the system, agent, and parameter levels through uncertainty, clustering, and sensitivity analyses. The uncertainty analysis results suggest that the CRB water system may experience 13 to 30 years of water shortage during the 2019–2060 simulation period, dependingmore »on the paths of farmers’ adaptation. The clustering analysis identified three decision-making classes: bold, prudent, and forward-looking, and quantified the probabilities of an agent belonging to each class. The sensitivity analysis results indicated agents whose decision making models require further investigation and the parameters with the higher uncertainty reduction potentials. By conducting numerical experiments with the coupled model, this paper presents quantitative and qualitative information about farmers’ adaptation, water scarcity uncertainties, and future research directions for improving human behavior modeling.« less
  4. Mobile robots are increasingly populating homes, hospitals, shopping malls, factory floors, and other human environments. Human society has social norms that people mutually accept; obeying these norms is an essential signal that someone is participating socially with respect to the rest of the population. For robots to be socially compatible with humans, it is crucial for robots to obey these social norms. In prior work, we demonstrated a Socially-Aware Navigation (SAN) planner, based on Pareto Concavity Elimination Transformation (PaCcET), in a hallway scenario, optimizing two objectives so the robot does not invade the personal space of people. This article extends our PaCcET-based SAN planner to multiple scenarios with more than two objectives. We modified the Robot Operating System’s (ROS) navigation stack to include PaCcET in the local planning task. We show that our approach can accommodate multiple Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) scenarios. Using the proposed approach, we achieved successful HRI in multiple scenarios such as hallway interactions, an art gallery, waiting in a queue, and interacting with a group. We implemented our method on a simulated PR2 robot in a 2D simulator (Stage) and a pioneer-3DX mobile robot in the real-world to validate all the scenarios. A comprehensive set of experimentsmore »shows that our approach can handle multiple interaction scenarios on both holonomic and non-holonomic robots; hence, it can be a viable option for a Unified Socially-Aware Navigation (USAN).« less
  5. Abstract: 100 words Jurors are increasingly exposed to scientific information in the courtroom. To determine whether providing jurors with gist information would assist in their ability to make well-informed decisions, the present experiment utilized a Fuzzy Trace Theory-inspired intervention and tested it against traditional legal safeguards (i.e., judge instructions) by varying the scientific quality of the evidence. The results indicate that jurors who viewed high quality evidence rated the scientific evidence significantly higher than those who viewed low quality evidence, but were unable to moderate the credibility of the expert witness and apply damages appropriately resulting in poor calibration. Summary: <1000 words Jurors and juries are increasingly exposed to scientific information in the courtroom and it remains unclear when they will base their decisions on a reasonable understanding of the relevant scientific information. Without such knowledge, the ability of jurors and juries to make well-informed decisions may be at risk, increasing chances of unjust outcomes (e.g., false convictions in criminal cases). Therefore, there is a critical need to understand conditions that affect jurors’ and juries’ sensitivity to the qualities of scientific information and to identify safeguards that can assist with scientific calibration in the courtroom. The current project addresses thesemore »issues with an ecologically valid experimental paradigm, making it possible to assess causal effects of evidence quality and safeguards as well as the role of a host of individual difference variables that may affect perceptions of testimony by scientific experts as well as liability in a civil case. Our main goal was to develop a simple, theoretically grounded tool to enable triers of fact (individual jurors) with a range of scientific reasoning abilities to appropriately weigh scientific evidence in court. We did so by testing a Fuzzy Trace Theory-inspired intervention in court, and testing it against traditional legal safeguards. Appropriate use of scientific evidence reflects good calibration – which we define as being influenced more by strong scientific information than by weak scientific information. Inappropriate use reflects poor calibration – defined as relative insensitivity to the strength of scientific information. Fuzzy Trace Theory (Reyna & Brainerd, 1995) predicts that techniques for improving calibration can come from presentation of easy-to-interpret, bottom-line “gist” of the information. Our central hypothesis was that laypeople’s appropriate use of scientific information would be moderated both by external situational conditions (e.g., quality of the scientific information itself, a decision aid designed to convey clearly the “gist” of the information) and