Taciano L. Milfont

Taciano L. Milfont
The University of Waikato · School of Psychology

PhD in Psychology (University of Auckland)
Applying insights from social and behavioural sciences to address environmental problems and other social issues

About

279
Publications
256,516
Reads
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12,439
Citations
Additional affiliations
May 2020 - present
The University of Waikato
Position
  • Professor (Full)
May 2020 - May 2020
The University of Waikato
Position
  • Lecturer
February 2008 - April 2020
Victoria University of Wellington
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (279)
Article
Full-text available
Polls examining public opinion on the subject of climate change are now commonplace, and one-off public opinion polls provide a snapshot of citizen's opinions that can inform policy and communication strategies. However, cross-sectional polls do not track opinions over time, thus making it impossible to ascertain whether key climate change beliefs...
Article
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Personal and political action on climate change is traditionally thought to be motivated by people accepting its reality and importance. However, convincing the public that climate change is real faces powerful ideological obstacles1–4, and climate change is slipping in public importance in many countries5,6. Here we investigate a di�erent approach...
Article
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Indigenous peoples often have a unique and deep connection to the land. However, quantitative research exploring this issue is scarce. The current research investigates cultural variation in environmental regard in New Zealand, where more recent settler groups have questioned the strength of Indigenous environmental regard. Study 1 examined differe...
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A belief in human dominance over nature lies at the heart of current environmental problems. In this article, we extend the theoretical scope of social dominance theory by arguing that social dominance orientation (SDO) is an important variable in understanding person-environment relations. We argue that individuals high in SDO are more willing to...
Article
Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) predicts support for unsustainable environmental exploitation, but the mechanism driving this effect remains unclear. Here we propose and test a novel Hierarchy Enforcement Hypothesis of Environmental Exploitation. Two experiments analysed using Bayesian moderated regression showed that SDO predicted support for a...
Article
Most research on the development of personality traits like the Dark Triad (i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) focuses on local effects like parenting style or attachment, but people live in a larger society that may set the stage for any local effects. Here we paired nation-level data on the traits from 49 nations with several mi...
Article
Although magical beliefs (such as belief in luck and precognition) are presumably universal, the extent to which such beliefs are embraced likely varies across cultures. We assessed the effect of culture on luck and precognition beliefs in two large-scale multinational studies (Study 1: k = 16, N = 17,664; Study 2: k = 25, N = 4,024). Over and abov...
Preprint
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Objective: Vaccines are an effective means to reduce the spread of diseases, but they are sometimes met with hesitancy that needs to be understood.Methods: In this study, we analysed data from a large, cross-country survey conducted between June and August 2021 in 43 countries (N = 15,740) to investigate the roles of trust in government and science...
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During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVIDiSTRESS Consortium launched an open-access global survey to understand and improve individuals' experiences related to the crisis. a year later, we extended this line of research by launching a new survey to address the dynamic landscape of the pandemic. this survey was released with the goal of a...
Article
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Consideration of future consequences (CFC) assesses the extent to which individuals evaluate future outcomes of their current behaviour. This personality trait has been traditionally used as a unidimensional construct, but recent research has highlighted the theoretical and empirical relevance in differentiating between consideration of immediate a...
Article
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The study of moral judgements often centres on moral dilemmas in which options consistent with deontological perspectives (that is, emphasizing rules, individual rights and duties) are in conflict with options consistent with utilitarian judgements (that is, following the greater good based on consequences). Greene et al. (2009) showed that psychol...
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Objective: We investigated the characteristics of loneliness by identifying distinct 'profiles' of loneliness and investigating transitions between those loneliness profiles over two years. Method: We conducted Latent Transition Analyses on two years of data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (N=15,820) and modelled how people's hea...
Preprint
In their impressive large-scale project, Van Bavel et al.1 reported global patterns of associations between national identification and public health support in two studies. Their findings indicate that higher levels of national identification are associated with greater COVID-19 protection measures both at the individual level (Study 1; N = 49,968...
Preprint
Past studies indicated that environmental messages incorporating binding morals (i.e., loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation morals) were effective in reducing the negative association between political conservatism and pro-environmentalism. We conceptually replicated and extended this finding through open science practic...
Article
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Preliminary studies indicate that ideologies and worldviews are key in understanding the motivation behind corruption. Yet, there is no model seeking to explain corrupt intention that incorporates ideology and worldviews as predictors. Our objective was to propose a model integrating ideological factors (social dominance orientation [SDO] and right...
Preprint
Composite indices have been widely used to rank the environmental performance of nations. Such environmental indices can be useful in communicating complex information as a single value and have the potential to generate political and media awareness of environmental issues. However, indices that are poorly constructed can hinder efforts to identif...
Article
Background The determinants of health behaviours and health outcomes are multifaceted and the surrounding environment is increasingly considered as an important influence. This pre-registered study investigated the association between the geospatial environment people live within and their health behaviours as well as mental and physical health out...
Article
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic claimed millions of lives and caused unprecedented disruptions. Despite these negative impacts, there is optimism the pandemic may shift public opinion on other global crises by fostering a sense of collective efficacy. Using propensity score matching to compare New Zealanders assessed before (n =12,304) and after (n =...
Article
Environmentalism is influenced by views of the self. In past research, individuals who saw themselves as more interdependently connected to others expressed greater environmental concern than those who saw themselves as more independent from others. Yet, cross-cultural evidence is limited. In this pre-registered study, we tested how seven ways of b...
