University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Conservation and Behaviour Change seminars > Do you recycle while others are watching? Personality, identity, visibility, and 21 pro-environmental behaviours

Do you recycle while others are watching? Personality, identity, visibility, and 21 pro-environmental behaviours

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We know how to mitigate environmental problems like climate change, but don’t know why many individuals reject those behaviours and policies. I argue pro-environmental behaviour is based not just on thoughts about the environment or on difficulty but also how individuals think about others. Examining the person in social situations may help predict or influence these behaviours. I present a research line showing how personality and social identity relate to pro-environmental behaviour and policy preferences (total N = 3504). Study 1 shows that pro-environmental behaviours may be caused by environmental concern, which may in turn be caused by the personality trait Openness. Studies 2-5 find that social identification with environmentalists uniquely predicts behaviour and policy preferences. In Studies 6-8, environmentalist identity interacts with the public visibility of behaviour to predict frequency of behaviour in a multi-level model controlling for perceived difficulty and effectiveness. Studying social reactions to environmental problems provides the opportunity for public impact and for basic science on cognition, social influence, and action.

This talk is part of the Conservation and Behaviour Change seminars series.

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