Professor Sabine Pahl
Honorary Professor of Applied Social Psychology
School of Psychology (Faculty of Health)
Please note my contact details from 15th October 2020:
Professor Sabine Pahl
Urban and Environmental Psychology Group
Faculty of Psychology
University of Vienna
I will remain affiliated with the University of Plymouth to facilitate ongoing collaborations and projects, but will not regularly check the Plymouth e-mail account. Please contact me at sabine.pahl[at]univie.ac.at instead.
2006-2012 – Lecturer in Psychology, University of Plymouth, UK
2003-2006 – Lecturer in Psychology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
2002-2003 – ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Sheffield, UK
2002 – PhD in Psychology, University of Sheffield, UK
1999 – Diplom in Psychology, University of Bremen, Germany
1998 – MSc in Social and Applied Psychology, University of Kent, UK
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie (DGPs); Fachgruppe Umweltpsychologie
European Association of Social Psychology (EASP)
International Association for People-Environment Studies (IAPS)
IAPS Restorative Environments Network
International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)
Roles on external bodies
Board member of Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) – 2017-2020
Honorary Associate Professor, University of Exeter – since 2015
Member of the Strategic Advisory Group for UKRI's Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources (SMMR) Programme – since 2020
Member of the ESRC Peer Review College – since 2015
President-Elect / Secretary of the International Association of Applied Psychology (http://www.iaapsy.org/) Environmental Division – since 2020 / 2014
Member of the Editorial Board for Microplastics and Nanoplastics – since 2020
Member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Environmental Psychology – since 2018
Member of the Editorial Board for Environment & Behaviour – since 2014
Affiliate Member of the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning University of British Columbia, Canada – since 2011
Member of United Nations GESAMP Working Group 40 – 2014-2017
Affiliate Member of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry – since 2010
Keywords: Behaviour Change; Marine Environments; Marine Litter and Microplastics; Energy Efficiency; Psychology of Sustainability: Attitudes, Perceptions, Motivations, Social Processes; Restorative Effects of Natural Environments; Social Cognition.
Research focus. I am an Environmental Psychologist doing basic and applied research and specialised in interdisciplinary collaboration. My applied work focuses on perceptions, attitudes and behaviour change, particularly in the areas of plastic pollution, energy efficiency, and protection of natural environments. I also investigate the restorative effects of natural environments, including the use of natural environments in healthcare. My basic reseach has been in social cognition, e.g., construal level and memory and judgmental and self-other biases such as unrealistic optimism.
Grants & Publications. I have been involved in attracting funding in excess of £45m since 2010 (approx. £2.5m as Principal Investigator) from UK research councils (EPSRC & ESRC), UK government departments (DEFRA & DECC), EU funding bodies (ESIF, FP7, H2020) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Publications include papers in Nature Human Behaviour and Scientific Reports, with more than 60 peer-review publications since 2010 (google h-factor = 29). I currently serve on the Editorial Boards of the two leading journals in the field, Journal of Environmental Psychology (since 2018) and Environment & Behavior (since 2014).
Impact. My projects typically span research and application in interdisciplinary teams. I have provided science advice and input into policy at national, European and international levels, always contributing psychological and behavioural science perspectives. At the international level, I have worked on two microplastics reports with the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Pollution (GESAMP WG40, http://www.gesamp.org/), and I am currently leading a UNEP-funded global stocktake of actions against plastic pollution. I was co-chair of an interdisciplinary working group that reported to the EU Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (SAPEA, 2019, https://www.sapea.info/topics/microplastics/), and I have contributed to a G7 working group in Oct 2019 and a WHO working group in March 2020.
