Cognition (how we think about and perceive issues)
How we think about life and the world around us is a product of the sum total of our life experiences including the cultural, economic, political and social norms, our families and peer groups, and the formal and informal education we receive. No matter what society or group we belong to, our views are based and biased by our experiences. Because of this, our decision making abilities can be compromised or swayed to serve a particular set of values and agendas. Sometimes we make decisions that are not in our own or our community’s best interests.
How these cognitive blinders, filters, and traps operate is important to understanding why people sometimes oppose actions that may be good for them. Education can help to correct some of the cognitive biases that hinder sustainability action. Some of the relevant concepts that might be considered in teaching sustainability are listed below.
- Bounded rationality
- Cognitive dissonance
- Cultural inertia
- Embodied cognition
- Habits of mind
- Motivated reasoning
- Resistance to change
- Social traps
- Traditional knowledge (métis)
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