Austrian climate researchers are excited about manipulating children’s minds – Interested in that?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Researchers from Austria and the UK are delighted that a trial in Innsbruck, Austria successfully used children to manipulate adults, pressuring parents to participate in green charitable contributions.

Climate change: Children push parents to be more aware of global warming, study finds

Parents have chosen to invest more cash in a forestry program instead of keeping it to themselves, as they are being watched by their children

Via Sally Guyoncourt January 4, 2022 7:00pm (Updated 7:13pm)

Children are the driving force to climate conscious future, the researchers discovered – with parents show more awareness of the environment in the presence of the younger generation.

A study conducted in Innsbruck, Austria, in partnership with the University of Exeter, examined what dynamics have driven “voluntary climate action” across generations, focusing on parents and children em.

The overwhelming conclusion was that children pushed their parents to think about their future and take responsibility for their environment.

Oliver Hauser, Associate Professor of Economics at University of Exeter The School of Business, a co-author of the study, said: “When their children were involved in this decision, parents were reminded of their responsibility towards their children and the benefits of investing in the future. their future.”

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Summary of the study;

Open access


Climate Action for Children (mine)

Helena Fornwagner & Oliver P. Hauser
Resource and environmental economics episode 81, pages 95–130 (2022)


How do we foster cooperation between generations — between parents and children? Here we study voluntary climate action (VCA), an activity that costs today’s decision-makers but is essential to creating sustainable living for future generations. We predict that “child observability” is important: parents will be more likely to invest in VCA when their children observe their actions, while when adults or the child is not genetically related to observing them, the effect will be smaller. In a large-scale laboratory experiment, we observed the remarkable importance of VCA: the parents invested 82% of their €69 grant in the VCA, resulting in almost 14,000 real trees are planted. The parental VCA varies across conditions, with the greatest therapeutic effect occurring when the parent’s child is the observer. In subgroup analyses, we found that greater treatment effects occurred in parents with a high school diploma. Furthermore, the VCA is for parents who believe that climate change is most affected by the presence of their own children. In contrast, the VCA of climate change skeptical parents was most affected by the presence of children with whom they were not related. Our findings have implications for policymakers interested in designing programs that encourage voluntary climate action and intergenerational maintenance of public goods.

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Activity in this case was rather weak, parents were given 69€, presented information on climate change, then asked how much they wanted to pocket compared to how much they wanted to contribute to planting trees . The researchers were excited when parents chose to give more as their children watched them make their own decisions.

Personally, I find such child manipulation utterly disgusting, even in a testing context.

Children are vulnerable subjects, critical thinking skills are immature. They don’t have the real life experience to reject climate disaster messages and other nonsense claims.

I’m sure the researchers thought they did the right thing, and for what it’s worth, I don’t think their experiment had any long-term harm. But I found the background of the test very unsettling. Intentionally targeting children, testing whether children can help manipulate their parents’ feelings, this kind of thing sends chills down my spine.

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