Photo of Cindy Frantz
  • Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies


  • BA, Williams College, 1991
  • MS, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1996
  • PhD, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2000


I am a social and environmental psychologist with a strong interest in statistics. I teach social psychology, and an advanced seminar on the psychology of social conflict. My research focuses broadly on humans’ relationship with the natural world, with an emphasis on promoting sustainable behavior.

Past research in collaboration with Steve Mayer suggests that both individuals and the environment benefit when people feel connected to the natural world. With Professors John Petersen, Rumi Shammin, and Deborah Roose, I study the potential for feedback technology ( ) to encourage conservation behavior, connect humans back to the natural world, and promote systems thinking. I also direct the Community-Based Social Marketing Research Project, a collaborative research program among faculty, students, and staff to develop, test, and promote behavior change programs that reduce Oberlin College’s carbon emissions.

  • Frantz, C.M., Flynn, B., *Atwood, S., *Mostow, D., *Lang, C. & *Kahl, S. (In press).  Changing Energy Behavior Through Community Based Social Marketing. The Contribution of Social Sciences to Sustainable Development at Universities. Springer.
  • Handley, G., Frantz, C. M., Kokovsky, P., & DeVries, D., Cook, S. & Claussen, J. (In press). Is There Evidence of Gender Differences in the American Fisheries Society’s Peer Review Process?  Fisheries. 
  • Frantz, C. M. & Mayer, F. S.  (2014). The importance of connection to nature in assessing environmental education programs.  Studies in Educational Evaluation, 41, 85 - 89.
  • Frantz, C. M.  (2014). Tapping into core social motives to drive sustainability transformation. The Solutions Journal, 5, 31 – 34.
  • Petersen, J.E., Frantz, C.M., & Shammin, Md R. (2014). Using Sociotechnical Feedback to Engage, Educate, Motivate & Empower Environmental Thought and Action.  The Solutions Journal, 5, 79 – 87.
  • Frantz, C. M., & Mayer, F. S.  (2009).  The Emergency of Climate Change: Why Are We Failing to Take Action?  Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 9, 205-222.
  • Mayer, F. S., Frantz, C. M., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., & Dolliver, K.  (2009).  Why Is Nature Beneficial? The Role of Connectedness to Nature.  Environment and Behavior, 41, 607-643.
  • Frantz, C. M., Mayer, F. S., Norton, C., & Rock, M.  (2005).  There is no “I” in nature:  The influence of self awareness on connectedness to nature.  Journal of Environmental Psychology, 25, 425-436.
  • Frantz, C. M., & Bennigson, C.  (2005).  Better late than early: The influence of timing on apology effectiveness.  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 201-207.
  • Mayer, F. S., & Frantz, C. M.  (2004).  The Connectedness to Nature Scale: A Measure of Individuals’ Feeling in Community with Nature.  Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24, 504-515.


  • Cindy Frantz Gives Keynote Address and Talk

    April 9, 2019

    Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies Cindy McPherson Frantz gave the Johnson Lecture and Minnesota Psychological Association's keynote address on April 3, 2019 at Macalaster College.  The talk was titled "What is systems thinking, and does it improve decision making?" She also presented a talk titled "Environmental Dashboard: Using feedback technology to change culture and behavior" on April 4, 2019 at Macalaster College.

  • Cindy Frantz Gives Keynote Address

    July 3, 2018

    Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies Cindy Frantz gave the keynote address on June 20, 2018 at the Nature Connections Conference at the University of Derby in Derby, United Kingdom. Frantz’s talk was titled "Connection to Nature: A Core Social  Motive Approach.”

  • Cindy Frantz Quoted in Washington Post

    November 29, 2017

    Professor of Psychology Cindy Frantz was quoted in the Washington Post about the recent tide of apologies made by famous men accused of sexual misconduct.

  • Cindy Frantz Quoted on Climate Change Communication

    December 19, 2016

    Professor Cindy Franz is quoted in Yale Climate Connections on climate change communication.

  • Cindy Frantz Publishes, Gives Invited Talk

    September 11, 2015

    The article “An Examination of Gender Differences in the American Fisheries Society’s Peer Review Process,” co-authored by Professor of Psychology Cindy Frantz and Grace Handley ’12, has been published in the September issue of Fisheries, an American Fisheries Society publication. According to Frantz, she and Handley found gender differences but no evidence for gender bias on the part of editors and reviewers.

    Frantz also delivered the invited talk "Metaphors as Magic Bullets? Harnessing Psychological Science to Promote Sustainability" on September 7 at Davidson College.

  • Cindy Frantz American Psychological Association Convention Talks

    August 27, 2015

    Professor of Psychology Cindy Frantz gave two talks in August at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association in Toronto.

    The first talk, “Using Technology to Transform Environmental Norms, Identity, and Behavior,” was part of a symposium with David Miller, Toronto mayor from 2003-2010 and current World Wildlife Fund Canada president and CEO. The second talk, “What Is Systems Thinking and How Shall We Measure It? An Introduction,” was part of a symposium Frantz chaired, titled “The psychology of systems thinking: Implications for decision making, policy, and practice.”

  • Cindy Frantz Gives Talk

    July 9, 2015

    Professor of Psychology Cindy Frantz gave the talk "Harnessing the most powerful drivers of human behavior to promote wildlife conservation" at the USC Conference on Conservation, Computation, & Criminology (C4) on June 29, 2015, in Washington DC. The talk discussed how powerful motivations that are not in individuals’ economic or biological best interests can be harnessed to promote the protection of forests, fisheries, and wildlife.

  • Cindy Frantz Gives Talks, Receives Grant

    April 28, 2015

    Professor of Psychology Cindy Frantz, currently a visiting scholar at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, has given two invited talks at her host university.

    The first talk, titled “Environmental Dashboard: Combining public displays of real-time resource use with community voices to engage, empower, and celebrate stewardship” was given at University of Otago’s Centre for Sustainability's seminar series on April 16. The second talk, titled “Why do humans benefit from nature? An argument for the need to belong.” was given at the University of Otago’s Psychology Seminar series on April 20.

    Frantz—along with Paul Thibodeau, assistant professor of psychology; John Petersen, director of environmental studies and Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of environmental studies; and Rumi Shammin, associate professor of environmental studies—has also been awarded a National Science Foundation grant from the Decision, Risk, and Management Sciences program for $329,325.

    The grant focuses on systems thinking, a way of conceptualizing reality and making decisions that emphasizes relationships and interdependencies. Their research will empirically test the contention that systems thinking improves decision making. It will also test whether mental models, such as metaphors, can induce a systems thinking mindset and whether decision makers must value the system in question for systems thinking to have beneficial effects on decision making.

  • Cindy Frantz and Stephen Mayer Publish Article in Journal of Social Issues

    May 19, 2014

    Associate Professor of Psychology Cindy Frantz and Professor of Psychology Stephen Mayer published an article entitled “The Emergence of Climate Change.” The article appears in the Journal of Social Issues, a publication of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. It explores the psychology behind the disparities between the scientific consensus on climate change and people’s willingness to recognize and respond to it.

  • Cindy Frantz Receives Teaching Award

    May 7, 2014

    Associate Professor of Psychology Cindy Frantz has received the 2014 Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). Her award citation made note of her classroom application of psychological theories to current social issues and her guidance of student research. The SPSSI also invited to speak at the this summer at the 2014 SPSSI Conference in a special SPSSI teaching session.


Mental Health Research Assistant: Ify Ezimora ’19

May 15, 2020
Ezimora is applying the professional experience she gained as a double major in psychology and environmental studies as well as her roles as a student treasurer and cochair of the Student Finance Committee.