GABRIELLE WONG-PARODI is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth System Science and Center Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Her research focuses on applying behavioral decision research methods to address challenges associated with global environmental change. Dr. Wong-Parodi uses behavioral decision science approaches to create evidence-based strategies for informed decision making, with a particular focus on building resilience and promoting sustainability in the face of a changing climate. She has a background in energy resources, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and risk perceptions of emerging technologies, such as unconventional shale gas development. She was an invited speaker at the Sackler Colloquia at the National Academy of Sciences on the Science of Science Communication. She recently served on the National Academy of Sciences committee titled "Long-term Coastal Zone Dynamics: Interactions and Feedbacks between Natural and Human Processes and their Implications for the U.S. Coastline." Dr. Wong-Parodi is a faculty affiliate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is the social science research liaison for the Climate Advocacy Lab. Dr. Wong-Parodi received her B.S. in Psychology at the University of California Berkeley, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Risk Perceptions and Communication from the University of California, Berkeley.
PhD, University of California, Berkeley, Social and Behavioral Sciences (Energy and Resources Group) (2011)
MA, University of California, Berkeley, Social and Behavioral Sciences (Energy and Resources Group) (2007)
BA, University of California, Berkeley, Psychology (2003)
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
My research uses a decision science approach for informing the development of behaviorally realistic policies and strategies for meeting the challenge of global environmental change. I am primarily interested in understanding and enhancing adaptive responses to this change given the rich context of people's lives in order to promote long-term resiliency and sustainability. The approach draws from the social and behavioral sciences and involves three interrelated activities: formal analysis, characterizing the choices a fully informed actor would take; descriptive research, examining how people actually behave in those circumstances; and interventions, designed to create viable, effective options and help decision makers choose among them. Each activity requires substantive collaboration with experts (e.g., climatologists, geologists, engineers, hydrologists, regulatory analysts) and continuing engagement with decision makers. A decision science approach is flexible enough to allow me to (1) translate model outputs into useful and actionable terms (e.g., decision aid that translates climate model outputs into terms decision makers can understand and use), (2) integrate social/behavioral science into terms that can be used and integrated into models (e.g., identify realistic weighting for Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) on carbon capture and storage (CCS) development), and (3) use diverse tools to gather and analyze data (e.g., machine learning techniques to analyze utility documents to predict the impact of climate policies on decision making). I have used this approach to work on a diverse set of decisions regarding the risks of global environmental change (e.g. sea-level rise, natural disasters, infectious diseases, etc.) and possible solutions (e.g., carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency, autonomous vehicles, etc.).
Current projects include: investigating behavioral responses to hurricanes and sea-level rise; developing and testing decision support tools to enhance adaptive capacity and health outcomes; investigating awareness of and behavioral responses to wildfire smoke and informational campaigns; investigating behavioral drivers of the adoption and use of emerging transportation services and technologies.
- Decision Science for Environmental Threats
EARTHSYS 227, ESS 227 (Aut)
- Hard Earth: Development's Dilemmas
CEE 126Z, EARTH 126Z (Spr)
- Hard Earth: Environmental Justice
CEE 126X, EARTH 126X (Aut)
- Hard Earth: Stanford Graduate-Student Talks Exploring Tough Environmental Dilemmas
CEE 126Y, EARTH 126Y (Win)
- Shaping the Future of the Bay Area
CEE 118Y, CEE 218Y, GEOPHYS 118Y, GEOPHYS 218Y (Win)
Independent Studies (1)
- Graduate Research
ESS 400 (Aut, Spr)
- Graduate Research
- The politics of Asian fracking: Public risk perceptions towards shale gas development in China ENERGY RESEARCH & SOCIAL SCIENCE 2019; 54: 46–55
- Encouraging energy conservation at work: A field study testing social norm feedback and awareness of monitoring ENERGY POLICY 2019; 130: 197–205
- Describing the users: Understanding adoption of and interest in shared, electrified, and automated transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH PART D-TRANSPORT AND ENVIRONMENT 2019; 71: 283–301
- Generating linked technology-socioeconomic scenarios for emerging energy transitions APPLIED ENERGY 2019; 239: 1402–23
- Solar PV as a mitigation strategy for the US education sector ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS 2019; 14 (4)
A Decision-Centered Method to Evaluate Natural Hazards Decision Aids by Interdisciplinary Research Teams.
Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis
There is a growing number of decision aids made available to the general public by those working on hazard and disaster management. When based on high-quality scientific studies across disciplines and designed to provide a high level of usability and trust, decision aids become more likely to improve the quality of hazard risk management and response decisions. Interdisciplinary teams have a vital role to play in this process, ensuring the scientific validity and effectiveness of a decision aid across the physical science, social science, and engineering dimensions of hazard awareness, option identification, and the decisions made by individuals and communities. Often, these aids are not evaluated before being widely distributed, which could improve their impact, due to a lack of dedicated resources and guidance on how to systematically do so. In this Perspective, we present a decision-centered method for evaluating the impact of hazard decision aids on decisionmaker preferences and choice during the design and development phase, drawing from the social and behavioral sciences and a value of information framework to inform the content, complexity, format, and overall evaluation of the decision aid. The first step involves quantifying the added value of the information contained in the decision aid. The second involves identifying the extent to which the decision aid is usable. Our method can be applied to a variety of hazards and disasters, and will allow interdisciplinary teams to more effectively evaluate the extent to which an aid can inform and improve decision making.
View details for PubMedID 30698283
- Neither a borrower nor a lender be: Beyond cost in energy efficiency decision-making among office buildings in the United States ENERGY RESEARCH & SOCIAL SCIENCE 2019; 47: 37–45
- The politics of Asian fracking: Public risk perceptions towards shale gas development in China Energy Research & Social Science 2019
- How to reach the users: Understanding use and interest in shared, alternative-fuel, and automated transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 2019
- To co-produce or not to co-produce NATURE SUSTAINABILITY 2018; 1 (12): 722–24
- Integrating technical, economic and cultural impacts in a decision support tool for energy resource management in the Navajo Nation ENERGY STRATEGY REVIEWS 2018; 22: 136–46
- Factors Influencing (Mal)adaptive Responses to Natural Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Matthew WEATHER CLIMATE AND SOCIETY 2018; 10 (4): 747–68
- Effect of Risk and Protective Decision Aids on Flood Preparation in Vulnerable Communities WEATHER CLIMATE AND SOCIETY 2018; 10 (3): 401–17
- Framing clean energy campaigns to promote civic engagement among parents ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS 2018; 13 (3)
- The role of psychology and social influences in energy efficiency adoption ENERGY EFFICIENCY 2018; 11 (2): 371–91
Change in Public Concern and Responsive Behaviors Toward Air Pollution Under the Dome.
Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis
This study evaluates the effect of the documentary Under the Dome on the concern and responsive behaviors of the public regarding air pollution in China, with two surveys conducted before and after watching the documentary. Employing difference-in-differences regression, this study answers two research questions: (1) Does Under the Dome change public concern about air pollution? (2) Does Under the Dome change public behaviors in response to air pollution, including protective behaviors (i.e., wearing face masks) and mitigation behaviors (i.e., reducing car driving)? We find that the information campaign (1) protects against the decline of public concern about air pollution in Beijing and (2) moderates the degree to which people's perceived severity, perceived susceptibility, and sense of self-efficacy influence protective behaviors and moderates the degree to which people's belief in the cooperative behaviors by others influences mitigation behaviors. This study provides evidence that information campaigns of the Under the Dome type are effective in raising public awareness; however, the information campaign did not directly influence public protective and mitigation behaviors.
View details for PubMedID 30170339
Public Understanding of Ebola Risks: Mastering an Unfamiliar Threat
2018; 38 (1): 71–83
Ebola was the most widely followed news story in the United States in October 2014. Here, we ask what members of the U.S. public learned about the disease, given the often chaotic media environment. Early in 2015, we surveyed a representative sample of 3,447 U.S. residents about their Ebola-related beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Where possible, we elicited judgments in terms sufficiently precise to allow comparing them to scientific estimates (e.g., the death toll to date and the probability of dying once ill). Respondents' judgments were generally consistent with one another, with scientific knowledge, and with their self-reported behavioral responses and policy preferences. Thus, by the time the threat appeared to have subsided in the United States, members of the public, as a whole, had seemingly mastered its basic contours. Moreover, they could express their beliefs in quantitative terms. Judgments of personal risk were weakly and inconsistently related to reported gender, age, education, income, or political ideology. Better educated and wealthier respondents saw population risks as lower; females saw them as higher. More politically conservative respondents saw Ebola as more transmissible and expressed less support for public health policies. In general, respondents supported providing "honest, accurate information, even if that information worried people." These results suggest the value of proactive communications designed to inform the lay public's decisions, thoughts, and emotions, and informed by concurrent surveys of their responses and needs.
