Fabio Boschetti,
Research Scientist,
CSIRO Ocean & Atmosphere, Australia
Complex System Science
Ecological Modelling
Decision Making & Complexity
Modelling Human Behaviour
Urban Studies
Animal Movement & Abudance
Attitudes, Social Processes & Models
Future Studies
Modelling the future of the Kimberley region
Surveys & Toy Model
Visualisation of scientific data
Book Reviews, Blogs & Ideas

Future Studies - modelling and attitudes

Future Studies
Schematic summary of the literature assessing psychological and individual traits affecting attitudes towards the future
Future attitudes
Contextual view of historical and future time scales related to forecasts and use of computer modelling

When ecological models are used to assess, say, the suitability of natural parks for conservation purposes, an ecosystem’s resilience to human pressure, the sustainability of renewable resource extraction regimes or the long-term impact of different energy production systems, their results necessarily need to be projected 5, 10, 20, 100 years into the future. Empirical evidence shows that this time horizon is longer than the one most people consider for any planning purposes. For some people, this time horizon reaches the domain of abstract thoughts, abstract images, abstract goals and abstract aspirations and fears, which relate to a sense of identity more than to the planning and decision making which the models are designed to facilitate. For other people, this time horizon may never be even considered. Stakeholders may respond very differently to these situations.

Needing some structure to rely upon, people may call upon instinctive reactions which hide deeper motivations. For example, a fairly instinctive call to fears or aspirations may trump a more rational attempt at prediction. In other cases, some people may struggle to find any structure to rely upon at all and may need to build one on the spot.

A modeller may then have to face a complex situation in which the stakeholders’ attitudes define the context of the modelling exercises and in turn, the very act of addressing the model’s time horizon may change the stakeholders’ attitudes and perception of the problem..

  • Boschetti F, Lozano-Montes, & Stelfox, 2020, Modelling regional futures at decadal scale: application to the Kimberley region, Scientific Reports, Accepted
  • Boschetti F, Walker & Price, 2016, Modelling and attitudes towards the Future, Ecological Modelling, 322, 71–81, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.11.009
  • McDonald, Hobday, Thompson, Lenton, Stephenson, Mapstone, Dutra, Bessey, Boschetti F, Cvitanovic, Bulman, Fulton, Moeseneder, Pethybridge, Plagányi, van Putten & Rothlisberg, 2019, Proactive, reactive and inactive pathways for scientists in a changing world, Earth's Future, doi:10.1029/2018EF000990
  • Boschetti F, Fulton, Griggs, 2014, Citizens’ views of Australia’s future to 2050, Sustainability, 7(1), 222-247; doi:10.3390/su7010222
  • Symons J & Boschetti F, 2012, How Computational Models Predict the Behavior of Complex Systems, Foundations of Science, 18(4), 809-821, 10.1007/s10699-012-9307-6.
  • Boschetti F, Fulton, Bradbury & Symons, 2012, What is a model, why people don’t trust them and why they should, Negotiating Our Future: Living scenarios for Australia to 2050 Vol 2, Raupach MR, McMichael AJ, Finnigan JJ, Manderson L, Walker BH Editors, Australian Academy of Science, pag 107-118.
  • Alford, Manderson, Boschetti F, Davies, Hatfield Dodds, Lowe, & Perez, 2012, Australia 2050: Social perspectives, Negotiating Our Future: Living scenarios for Australia to 2050 Vol 1, Raupach MR, McMichael AJ, Finnigan JJ, Manderson L, Walker BH Editors, Australian Academy of Science, pag 93-114.