What is Environmental Psychology? https://tinyurl.com/BookletEP
- Dr. Isabel Richter, RF Blue Communities
- Dr. Julie Goodhew, RF UNEP stocktake
- Dr. Rebecca Hafner, RF EnerGAware (joint project with Dr. Alba Fuertes and Dr. Rory Jones), now at the University of Bath
- Dr. Adorkor Bruce-Konuah, RF EnerGAware, (joint project with Dr. Alba Fuertes and Dr. Rory Jones), now a lecturer at the University of Plymouth
- Dr. Hazel Gibson, RF ERDF United Downs, (joint project with Prof Iain Stewart), now at the European Geosciences Union
- Dr. Christine Boomsma, RF enerGAware, now at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
- Dr. Julie Goodhew RF Thermal Imaging http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/jagoodhew, now Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth
- Dr. Bonny Hartley, RF MARLISCO, now at the University of Greenwich
- Dr. Karin Tanja-Dijkstra, RF Natural Environments and VR in Healthcare, now at Saxion University of Applied Sciences
- Dr. Katherine Ashbullby, RF Blue Gym
Invited talks & panels (selection)
- Pahl, S. (2019). The human dimension: Risk perception and communication. GESAMP International Workshop on assessing the risks associated with plastics and microplastics in the marine environment. Geneva, May.
- Pahl, S. (2019). Theme 5: Behaviour. DEFRA Marine Plastic Pollution Workshop and Evidence Review. Invited Talk. London, March.
- Pahl, S. (2019). How can social and behavioural sciences help reduce marine litter? Invited talk at Arctic Frontiers. Tromso, January.
- Pahl, S. (2019). Launch of SAPEA report. Invited talk at “Experts Workshop: Environmental and Health Impacts of Microplastic Pollution - from scientific evidence to policy advice”. Brussels, January.
- Panel member representing social and behavioural sciences with Tamara Galloway, Brendan Godley (both University of Exeter), John Schofield (University of York), Erik van Sebille (University of Utrecht), discussion led by Liz Bonin, Galapagos Day, Galapagos Conservation Trust, London, Royal Geographical Society, November 2017
- Pahl, S. (2017). The human dimension: how behavioural sciences can help address plastic pollution in the environment. Royal Society of Chemistry event “Microplastic Pollution: Everyone’s problem - but what can be done about it?” London, October.
This workshop was covered in International Environmental Technology, Nov/Dec 2017, Vol. 27(6); Foundation for Water Research Newsletter November 2017; Royal Society of Chemistry Newsletter Water Forum, Autumn / Winter 2017, Vol 18(2).
- Pahl, S. (2017). The human dimension: How behavioural sciences can help protect marine ecosystems. Workshop “Harnessing Citizen Behaviour Change to Protect Coral Ecosystems” hosted by UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre in partnership with UN Environment, Pierre-Yves Cousteau and Reef World Foundation. David Attenborough Building, Cambridge, UK, September.
- Pahl, S. (2017). On-stage cross-over dialogue between Engineering & SSH Research (panel discussion at the PERSON event “No Energy Transition without the Social Sciences and Humanities: Why a PERSONal approach is needed”). Brussels, Belgium, June.
- Pahl, S. (2017). The human dimension: How social and behavioural research can help address marine litter. Summer School “Plastics in Marine and Freshwater Environments. UNESCO / International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change / BFG. Koblenz, Germany, July.
- Pahl, S., & Thompson, R. C. (2017). Plastics in our Ocean: Science and Society. Port Eliot Festival, UK, July.
- Steg, L. & Pahl, S. (2016). Influencing Consumer’s Energy Behaviour Dublin. Consumers, Economics and Energy Systems Workshop. Energy Institute Dublin and ESIPP, Dublin, October.
- Pahl, S. (2016) eViz: Energy Visualisation for Carbon reduction. Cardiff University School of Architecture .
- Pahl, S. (2016). Interdisciplinary research for a sustainable energy transition: the energy visualisation (eViz) Project. Keynote speech for PERSON network at the EU Sustainable Energy Week, Brussels, Belgium, June.
- Pahl, S., Wyles., K., Carroll, L. & Thompson, R. C. (2016). Fishing for Litter (FFL) Evaluation. DEFRA Seminar, London, UK, March.