View details for PubMedID 28597480
Effect of Using an Indoor Air Quality Sensor on Perceptions of and Behaviors Toward Air Pollution (Pittsburgh Empowerment Library Study): Online Survey and Interviews.
JMIR mHealth and uHealth
2018; 6 (3): e48
Air quality affects us all and is a rapidly growing concern in the 21st century. We spend the majority of our lives indoors and can be exposed to a number of pollutants smaller than 2.5 microns (particulate matter, PM2.5) resulting in detrimental health effects. Indoor air quality sensors have the potential to provide people with the information they need to understand their risk and take steps to reduce their exposure. One such sensor is the Speck sensor developed at the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. This sensor provides users with continuous real-time and historical PM2.5 information, a Web-based platform where people can track their PM2.5 levels over time and learn about ways to reduce their exposure, and a venue (blog post) for the user community to exchange information. Little is known about how the use of such monitors affects people's knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors with respect to indoor air pollution.The aim of this study was to assess whether using the sensor changes what people know and do about indoor air pollution.We conducted 2 studies. In the first study, we recruited 276 Pittsburgh residents online and through local branches of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where the Speck sensor was made available by the researchers in the library catalog. Participants completed a 10- to 15-min survey on air pollution knowledge (its health impact, sources, and mitigation options), perceptions of indoor air quality, confidence in mitigation, current behaviors toward air quality, and personal empowerment and creativity in the spring and summer of 2016. In our second study, we surveyed 26 Pittsburgh residents in summer 2016 who checked out the Speck sensor for 3 weeks on the same measures assessed in the first study, with additional questions about the perception and use of the sensor. Follow-up interviews were conducted with a subset of those who used the Speck sensor.A series of paired t tests found participants were significantly more knowledgeable (t25=-2.61, P=.02), reported having significantly better indoor air quality (t25=-5.20, P<.001), and felt more confident about knowing how to mitigate their risk (t25=-1.87, P=.07) after using the Speck sensor than before. McNemar test showed participants tended to take more action to reduce indoor air pollution after using the sensor (χ225=2.7, P=.10). Qualitative analysis suggested possible ripple effects of use, including encouraging family and friends to learn about indoor air pollution.Providing people with low- or no-cost portable indoor air quality monitors, with a supporting Web-based platform that offers information about how to reduce risk, can help people better express perceptions and adopt behaviors commensurate with the risks they face. Thus, thoughtfully designed and deployed personal sensing devices can help empower people to take steps to reduce their risk.
View details for PubMedID 29519779
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5864999
- Preparing for local adaptation: a study of community understanding and support CLIMATIC CHANGE 2017; 145 (3-4): 413–29
Informing Public Perceptions About Climate Change: A 'Mental Models' Approach
SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING ETHICS
2017; 23 (5): 1369–86
As the specter of climate change looms on the horizon, people will face complex decisions about whether to support climate change policies and how to cope with climate change impacts on their lives. Without some grasp of the relevant science, they may find it hard to make informed decisions. Climate experts therefore face the ethical need to effectively communicate to non-expert audiences. Unfortunately, climate experts may inadvertently violate the maxims of effective communication, which require sharing communications that are truthful, brief, relevant, clear, and tested for effectiveness. Here, we discuss the 'mental models' approach towards developing communications, which aims to help experts to meet the maxims of effective communications, and to better inform the judgments and decisions of non-expert audiences.
