Peterson Lab | Human Dimensions of Conservation Biology

Nils Peterson and the scholars affiliated with his lab work to unravel the drivers of environmental behavior on which global sustainability depends.  We use environmental education, conservation development, environmental conflict, and environmental policy making as natural experiments to test hypotheses, and occasionally run an experiment of our own!

Children Change Their Parents' Minds about Climate Change Children change their parents’ minds about climate change. Parents of children who learned about climate change expressed higher levels of climate change concern than parents in the control group. The effects were strongest among male parents and conservative parents, who, consistent with previous research, displayed the lowest levels of climate concern before the intervention. Daughters appeared to be especially effective in influencing parents. Our results suggest that intergenerational learning may overcome barriers to building climate concern.


New research on wolf poaching and self-policing 

Self-policing may play an important role in wildlife-crime.  Many (20%) of Swedish hunters stated they would  handle illegal wolf killing among friends through internal sanctions. Viewing illegal killing of wolves as a form of political resistance, and perceived prevalence of illegal wolf killing among hunting acquaintances were positive predictors of preferring internal sanctions to address illegal wolf killing over reporting the crimes. Resistance and perceived prevalence of wolf killing also predicted preferring no action in response to illegal wolf killing.


Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
Photo by David McNew

Maybe you can change people’s minds about climate change after all

Teens Learn About Climate Change. New research finds adolescents learn climate change science relatively free of pre-existing values and beliefs. (Feb 19, 2015) Listen Now


“Share the Road” Signs Don’t Work sign1_nils

Researchers George Hess and M. Nils Peterson of North Carolina State University conducted an online survey of nearly 2,000 people to find out what various road signage means to them