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Amanda Carrico



Research Assistant Professor
Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment


  • Ph.D., Psychology (Social), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • M.A., Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • B.A., Psychology, Transylvania University, Lexington, KY

Research Interests

My research broadly examines the behavioral dimension of energy use and its contribution to climate change, as well as adaptation to climate change. This includes the application of psychological and behavioral theory to examine conservation and efficiency within the individual and household sector, as well as efforts to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions associated with individual and household behavior. I also have work underway to explore responses to changing environmental conditions among resource-dependent communities in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to understand the psychologial and social factors that facilitate or constrain effective adaptation. 

Research Projects

  • Climate, Drought and Agricultural Adaptations in Sri Lanka (
    • Collaborators: George Hornberger, Lanka Thabrew, Heather Truelove, Jim Fraser, Jonathan Gilligan
    • Funding support: National Science Foundation (WSC), Vanderbilt International Office (VIO), Vanderbilt Discovery Grant Program
  • Environmental Stress & Human Migration in the Low-Lying Developing Nation of Bangladesh (
    • Collaborators: Steve Goodbred, Katherine Donato, Brooke Ackerly, Jonathan Gilligan, et al.
    • Funding support: The Office of Naval Research
  • Nashville Yard Project: Modeling the Human Dynamics of Lawn Fertilization and Resultant Nitrous Oxide Emissions
    • Collaborators: George Hornberger, James Fraser, Michael Vandenbergh, Kimberly Bess, Joshua Bazuin
    • Funding support: National Science Foundation (Hydrology & SBE)
  • Public Perceptions of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Efforts
    • Collaborators: Michael Vandenbergh, Heather Truelove, David Dana
  • Spillover effects among individuals who take pro-environmental actions.
    • Collaborators: Michael Vandenbergh, Heather Truelove, Leslie Kirby

Representative Publications & Talks


Carrico, A. R., Spoden, M., Wallston, K.A., Vandenbergh, M.P. The environmental cost of misinformation: Why the recommendation to use warm water for handwashing is problematic. International Journal of Consumer Studies, in press.

Carrico, A.R., Fraser, J. & Bazuin, J.T. (2012). Green with envy: Psychological and social predictors of lawn fertilizer application. Environment and Behavior, in press. 

Warolin, J., Carrico, A.R., Provenzano, E., Avolio, M., Whitaker, L.E., et al. (2012). Effect of BMI on prediction of accelerometry-based energy expenditure in youth. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, in press.

Carrico, A.R. Riemer, M. (2011). Motivating energy conservation in the workplace: An evaluation of the use of group-level feedback and peer education. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 31(1), 1-13.

Carrico, A.R., Vandenbergh, M.P., Stern, P.C., Gardner, G.T., Dietz, T., Gilligan, J.M. (2011). Energy and Climate Change: Key Lessons for Implementing the Behavioral Wedge. Journal of Energy and Environmental Law, 2(1), 61 - 67

Vandenbergh, M.P., Carrico, A.R., Bressman, L.S. (2011). Regulation in the behavioral era. Minnesota Law Review, 95(3), 715 - 781.

Carrico, A. R., Padgett, P., Vandenbergh, M. P., Gilligan, J. & Wallston, K. A. (2009). Costly myths: an analysis of idling behavior in personal motor vehicle idling. Energy Policy, 37, 2881-2888.

Perry, J. E., Moore, I., Barry, B., Clayton, E. W. & Carrico, A. R. (2009). The ethical health lawyer: an empirical assessment of moral decision-making. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 37 (3), 461-475.

Manuscripts in preparation

Determining paths by which farmers can adapt effectively to scarce freshwater resources (With G.M. Hornberger). 

Perceptions of environmental change and future expectations among paddy farmers in Sri Lanka. (With H. Truelove, J. Jacobi and L. Thabrew).

Does learning about climate change adaptation change support for mitigation? (With H. Truelove, M. Vandenbergh).

Temporal trends in the relationship between people, land and migration in South Asia (with K.M. Donato and B. Piya). 

