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Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Mark A. Ferguson

Mark A. Ferguson

I am interested in the role of social identity and collective emotions in fostering behavior to reduce climate change. In one series of studies, my colleague and I found that collective guilt for Americans’ greenhouse gas emissions fosters more willingness to reduce climate change than anxiety about the harmful effects of climate change on future generations. This occurred for behaviors such as greener transport choices, energy conservation, and support for greener tax policies. In another series of studies, we found that comparing an ingroup with a less pro-environmental outgroup fosters willingness to engage in pro-environmental behavior (such as supporting regulations on greenhouse emissions).

My colleagues and I are currently examining the role of social identity in fostering consumption behavior. In one series of studies, we found that a salient social identity increases the perceived need for identity-relevant luxury products (such as cell phones or iPods). In another series of studies, we found that a salient social identity also increases the amount of actual money that people are willing to pay for such products. This research complements my earlier work by examining human contributions to climate change, rather than human responses to climate change.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Ethics and Morality
  • Group Processes
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Persuasion, Social Influence
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

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Journal Articles:

  • Ferguson, M. A., & Branscombe, N. R. (2010). Collective guilt mediates the effect of beliefs about global warming on willingness to engage in mitigation behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30, 135-142.
  • Ferguson, M. A., Branscombe, N. R., & Reynolds, K. J. (2011). The effect of intergroup comparison on willingness to perform sustainable behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 31, 275-281.
  • Ferguson, M. A. & Ford, T. E. (2008). Disparagement humor: A theoretical and empirical review of psychoanalytic, superiority, and social identity theories. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 21, 283-312.

Other Publications:

  • Crandall, C. S., Ferguson, M. A., & Bahns, A. J. (2013). When we see prejudice: The normative window and social change. In C. Stangor & C. S. Crandall (Eds.), Stereotyping and prejudice (pp. 53-59). New York: Psychology Press.
  • Ferguson, M. A., & Branscombe, N. R. (in press). The social psychology of collective guilt. In C. Von Scheve & M. Salmela (Eds.), Collective emotions. New York: Oxford University Press.

Courses Taught:

  • Environmental Psychology
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Psychology of Emotion
  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Mark A. Ferguson
Department of Psychology
University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point
2100 Main Street
Stevens Point, Wisconsin 54481
United States

  • Phone: (715) 346-3959

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