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The psychology of balancing gains and losses for self and the environment: Evidence from a carbon emission versus travel time tradeoff task
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Computer and Geospatial Sciences, Decision, Risk and Policy Analysis.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5220-9293
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Computer and Geospatial Sciences, Decision, Risk and Policy Analysis.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6151-9664
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Business and Economic Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7584-2275
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Computer and Geospatial Sciences, Decision, Risk and Policy Analysis.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9933-8308
2021 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Psychology, ISSN 0272-4944, E-ISSN 1522-9610, Vol. 74, article id 101574Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

If human behavior is to become more sustainable, people will have to be willing to sacrifice personal gains and benefits for the sake of sustainability. Decisions will have to involve making tradeoffs between what is good for the self and what is good for sustainability. In the present paper, we studied the psychology of such tradeoffs in the context of a carbon dioxide (CO2) emission versus travel time tradeoff task. The experiment investigated how intrinsic motivational factors (environmental concern), extrinsic motivational information (a normative message) and extrinsic motivation-neutral information (anchors) influence these tradeoffs. The results revealed that extrinsic factors interact in their effects on tradeoffs such that participants were willing to travel for a longer time for the benefit of less CO2 emissions when they were externally motivated by a normative message, but only when this motivational emphasis was combined with a high anchor. Furthermore, this interaction was particularly strong in participants with high environmental concern. We conclude that extrinsic and intrinsic motivational factors interact in their effect on making people willing to accept personal losses in exchange for sustainability gains and that these motivational factors may have to be combined with further extrinsic information to influence decisions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier , 2021. Vol. 74, article id 101574
Keywords [en]
tradeoff; carbon dioxide emission; travel time; normative messages; anchoring; environmental concern
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Sustainable Urban Development
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-35235DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101574ISI: 000643637300005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85101200971OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-35235DiVA, id: diva2:1526699
Available from: 2021-02-08 Created: 2021-02-08 Last updated: 2021-06-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Tradeoffs between self and environment in environmental judgment and decision making
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tradeoffs between self and environment in environmental judgment and decision making
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the greatest challenges of today is to change our behavior to act more pro-environmentally to reduce global warming. We need to make sacrifices for the environment, e.g., use a means of transportation that take a longer time but causes less CO2 emission. The present thesis aims to study different factors (intrinsic, extrinsic motivational, and extrinsic motivational-neutral information) that influence us when making tradeoffs between self and environment. Paper I examined how an anchor (a reference price) and an ecolabel influence price judgments. It was found that both a judgment of an objective fact (product price) and a subjective preference (willingness to pay for the product) were affected by an anchor. An eco-label resulted in higher judgments of objective facts. People with higher environmental concern were more affected by an anchor when stating their willingness to pay than their low concern counterparts. In Paper II and Paper III, an interaction between a high anchor and a normative message that put the emissions into context was found when making a tradeoff between CO2 emissions and travel time for a flight (Paper II) or a car journey (Paper III). People with higher concern for the environment gave a longer travel time when they received a high anchor (Paper II and Paper III) or no anchor (Paper III). Paper IV investigated how a survey measuring environmental concern can be divided to different indices and how they predict answers in a tradeoff task. The result suggests that a two-factor structure divided into ecocentric and anthropocentric concern is a possible alternative and that people scoring higher on any of the environmental concern indices were willing to travel for a longer time. Taken together, the results show that normative messages, anchors, and concern for the environment are factors that can influence and interact when people make tradeoffs between self and environment in environmental judgment and decision making.

Abstract [sv]

En av dagens utmaningar är att få oss att förändra vårt beteende för att minska den globala uppvärmningen. Ofta krävs uppoffringar, till exempel att välja ett transportmedel som tar längre tid men som släpper ut mindre CO2. I den här avhandlingen studeras faktorer (inre och yttre motivation och yttre motivationsneutral information) som påverkar oss när vi gör avvägningar mellan vad som är bra för oss själva respektive miljön. I artikel I undersöktes hur ett ankare (ett referenspris) och ekologisk märkning påverkade prisbedömning. Det visades att både bedömningen av objektiva fakta (produktens pris) och subjektiv preferens (betalningsviljan för produkten) påverkades av förankring. Den ekologiska märkningen resulterade i en högre bedömning av produktens pris. Personer med högre miljöoro var mer påverkade av förankring när de berättade hur mycket de skulle vara villiga att betala för produkten. I artikel II och artikel III interagerade det höga ankaret med ett normativt budskap som satte koldioxidutsläppen i en kontext. Deltagarna gjorde en tradeoff mellan CO2-utsläpp och restid för en flygresa i artikel II respektive bilresa i artikel III. Personer med högre miljöoro var villiga att resa under en längre tid när de fick ett högt ankare (artikel II och artikel III) eller inget ankare (artikel III). I artikel IV undersöktes hur frågor som mäter miljöoro kan delas in i olika index och hur väl de predicerar svar på en avvägningsuppgift. Resultatet visar att en tvåfaktorsstruktur uppdelad på ekocentrisk och antropocentrisk miljöoro är möjlig, samt att människor med högre oro för miljön enligt något av indexen är villiga att resa under en längre tid. Sammanfattningsvis visar resultaten att normativa budskap, förankring och miljöoro är faktorer som kan påverka och interagera när människor gör avvägningar mellan sig själv och miljön i miljöbedömning och beslut.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gävle: Gävle University Press, 2021. p. 30
Series
Doctoral thesis ; 24
Keywords
tradeoff, environmental concern, anchoring effect, normative message, travel time, avvägning, miljöoro, förankringseffekt, normativt budskap, restid
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Sustainable Urban Development
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-36620 (URN)978-91-88145-75-8 (ISBN)978-91-88145-76-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2021-10-01, 12:108, Kungsbäcksvägen 47, Gävle, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-09-09 Created: 2021-06-29 Last updated: 2022-09-19Bibliographically approved

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Bökman, FredrikAndersson, HannaSörqvist, PatrikAhonen-Jonnarth, Ulla

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