- Pahl, S. (2015). eViz: Energy Visualisation for Carbon reduction. From virtual reality to thermal imaging. MENS meeting, London, UK, December.
- Pahl, S. (2015). eViz: Energy Visualisation for Carbon reduction. Symposium in honour of Prof Cees Midden’s retirement. Eindhoven, Netherlands, October.
- Pahl, S. (2015). eViz: Energy Visualisation for Carbon reduction. From virtual reality to organisational context. BuildTEDDI Annual event with Innovate UK and KTN. London, UK, October (video available from https://tv.theiet.org/?event=3541)
- Pahl, S. (2015). Visualising Energy for Behaviour Change. Insights from the eViz Project. Cardiff University International Speaker Series, co-hosted by Psychology and Architecture, March.
- SAPEA, Science Advice for Policy by European Academies. (2019). A Scientific Perspective on Microplastics in Nature and Society. Berlin: SAPEA.
- Westerhoff, L., Cote, S., Chu, A.-M., Sheppard, S. R. J., Burch, S. & Pahl, S. (2017). Motivating energy efficiency retrofits through community-based thermal imaging: Implications for research and p ractice in BC. PICS White Paper. Available from: https://pics.uvic.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/Thermal_Imaging_WP_WEB.pdf
- GESAMP (2016). ”Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: Part two of a global assessment” (Kershaw, P. J. & Rochman, C. M., eds.). (IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP/UNDP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). Rep. Stud. GESAMP No. 93, 220p. Available from http://www.gesamp.org/
- Chu, A.-M., Westerhoff, L., Sheppard, S., Storey, S., Goodhew, J., Fox, M., Goodhew, S. & Pahl, S. (2016). Exploring the Use of Thermal Imagery for the Promotion of Residential Energy Efficiency Retrofits. Report prepared for the City of Vancouver, June.
- Baztan, B., Jorgensen, B., Pahl, S, Thompson, R. C., Vanderlinden, J.-P. (Eds.) MICRO 2016: Fate and Impact of Microplastics in Marine Ecosystems. From the Coastline to the Open Sea. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
- GESAMP (2015, IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment - a global assessment. GESAMP Reports & Studies Series. Available from http://ec.europa.eu/environment/marine/good-environmental-status/descriptor-10/pdf/GESAMP_microplastics%20full%20study.pdf
- Stone, B., Guest, R., Pahl, S., & Boomsma, C. (2014). Exploiting gaming technologies to visualise dynamic thermal qualities of a domestic dwelling: Technical and human factor challenges. Proceedings from BEHAVE’14, Oxford, UK.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
- Christine Boomsma (Director of Studies; F/T 2009 - 2012): Visual images as a motivational bridge to pro-environmental behaviour: A cognitive approach. Viva passed January 2013.
- Julie Goodhew (co-supervisor; P/T 2007-2013): Thermal images as prompts for energy-saving behaviour. Viva passed May 2013.
- Lauren Carroll (Director of Studies; F/T 2009 - 2013): The effect of choice set size and other choice architectures on decisions to volunteer. Viva passed September 2013.
- Kayleigh Wyles (Director of Studies; F/T Oct 2010 - 2014): Rocky shores - From habitat threat to marine awareness and restorative experiences. Viva passed February 2014.
- Becky Jenkin (European Centre for Environment and Human Health; co-supervisor; F/T 2011-2015): Blue Gym 4 kids.
- Debbie Cracknell (Director of Studies; P/T Oct 2010-2016): The restorative potential of public aquariums: Psychological and physiological effects of viewing sub-aquatic environments.
- Hazel Gibson (SoGEES - CRES; co-supervisor; F/T 2012-2016). Underground Britain: Public perceptions of and attitudes to the subsurface.
- Carolyn Arnold (Falmouth College; co-supervisor; F/T since Oct 2011): Storytelling as a paradigm for promoting pro-environmental behaviour. Viva passed September 2017.
