Zhen Wang, Marko Jusup, Hao Guo,Lei Shi, Sunčana Geček, Madhur Anand, Matjaž Perc, Chris T. Bauch, Jürgen Kurths, Stefano Boccaletti, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber have published
Communicating sentiment and outlook reverses inaction against collective risks
Collective risks trigger social dilemmas that require balancing selfish interests and common good. One important example is mitigating climate change, wherein without sufficient investments, worldwide negative consequences become increasingly likely. To study the social aspects of this problem, we organized a game experiment that reveals how group size, communication, and behavioral type drive prosocial action. We find that communicating sentiment and outlook leads to more positive outcomes, even among culturally heterogeneous groups. Although genuine free riders remain unfazed by communication, prosocial players better endure accumulated investment deficits, and thus fight off inaction as the failure looms. This suggests that climate negotiations may achieve more by leveraging existing goodwill than persuading skeptics to act.