Scientific findings on decision-making from behavioural sciences such as behavioural economics and psychology, are increasingly used to inform policy that addresses environmental problems such as: i) water and energy conservation, ii) private investments in more efficient technologies such as fuel efficient cars, iii) sustainable consumption patterns such as preventing food waste, iv) environmental regulation compliance by firms, and v) individual and business participation in voluntary conservation schemes.
Human actions and decision-making are often at the root of problems such as eutrophication, water pollution, reduced fish catch, and hybridization. Therefore, MultiTip would like to investigate these processes to inform the sustainable management of large lake systems.
Decision-making processes may be subject to a number of biases. For example, experimental evidence shows that people systematically misinterpret the expected effects of low-probability events, that if they occur, would have severe implications (disasters, biodiversity loss, etc.). Such limitations in risk perceptions can lead to suboptimal levels of insurance and risk prevention in large lake systems. Moreover, people tend to prefer the reduction of private risk over a collective risk, which exacerbates the sustainable management of a large lake.
Another factor that affects decision-making is the use of heuristics, i.e., rules of thumb that simplify decisions and perceptions. These heuristics may impact how people understand and interpret lake ecosystems, and hence the way they make decisions about its use and conservation.
Examples of specific research topics and research areas that could be carried out under the MultiTip project:
- How individual risk reduction affects correlated overall risk in the lake's socio-ecological system, with application to aquaculture.
- Behavioral effects of being closer or further from an abrupt and irreversible ecological shift (tipping point), with application to different leadership regimes.
- The impact of mental models of large lake systems on decision-making in relation to pollution management.
- The relation between mental models and compliance with capture fishing regulations.