Virtual Reality and The Psychology of Climate Change

Markowitz, D.M., Bailenson, J.N. (2021). Virtual Reality and The Psychology of Climate Change, Current Opinion in Psychology,


Researchers and practitioners have used Virtual Reality (VR) as a tool to understand attitudes and behaviors around climate change for decades. As VR has become more immersive, mainstream, and commercially available, it has also become a medium for education about climate issues, a way to indirectly expose users to novel stimuli, and a tool to tell stories about anti-environmental activity. This review explicates the relationship between VR and climate change from a psychological perspective and offers recommendations to make virtual experiences engaging, available, and impactful for users. Climate change is perhaps the most urgent global issue of our lifetime with irreversible consequences. It therefore requires innovative experiential approaches to teach its effects and modify attitudes in support of pro- environmental actions.