Current PhD students:
- Leanne Martin (Director of Studies, F/T since October 2017). Using Natural Environments to Reduce Craving: Affective and Cognitive Mechanisms. ESRC funding.
- Sohvi Nuojua (co-supervisor, F/T since October 2017). Marine Litter: Can behavioural sciences help reduce land-based waste entering the oceans?. Charity funding.
- Francesca Tirotto (co-supervisor, F/T since October 2017). Psychological and social factors in new types of energy: The case of deep geothermal. ERDF funding.
- Sophie Davison (University of Exeter, co-supervisor, F/T since January 2018). Public perceptions of the risks and benefits of marine ecosystems for human health and wellbeing: An environmental psychology approach.
External PhDs examined:
- Nina Lockwood, University of Sussex, June 2010, "Motivations for mountain climbing: The role of risk."
- Laura Rennie, Sheffield University, January 2011, "The role of perspective in visualising health behaviours: Effects on motivation and behaviour."
- Alexander Van der Jagt, University of Aberdeen, November 2013, "Restorative environments: Why the saliency of natural and built scene content matters"
- Hyunji Kim, University of Cambridge, January 2014, "Construal level theory and economic decision making: Psychological distance as a de-biasing tool"
- Aimie Hope, Sheffield University, April 2016, "Little green lies: Exploring compensatory beliefs within the environmental domain."
- Tom Holmes, University of York, May 2017, "Social-Environmental Effects of Coastal Storms in the UK"
Grants & contracts
Pahl, S. & Thompson, R. C. (2019-2023). Plymouth work package £260k in EU H2020 Innovative Training Network Limnoplast, for an interdisciplinary PhD Fellowship in the area of microplastics; our position will look at the behavioural dimension of reducing microplastics (total value ca. €4m), led by the University of Bayreuth.
Pahl, S. & Thompson, R. C. (2019-2020). Stock taking exercise on current actions to eliminate marine plastic litter and microplastics including awareness raising, behaviour change, capacity building. $190k, UNEP.Thompson, R. C. & Pahl, S. (2019-2022). Plymouth work package £266k in EU cross-channel Interreg project Preventing Plastic Pollution working with different sectors incl. fishing, tourism (total value £14m incl. co-financing), led by Queen Mary University London.
Sheppard et al. (2018-2020) Scaling-up Social Mobilization on Climate Change with Digital Tools (total value ca.200k CAD). Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada (SSHRC – PDG; named collaborator).
Stewart, I., Rodwell,L., Pahl, S. & Martin, J. (2018-2022). Plymouth work package ca. £470k in EU H2020 RURITAGE – Rural regeneration through systemic heritage-led strategies project (total value ca. €10m) led by the University of Bologna, Italy.
Stewart, I., Pahl, S. & Anderson, A. (2017-2020). Plymouth work package £374k in EU ESIF project led by Geothermal Engineering Limited, overall value £18m, European Regional Development Fund.
Pahl, S.(2018-2021). Blue Communities (Project 12). Global Challenges Research Fund.Plymouth work package £358k in project led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory(PI : Prof Mel Austen), overall value £6.6m, RCUK/NERC.
Fuertes, A. et al. EnerGAware: Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing communities. Feb 2015 - Feb 2018, Plymouth work package 300k in €2m EU H2020 project.
Pahl, S., de Wilde, P. et al. (2012-2016). eViz – Energy Visualisation for Carbon Reduction. EPSRC multi-centre grant with the Universities of Bath, Birmingham and Newcastle £1,876,000, with £1,125,000 to Plymouth. (Post docs Christine Boomsma and Julie Goodhew).
Thompson, R. C. & Pahl, S. (2012-2015). Marine Litter in European Seas: Social Awareness and Co-Responsibility (MARLISCO). Plymouth Work Package £300k in £4,100,000 EU-FP7 Grant. (Post doc Bonny Hartley and Research Assistant Matthew Holland).