View details for PubMedID 27752964
Behind the Carbon Curtain The Energy Industry, Political Censorship, and Free Speech (Book Review)
2017; 356 (6336): 385
View details for PubMedID 28450602
Development and Testing of the MyHealthyPregnancy App: A Behavioral Decision Research-Based Tool for Assessing and Communicating Pregnancy Risk
JMIR MHEALTH AND UHEALTH
2017; 5 (4): e42
Despite significant advances in medical interventions and health care delivery, preterm births in the United States are on the rise. Existing research has identified important, seemingly simple precautions that could significantly reduce preterm birth risk. However, it has proven difficult to communicate even these simple recommendations to women in need of them. Our objective was to draw on methods from behavioral decision research to develop a personalized smartphone app-based medical communication tool to assess and communicate pregnancy risks related to preterm birth.A longitudinal, prospective pilot study was designed to develop an engaging, usable smartphone app that communicates personalized pregnancy risk and gathers risk data, with the goal of decreasing preterm birth rates in a typically hard-to-engage patient population.We used semistructured interviews and user testing to develop a smartphone app based on an approach founded in behavioral decision research. For usability evaluation, 16 participants were recruited from the outpatient clinic at a major academic hospital specializing in high-risk pregnancies and provided a smartphone with the preloaded app and a digital weight scale. Through the app, participants were queried daily to assess behavioral risks, mood, and symptomology associated with preterm birth risk. Participants also completed monthly phone interviews to report technical problems and their views on the app's usefulness.App use was higher among participants at higher risk, as reflected in reporting poorer daily moods (Odds ratio, OR 1.20, 95% CI 0.99-1.47, P=.08), being more likely to smoke (OR 4.00, 95% CI 0.93-16.9, P=.06), being earlier in their pregnancy (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.02-1.12, P=.005), and having a lower body mass index (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.00-1.15, P=.05). Participant-reported intention to breastfeed increased from baseline to the end of the trial, t15=-2.76, P=.01. Participants' attendance at prenatal appointments was 84% compared with the clinic norm of 50%, indicating a conservatively estimated cost savings of ~US $450/patient over 3 months.Our app is an engaging method for assessing and communicating risk during pregnancy in a typically hard-to-reach population, providing accessible and personalized distant obstetrical care, designed to target preterm birth risk, specifically.
View details for PubMedID 28396302
- Plans and Prospects for Coastal Flooding in Four Communities Affected by Sandy WEATHER CLIMATE AND SOCIETY 2017; 9 (2): 183–200
- Public awareness and perception of environmental, health and safety risks to electricity generation: an explorative interview study in Switzerland/13669877.2017.1391320 Journal of Risk Research 2017: 1-16
- Perceptions of electricity-use communications: effects of information, format, and individual differences JOURNAL OF RISK RESEARCH 2017; 20 (9): 1132–53
- Fact and Fiction in Global Energy Policy 15 Contentious Questions (Book Review) SCIENCE 2016; 353 (6303): 997
- A decision science approach for integrating social science in climate and energy solutions NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE 2016; 6 (6): 563–69
Stakeholder perceptions of water systems and hydro-climate information in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
2016; 3 (3)
View details for DOI 10.1186/s40322-016-0035-x
- Eliciting public concerns about an emerging energy technology: The case of unconventional shale gas development in the United States ENERGY RESEARCH & SOCIAL SCIENCE 2015; 8: 139–50
- Energy development and Native Americans: Values and beliefs about energy from the Navajo Nation ENERGY RESEARCH & SOCIAL SCIENCE 2015; 7: 1–11
- The impacts of political cues and practical information on climate change decisions ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS 2015; 10 (3)
- Leveraging Pittsburgh's Energy Efficiency Social Network to Predict Next Adopters ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY. 2015: 920–21
- Resilience vs. Adaptation: Framing and action CLIMATE RISK MANAGEMENT 2015; 10: 1–7
- A method to evaluate the usability of interactive climate change impact decision aids CLIMATIC CHANGE 2014; 126 (3-4): 485–93
Team science for science communication
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2014; 111: 13658–63
Natural scientists from Climate Central and social scientists from Carnegie Mellon University collaborated to develop science communications aimed at presenting personalized coastal flood risk information to the public. We encountered four main challenges: agreeing on goals; balancing complexity and simplicity; relying on data, not intuition; and negotiating external pressures. Each challenge demanded its own approach. We navigated agreement on goals through intensive internal communication early on in the project. We balanced complexity and simplicity through evaluation of communication materials for user understanding and scientific content. Early user test results that overturned some of our intuitions strengthened our commitment to testing communication elements whenever possible. Finally, we did our best to negotiate external pressures through regular internal communication and willingness to compromise.
View details for PubMedID 25225381
Risks and risk governance in unconventional shale gas development.
