We are faced with a number of global challenges that threaten our very existence: population growth, sustainability, climate change, racism and all of its consequences including inequality and conflict. These challenges all require us to adapt and change our everyday behaviour. We have all heard the arguments, and most recognise the need for change. So why is there so little actual change in terms of what we do? Professor Geoff Beattie suggests in this lecture that we may need to think differently about the way the human mind works if we are to understand why human behaviour is so destructive and maladaptive and if we are to promote genuine, adaptive, behaviour change. He suggests that as a starting point, we must recognise that people don’t actually have a mind – they have two, and this may hold the key as to why people behave in the way that they do. Human beings have ‘a divided self’ and the way that the two separate systems interact may ultimately hold the key to our survival. There will be a particular focus on two areas – sustainability and racism, where he explores how implicit and unconscious processes direct much of our everyday behaviour with significant implications for us all. These two areas are explored in two of his recent books Why Aren’t We Saving the Planet? A Psychologist’s Perspective and Our Racist Heart? An Exploration of Unconscious Prejudice in Everyday Life, both were published by Routledge.
Professor Geoff Beattie was a Keynote Speaker at The European Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences 2015 (ECP2015) in Brighton, England.
Professor Geoff Beattie
Geoff Beattie is Professor of Psychology at Edge Hill University. Previously, he was Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester and a Professorial Research Fellow in the Sustainable Consumption Institute at that university. He was also Visiting Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2012. He received his PhD from Trinity College Cambridge and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has also been President of the Psychology Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the author of 19 books, with various Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Brazilian, Italian, Finnish and German editions and over 100 articles in academic journals, including Nature and Nature Climate Change. He was awarded the Spearman Medal by the BPS for ‘published psychological research of outstanding merit’, and the Mouton d’Or for the best paper in semiotics in 2010. In the past five years his research has been funded by the ESRC, the E.U. through the FP7 framework, the British Academy, Tesco and Unilever. He has presented a number of television programmes on BBC1 (Life’s Too Short; Family SOS), Channel 4 (Dump Your Mates in Four Days) and UKTV (The Farm of Fussy Eaters). He was also the resident on-screen psychologist for Big Brother for eleven series on Channel 4, specialising in body language and social behaviour. His latest book Our Racist Heart? An Exploration of Unconscious Prejudice in Everyday Life (Routledge, 2013) investigated the possible role of implicit bias linked to ethnicity in a variety of everyday situations. It was one of the editor’s highlights in the American Psychological Association’s review journal Choice.