Dr Astrid Kause

Dr Astrid Kause


Prior to joining the Centre for Decision Research in Leeds, I was based at the University of Burgundy, France; the University of Klagenfurt, Austria; the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin; and the University of Konstanz, Germany. Here, I studied health and climate risk perception and communication, as well as related behaviours. I also explored from a game theory perspective how individuals share different types of resources, like water.

My current focus is on human judgements and decisions in the environmental and climate domain. This includes how individuals perceive climate evidence - what shapes their understanding of (uncertain) scientific knowledge. I also explore mechanisms of pro-environmental behaviours. Inspired by the ecological rationality framework from decision sciences, my research goal is to improve the intuitive design of decision environments in order to help individuals make better informed decisions when facing complex challenges such as climate change.

My research has been funded by grants from the University of Klagenfurt, the Max Planck Society, Leeds University Business School and the University of Lund (Sweden), the German Academic Exchange Service and the Society for Risk Analysis-Europe.

Research interests

I study how individuals communicate and behave in the face of uncertain and complex challenges like climate change. This involves transparent and simple communication of scientific evidence, such as more or less uncertain probability estimates. Such evidence is often communicated in ambiguous ways through various numerical and graphical formats. Those can easily be misunderstood, either because individuals interpret them through the lense of their more general underlying beliefs or because displays are misleading, unclear or too complex. My aim is both to identify communication formats that are easy to understand and transparent (like in the medical domain) and to find out which individual characteristics (like numeracy, graph literacy, environmental values and political attitudes) shape perception of (uncertain) climate and medical evidence.

Examples of my work include: the role of framing effects in verbal communications of uncertain climate evidence (Kause, Townsend & Gaissmaier, 2019); a theoretical framework using sampling theory for describing different types of uncertainty in the environmental domain (Galesic, Kause & Gaissmaier, 2016); and a study on how individuals share non monetary ressources that become increasingly scarce (Kause, Vitouch & Glueck, 2018).

I further explore social mechanisms of change towards climate-friendly behaviours (Kause, Galesic & Gaissmaier, under revision). At the same time, I have a strong interest in real-world applications of my findings in order to enhance better informed decisions in face of climate change consequences such as extreme weather (Taylor, Kause, Summers & Harrowsmith, under revision; Kause, Bruine de Bruin, Mittal, Fung, Dessai & Lowe, in prep.). This includes studying how experts use calibrated uncertainty language for communicating climate information (Kause, Bruine de Bruin, Persson, Thoren, Dessai, Vareman, & Wallin, in prep.). I explore decision environments in order to delineate simple and effective rules of thumb (‚prescriptive heuristics‘) that help individuals decreasing the climate impact of their daily food choices (Kause, Bruine de Bruin, Millward-Hopkins & Olsson, submitted). My research is inspired by the research program on fast and frugal heuristics and the ecological rationality framework.

Prior to joining the Centre for Decision Research and the School of Earth and Environment in 2017, I completed my doctoral studies at the Center for Adaptive Behaviour and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute fur Human Development in Berlin and the University of Konstanz, Germany.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Research groups and institutes

  • Energy and Climate Change Mitigation