Sheppard, S., Pahl, S. City of Vancouver Thermal Imaging pilot project. University of British Columbia and Plymouth University. Plymouth work package CAD10k in CAD34k project.
Goodhew, J. et al. (2015). Solar gain visualised through thermal imaging. ISSR small grant, Plymouth University, £3k.
Anderson, A. et al. (2015). Public perception of microbeads. ISSR small grant, Plymouth University, £2.5k.
White, M. P., Pahl, S. & Depledge, M (2010-2016). The restorative potential of sub-aquatic environments. Studentship awarded by NMA: Deborah Cracknell.
Thompson, R. C. & Pahl, S. (2014). Evaluation of Fishing for Litter programme (variation). DEFRA: 19k. Research Assistant: Kayleigh Wyles then Lauren Carroll.
Pahl, S. & Carroll, L. (2013). SmallEvaluation of Stepping Stones programme. Plymouth City Council, SteppingStones: 2.5k. RA: Lauren Carroll.
Attrill, M., Pahl, S., Thompson, R. C. & Wyles, K. (2013). The benefits of engaging with the Marine Centre at Wembury Beach. University of Plymouth Community Research Award: £9k. Research Assistant: Lauren Carroll.
Goodhew, S., Pahl, S. & De Wilde, P. (2013). Thermal imaging intervention as part of Cornwall together. Eden Project, funding from DECC, £65k.
Pahl, S. & Thompson, R. (2010-13). Human Well-being and Habitat Threat in Marine Environments. ESRC/NERC Studentship: Kayleigh Wyles.
Pahl, S., White, M. P., Andrade, J. & May, J.(2010-13). Dental anxiety, nature exposure and virtual reality. (University of Plymouth: approx. £100k [postdoc Karin Tanja-Dijkstra]).
White, M. P., Pahl, S. & Depledge, M. (2010-13). Blue Gym: The health and well-being effects of blue space. (University ofPlymouth: approx. £120k [post doc Kat Ashbullby]).
Wyer, N., Pahl, S. & Perfect, T. (2010-13). Construal, processing style and memory for social events.(ESRC: £240k). RA: Jean Roper.
Depledge, M., Pahl, S. & Lilley, A.(2010-2013). Seeing is Believing. (European Centre for Environment and Human Health, PCMD [post doc WillStahl-Timmins])
White, M. P., Pahl, S. & Edworthy, J. (2009-12). Choice Architectures and Volunteering. UoP Faculty of Science PhD Studentship: Lauren Carroll.
Pahl, S. (2011). Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) Fellowship, British Columbia, Canada, March.
Pahl, S. (2011). International Networking Scheme University of Plymouth, for research visit to the University of British Columbia, March.
LeFroy,M., LeFroy, E., White, M. & Pahl, S. (2010). Surf to success / surfing for success. (Ecominds: 20k awarded to GB Boardriders CIC).
Butel, L., Pahl, S. & Memery, J. (2009-11). The psychology of giving to independent schools. Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Plymouth College (TechnologyStrategy Board: £81k).
Pahl, S. (2009-10). Optimism, pessimism and pro-environmental engagement. (Seale-HayneEducational Trust: £2k).
Pahl, S. & White, M. P. (2008-09). Predicting and improving satisfaction with a rewarding activity: Volunteering for the Samaritans. (University of Plymouth: £8k).
Pahl, S. (2006). Self-activation and betting behaviour. Dr. German Schweiger Spende: €1k.
Pahl, S. (2006-08). Role models, social comparison & gender: Effects on career aspirations of men and women. University of Erlangen: €9k.
Pahl, S. (2005-06). Linguistic norms and the focus effect in self-other comparisons. EAESP Postdoctoral Seedcorn Grant: €2k.
Pahl, S. (2002-03). ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship: £26k.
Key publications are highlightedJournals