Environmental science & technology
2014; 48 (15): 8289-8297
A broad assessment is provided of the current state of knowledge regarding the risks associated with shale gas development and their governance. For the principal domains of risk, we identify observed and potential hazards and promising mitigation options to address them, characterizing current knowledge and research needs. Important unresolved research questions are identified for each area of risk; however, certain domains exhibit especially acute deficits of knowledge and attention, including integrated studies of public health, ecosystems, air quality, socioeconomic impacts on communities, and climate change. For these, current research and analysis are insufficient to either confirm or preclude important impacts. The rapidly evolving landscape of shale gas governance in the U.S. is also assessed, noting challenges and opportunities associated with the current decentralized (state-focused) system of regulation. We briefly review emerging approaches to shale gas governance in other nations, and consider new governance initiatives and options in the U.S. involving voluntary industry certification, comprehensive development plans, financial instruments, and possible future federal roles. In order to encompass the multiple relevant disciplines, address the complexities of the evolving shale gas system and reduce the many key uncertainties needed for improved management, a coordinated multiagency federal research effort will need to be implemented.
View details for DOI 10.1021/es502111u
View details for PubMedID 24983403
The Role of Initial Affective Impressions in Responses to Educational Communications: The Case of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-APPLIED
2014; 20 (2): 126–35
Emerging technologies promise potential benefits at a potential cost. Developers of educational communications aim to improve people's understanding and to facilitate public debate. However, even relatively uninformed recipients may have initial feelings that are difficult to change. We report that people's initial affective impressions about carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), a low-carbon coal-based electricity-generation technology with which most people are unfamiliar, influences how they interpret previously validated education materials. As a result, even individuals who had originally self-identified as uninformed persisted in their initial feelings after reading the educational communication-though perseverance of feelings about CCS was stronger among recipients who had originally self-identified as relatively informed (Study 1). Moreover, uninformed recipients whose initial feelings were experimentally manipulated by relatively uninformative pro-CCS or anti-CCS arguments persisted in their manipulated feelings after reading the educational communication, due to evaluating the educational communication in line with their manipulated impressions (Study 2). Hence, our results suggest that educational communications will have more impact if they are disseminated before people form strong feelings about the topic under consideration, especially if these are based on little to no factual understanding.
View details for PubMedID 24708355
Public perceptions of local flood risk and the role of climate change
Environment Systems and Decisions
2014; 34 (4)
View details for DOI 10.1007/s10669-014-9513-6
- Effects of simplifying outreach materials for energy conservation programs that target low-income consumers ENERGY POLICY 2013; 62: 1157–64
- Creating an in-home display: Experimental evidence and guidelines for design APPLIED ENERGY 2013; 108: 448–58
Influencing Attitudes toward Carbon Capture and Sequestration: A Social Marketing Approach
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
2011; 45 (16): 6743–51
Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), while controversial, is seen as promising because it will allow the United States to continue using its vast fossil fuel resources in a carbon-constrained world. The public is an important stakeholder in the national debate about whether or not the U.S. should include CCS as a significant part of its climate change strategy. Understanding how to effectively engage with the public about CCS has become important in recent years, as interest in the technology has intensified. We argue that engagement efforts should be focused on places where CCS will first be deployed, i.e., places with many "energy veteran" (EV) citizens. We also argue that, in addition to information on CCS, messages with emotional appeal may be necessary in order to engage the public. In this paper we take a citizen-guided social marketing approach toward understanding how to (positively or negatively) influence EV citizens' attitudes toward CCS. We develop open-ended interview protocols, and a "CCS campaign activity", for Wyoming residents from Gillette and Rock Springs. We conclude that our participants believed expert-informed CCS messages, embedded within an emotionally self-referent (ESR) framework that was relevant to Wyoming, to be more persuasive than the expert messages alone. The appeal to core values of Wyomingites played a significant role in the citizen-guided CCS messages.
View details for DOI 10.1021/es201391g
View details for Web of Science ID 000293758400005
View details for PubMedID 21728279
- Economics of residential gas furnaces and water heaters in US new construction market ENERGY EFFICIENCY 2010; 3 (3): 203–22
- Community perceptions of carbon sequestration: insights from California ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS 2009; 4 (3)
- The Role of Social Factors in Shaping Public Perceptions of CCS: Results of Multi-State Focus Group Interviews in the US ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV. 2009: 4665–72
- Environmental non-government organizations' perceptions of geologic sequestration ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS 2008; 3 (2)
- Comparing price forecast accuracy of natural gas models and futures markets ENERGY POLICY 2006; 34 (18): 4115–22