Phillip J. Ehret

PhD Social Psychologist


My research centers on leveraging the self and personal identities to motivate beneficial and proactive behaviors in the environmental, educational, and health domains. My approach is based in social psychological theory, and often incorporates other theoretical perspectives from other domains such as political psychology and health psychology. Often, my research pursuits include both laboratory and field studies.


Environment and Sustainability Research


My environment and sustainability research centers on understanding why individuals fail to engage in sustainable behaviors and do not support climate change policy despite understanding the benefits and potential positive outcomes of such actions. Specifically, I study how personal and social identities can direct specific behaviors and attitudes. I also want to explore how environmental issues such as climate change, air quality, and water pollution impact health-related decision making, and how health concerns and environmental attitudes are related.

I am also a founding member of the UCSB Water Use, Behavior, and Policy (WBP) Research Group, where we apply social psychological insights to increase water conservation behaviors, and an affiliate of UCSB's Center for Social Solutions to Environmental Problems.


Health Research


My health research centers on understanding psychological barriers that inhibit healthy and adaptive behaviors, and how psychological interventions can help individuals overcome these barriers. For instance, I am interested in pairing self-affirmation with other existing intervention approaches such as motivational interviewing or implementation intentions to create multidimensional interventions that can motivate behavior change in contexts where threats to the self are salient barriers to change.

I am also interested in how social psychological interventions can be scaled up and implemented at a broader societal level through thoughtful policy and wise implementation.