individual differences among people (e.g., scientific reasoning skills, cognitive reflection tendencies, numeracy, need for cognition, attitudes toward and trust in science). Identifying factors that promote jurors’ appropriate understanding of and reliance on scientific information will contribute to general theories of reasoning based on scientific evidence, while also providing an evidence-based framework for improving the courts’ use of scientific information. All hypotheses were preregistered on the Open Science Framework. Method Participants completed six questionnaires (counterbalanced): Need for Cognition Scale (NCS; 18 items), Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT; 7 items), Abbreviated Numeracy Scale (ABS; 6 items), Scientific Reasoning Scale (SRS; 11 items), Trust in Science (TIS; 29 items), and Attitudes towards Science (ATS; 7 items). Participants then viewed a video depicting a civil trial in which the defendant sought damages from the plaintiff for injuries caused by a fall. The defendant (bar patron) alleged that the plaintiff (bartender) pushed him, causing him to fall and hit his head on the hard floor. Participants were informed at the outset that the defendant was liable; therefore, their task was to determine if the plaintiff should be compensated. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 6 experimental conditions: 2 (quality of scientific evidence: high vs. low) x 3 (safeguard to improve calibration: gist information, no-gist information [control], jury instructions). An expert witness (neuroscientist) hired by the court testified regarding the scientific strength of fMRI data (high [90 to 10 signal-to-noise ratio] vs. low [50 to 50 signal-to-noise ratio]) and gist or no-gist information both verbally (i.e., fairly high/about average) and visually (i.e., a graph). After viewing the video, participants were asked if they would like to award damages. If they indicated yes, they were asked to enter a dollar amount. Participants then completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Modified Short Form (PANAS-MSF; 16 items), expert Witness Credibility Scale (WCS; 20 items), Witness Credibility and Influence on damages for each witness, manipulation check questions, Understanding Scientific Testimony (UST; 10 items), and 3 additional measures were collected, but are beyond the scope of the current investigation. Finally, participants completed demographic questions, including questions about their scientific background and experience. The study was completed via Qualtrics, with participation from students (online vs. in-lab), MTurkers, and non-student community members. After removing those who failed attention check questions, 469 participants remained (243 men, 224 women, 2 did not specify gender) from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds (70.2% White, non-Hispanic). Results and Discussion There were three primary outcomes: quality of the scientific evidence, expert credibility (WCS), and damages. During initial analyses, each dependent variable was submitted to a separate 3 Gist Safeguard (safeguard, no safeguard, judge instructions) x 2 Scientific Quality (high, low) Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Consistent with hypotheses, there was a significant main effect of scientific quality on strength of evidence, F(1, 463)=5.099, p=.024; participants who viewed the high quality evidence rated the scientific evidence significantly higher (M= 7.44) than those who viewed the low quality evidence (M=7.06). There were no significant main effects or interactions for witness credibility, indicating that the expert that provided scientific testimony was seen as equally credible regardless of scientific quality or gist safeguard. Finally, for damages, consistent with hypotheses, there was a marginally significant interaction between Gist Safeguard and Scientific Quality, F(2, 273)=2.916, p=.056. However, post hoc t-tests revealed significantly higher damages were awarded for low (M=11.50) versus high (M=10.51) scientific quality evidence F(1, 273)=3.955, p=.048 in the no gist with judge instructions safeguard condition, which was contrary to hypotheses. The data suggest that the judge instructions alone are reversing the pattern, though nonsignificant, those who received the no gist without judge instructions safeguard awarded higher damages in the high (M=11.34) versus low (M=10.84) scientific quality evidence conditions F(1, 273)=1.059, p=.30. Together, these provide promising initial results indicating that participants were able to effectively differentiate between high and low scientific quality of evidence, though inappropriately utilized the scientific evidence through their inability to discern expert credibility and apply damages, resulting in poor calibration. These results will provide the basis for more sophisticated analyses including higher order interactions with individual differences (e.g., need for cognition) as well as tests of mediation using path analyses. [References omitted but available by request] Learning Objective: Participants will be able to determine whether providing jurors with gist information would assist in their ability to award damages in a civil trial.« less