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Changing Climate, Changing Behaviors

PSL Master in Life Sciences - ENS IMaLiS
Bio-M2_E36 | Changing Climate, Changing Behaviors
Year : 2 (M2)
Semester : 1 (S1)
Duration : +/- 28 hours


Roberto Casati (Institut Jean Nicod, Department of Cognitive Studies, ENS-EHESS), casati chez
Jean-Pierre Nadal (Centre d’Analyses Mathématiques et Sociales, ENS-EHESS)


5:00-7:00 pm | Weekly, from September 28th through December 18th.
Day TBD.




Behavioral change, evaluation of public policies, climate crisis.

Course prerequisites

An interest in applied science, in evidence-based policies, in the complexity of debates about how to understand and modify individual behavior in order to produce planet-wide effects.

Course objectives and description

Aims : Climate change prevention and mitigation require behavioral change or reconfiguration of behaviors and policies.
The goal of this class is to establish a transformational contact between expertise in geoscience and biological sciences and expertise in behavioral and cognitive sciences on environmental issues.
The course :
1. Draws from the life sciences and geosciences to understand what has an impact on climate change (i.e., the causal chains) ;
2. Draws from economics to understand how to regulate and incentivize citizens and firms to go towards what has a positive impact ; and
3. Draws from the cognitive science to understand the psychological and social side of the needed change (how to understand and change individuals’ and groups’ behavior).
Organisation : The class will meet weekly over the Fall semester. Multiple guest lecturers will be featured. In addition to lecture attendance, students will sign up in pairs or small groups for a semester-long assignment – exploratory project on a pre-defined topic, with advising from one of the course instructors.


Evaluation has two components : project presentation (40% of final grade) and individual presentation of a research article (60%).

Course material

Readings and slides will be made available to students.

Suggested readings in relation with the module content