Invited presentations

Carrico, A.R. (2012). Incorporating social psychology into program design. Presentation given to the EnergySavvy Customer Summit, Seattle, WA.

Carrico, A.R. (2011). Creating a Climate Resilient Environment: Social-Behavioral Responses. National Workshop, National Building Research Organization, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Carrico, A.R. (2011). Behavior and Energy: Key Insights from the Social Sciences. Panel on Smart grid Dynamics: Business Models & Consumer Acceptance. University of Texas Smart Grid Conference, Austin, TX.

Carrico, A.R., Truelove, H.B. (2010). Climate Change Adaptation in Sri Lanka: Integrating the Social Sciences. Seminar on Adaptation of Human Settlements to Climate Change, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Vandenbergh, M.P. & Carrico, A. R. (2010). Energy and Climate Change: Behavioral Lessons for Lawyers and Policymakers. Paper given at the Next Generation Energy and Law Conference, George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C.

Carrico, A.R. (2008). Effective Communication and Behavior Change. Symposium for Environmental Outreach Coordinators, Tennessee Solar Valley Coalition, Nashville, TN.

Carrico, A.R. (2008). Is Vehicle Idling a Low-Hanging Fruit: Idling Behavior and Motivations for Idling Among a Sample of US Adults. Climate Change and Consumption Conference, Vanderbilt University. 

Conference proceedings 

Hornberger, G.M. & Carrico, A.R. (2012). Determining paths by which farmers can adapt effectively to scarce freshwater resources. Talk to be given at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Jacobi, J., Carrico, A.R., Gilligan, J., Hornberger, G. (2012). Diffusion of a sustainable farming technique in Sri Lanka: An agent-based modeling approach. Talk to be given at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Truelove, H.B., Carrico, A., Thabrew, L., Jacobi, J. & Hornberger, G. (2012). Agricultural adaptation in Sri Lanka: Psychological and Environmental Influences. American Psychological Association Annual Meeting, Orlando, FA. 

Carrico, A.R., Riemer, M. (2012). Group level feedback & peer education in commercial buildings. Climate, Mind and Behavior Symposium, The Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY.

Carrico, A.R, Truelove, H.B., Vandenbergh, M., Dana, D. (2011). Does information about adaptation to climate change affect support for mitigation? Paper presented at the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change annual conference, Washington D.C., November 29 - December 2, 2011.

Carrico, A.R., Fraser, J., Bauzin, J. (2011). Exploring Factors that Shape Household Lawn Fertilization. Paper presented at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.

Carrico, A.R. (2010). Commuter Choices and Carbon Footprints: A Feasibility Study Using GPS and Accelerometry to Measure Mode of Travel Choice. Poster presented at the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference, Sacramento, CA.

Carrico, A.R., Wallston, K.A. (2010). Social desirability or acquiescence bias? A comparison of positively- and negatively-worded subscales within the Marlowe-Crowe Social Desirability Scale. Poster presented at the Society for Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.

Carrico, A.R. & Riemer, M. (2009). Motivating pro-environmental behavior in an organizational setting: the use of feedback and peer education to reduce energy use. Poster presented at the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference, Washington, D.C.

Wallston, K.A., Osborn, C.Y., & Carrico, A.R. (2009). The problem with balanced scales: Factor analyses of the perceived expectancies index. Poster presented at the Society for Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada.

Carrico, A. R. & Riemer, M. (2008). Towards an evidence-based approach to environmental behavior change programs: a case study of Vanderbilt's "ThinkOne" energy conservation campaign. Talk given at the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference, Sacramento, CA.

Carrico, A. R., Wallston, K. A., Vandenbergh, M. T. (2008). The effects of public education on pro-environmental attitudes and behavior: Results from Nashville's outreach efforts. Talk given at the National Air Quality Conferences, Portland, OR.

Carrico, A.R. (2008). Is vehicle idling a low-hanging fruit? Idling behavior and motivations for idling among a sample of U.S. adults. Talk given at the Climate Change and Consumption Conference, Nashville, TN.