Expanding and Evaluating Motives for Environmentally Responsible Behavior

University of Michigan
Journal of Social Issues (Impact Factor: 1.96). 12/1999; 56(3):509 - 526. DOI: 10.1111/0022-4537.00181

ABSTRACT This article contends that while striving to promote environmentallyresponsible behavior, we have focused attention too narrowly on just two classes of motives. There is a need to expand the range of motives available to practitioners and to provide a framework within which motives can be evaluated for both their immediate and long-term effectiveness. The article then examines a strategy for promoting environmentally responsible behavior that has significant potential. This strategy is based on a particular form of motivation called intrinsic satisfaction. Nine studies are reviewed that have outlined the structure of intrinsic satisfaction. A key theme discussed is the human inclination for competence. This fundamental human concern is shown to have both a general form and a resource-specific version.

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Available from: Raymond K De Young, Aug 10, 2015
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    • "Only recently has research focused on using this direct yet gentler means of encouraging the adoption of behaviors compatible with durable living. Data from over three decades of research provide insight on intrinsic satisfaction (see, for instance [1], [2] and [3]). These data indicate that people derive a series of distinct satisfactions from environmentallyappropriate behavior. "
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    DESCRIPTION: Framework for the notion of behavioral entrepreneurship.
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    • "In sum, if a plastic bag charge motivates people to reduce their plastic bag use because of the monetary incentive, durable behavior changes may be less likely because people are likely to act like they did before as soon as the incentive would be removed. Yet, when a plastic bag charge motivates people to reduce plastic bag use because it activates or strengthens their intrinsic motivation to do so, behavior changes may be more durable because intrinsic motives provide a more stable basis for behavior change (De Groot & Steg, 2009; De Young, 2000; Steg, Bolderdijk, Keizer, & Perlaviciute, 2014). Therefore, it is important to understand the processes that underlie the effects of a plastic bag charge. "
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    ABSTRACT: Two field studies tested the effects of a charge for single-use plastic bags recently implemented in Buenos Aires City, Argentina. Study 1 showed a greater increase in consumers’ own bag use after the charge was introduced in supermarkets where the policy was introduced, in comparison to control supermarkets where the charge was not introduced, or was introduced later in time. The effects were even stronger two months later. Study 2 analyzed factors underlying policy support and own bag use six month after the charge was introduced. Policy supporters highlighted environmental benefits of the charge, while opponents stressed the financial costs. Moreover, most consumers indicated that they carried their own bags to protect the environment, suggesting that intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivations caused behavioral changes. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
    Journal of Environmental Psychology 12/2014; 40. DOI:10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.09.004 · 2.40 Impact Factor
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    • "The technological and behavioral wedges adopted early on must stay adopted, perhaps difficult in a world seemingly addicted to frenetic change and social reinvention . This needed durability presents an intervention challenge since the behavioral sciences are only starting to understand how to initiate robust self-sustaining and/or easily restarted behavior change (De Young, 2000, 2011; Abrahamse et al., 2005; Werner, 2013). Equally challenging is that to stabilize the positive outcomes , each wedge adopted must expand over time. "
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    ABSTRACT: We may soon face biophysical limits to perpetual growth. Energy supplies may tighten and then begin a long slow descent while defensive expenditures rise to address problems caused by past resource consumption. The outcome may be significant changes in daily routines at the individual and community level. It is difficult to know when this scenario might begin to unfold but it clearly would constitute a new behavioral context, one that the behavioral sciences least attends to. Even if one posits a less dramatic scenario, people may still need to make many urgent and perhaps unsettling transitions. And while a robust response would be needed, it is not at all clear what should be the details of that response. Since it is likely that no single response will fix things everywhere, for all people or for all time, it would be useful to conduct many social experiments. Indeed, a culture of small experiments should be fostered which, at the individual and small group level, can be described as behavioral entrepreneurship. This may have begun, hidden in plain sight, but more social experiments are needed. To be of help, it may be useful to both package behavioral insights in a way that is practitioner-oriented and grounded in biophysical trends and to propose a few key questions that need attention. This paper begins the process of developing a biophysical psychology, incomplete as it is at this early stage.
    Frontiers in Psychology 11/2014; 5(1255). DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01255 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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