Article
Concerns about the effects of climate change are mainstream, and the climate crisis might have greater psychological impact on younger people. We hypothesise that climate concern will have detrimental links with psychological wellbeing over time, and that this association will be more pronounced among younger adults. We test our pre-registered pred...
Article
Differential psychology focuses on how individuals vary in the way they think, feel and act by measuring differences that distinguish them as more similar to themselves over time and across situations than other individuals. In this article I review and discuss available evidence on key individual differences associated with protection and exploita...
Preprint
The COVID-19 pandemic caused millions of deaths and unprecedented disruptions on societies. Negative impacts are coupled with optimism the pandemic may shift public opinion on other cross-national crises. Comparing matched samples of New Zealanders assessed before and after nationwide lockdowns in 2020 (Ns = 15,815), we show the pandemic enhanced p...
Preprint
Magical thinking is considered a human universal and is evidenced across cultures. However, the extent to which magical thinking is embraced likely varies across cultures, whereby some cultures are more ‘magic tolerant’ than others. We assessed the effect of culture on magical thinking, operationalized as beliefs in luck and precognition, in two la...
Preprint
Car use is engrained in our culture. Changing behaviour towards using more sustainable travel modes such as public transport is notoriously difficult, despite the increasing awareness of environmental problems caused by car use. Many models have attempted to explain what psychological constructs activate pro-environmental behaviour. Models often ad...
Article
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Sea-level rise resulting from climate change is impacting coasts around the planet. There is strong scientific consensus about the amount of sea-level rise to 2050 (0.24-0.32 m) and a range of projections to 2100, which vary depending on the approach used and the mitigation measures taken to reduce carbon emissions. Despite this strong scientific c...
Article
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Accumulating evidence indicates that climate change awareness and concern has increased globally, but commentators suggest a climate change generation gap whereby younger people care more about climate change than older people. Here we use a decade of panel data from 56,513 New Zealanders to test whether belief that “Climate change is real” and “Cl...
Article
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Animal Welfare Attitudes (AWA) can be defined as the attitudes of humans towards the welfare of animals. Although AWA has been previously associated with demographic factors as gender, one of the main limitations is that few studies applied robust psychometric questionnaire scales. Moreover, some evidence of cross-cultural variations in AWA have bee...
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Natural hazards such as earthquakes and tsunami can have adverse impacts on infrastructures and populations globally. In Wellington, New Zealand, perception of these risks is high but many people are poorly prepared. Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour in a pre-registered longitudinal study, we assessed intentions, cognitions, and beliefs about t...
Article
Concerns over potential negative effects of excessive meat consumption on both the environment and personal health, coupled with long-standing debates over animal rights, have motivated research on the prevalence and predictors of plant-based versus meat-based diets. Yet few studies have examined longitudinal trends in dietary behaviours using larg...
Article
Withstanding the climate crisis will depend in part on individuals behaving in a more environmentally sustainable manner. However, relatively little is known about the individual factors that promote sustainable attitudes and behaviors (SABs). Although there are established cross-sectional associations between personality traits and SABs, it is unc...
Preprint
Differential psychology focuses on how people vary in the way they think, feel and act by measuring differences that distinguish individuals as more similar to themselves over time and across situations than others. In this article I review and discuss available evidence on key individual differences associated with protection and exploitation of t...
Article
Several measures have been developed in the past decades to measure the core personality traits in the Big Five model (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism). Despite the relevance of their findings in different countries, a shared limitation of such measures is their length, demanding time from researchers and p...
Preprint
In this chapter, I discuss the associations between pro-environmental tendencies and personality traits, as outlined in the Big Five and HEXACO models. I review findings showing tight links between core personality characteristics and pro-environmentalism, and also report re-analyses of published data examining the extent to which country-level ind...
Article
Climate change denial is motivated in part by ideology, with research showing that a greater tolerance of social inequality is consistently linked to lower pro-environmentalism. We report findings from two mixed-methods studies. In Study One, we provide insight into how individuals with varying levels of social dominance orientation discuss environ...
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Past research indicates that national narcissism (but not national identification) predicts support for anti-environmental policies, and that this effect is driven by national narcissists’ need to defend the group’s image. We hypothesized that although national narcissists might not support proenvironmental actions, they would support promoting a p...
Article
Full-text available
The COVIDiSTRESS global survey collects data on early human responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic from 173 429 respondents in 48 countries. The open science study was co-designed by an international consortium of researchers to investigate how psychological responses differ across countries and cultures, and how this has impacted behaviour, copin...
Article
Full-text available
Several measures were developed in the past decades to measure personality, focusing on the Big Five Factor Model (BFFM; Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism). Despite the relevance of their findings in different countries, a shared limitation of such measures is their length, demanding time from researchers and...
Article
Full-text available
The COVIDiSTRESS global survey collects data on early human responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic from 173 429 respondents in 48 countries. The open science study was co-designed by an international consortium of researchers to investigate how psychological responses differ across countries and cultures, and how this has impacted behaviour, copin...
Article
Full-text available
The COVIDiSTRESS global survey collects data on early human responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic from 173 429 respondents in 48 countries. The open science study was co-designed by an international consortium of researchers to investigate how psychological responses differ across countries and cultures, and how this has impacted behaviour, copin...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVIDiSTRESS global survey collects data on early human responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic from 173,429 respondents in 48 countries. The open science study was co-designed by an international consortium of researchers to investigate how psychological responses differ across countries and cultures, and how this has impacted behaviour, copin...
Article
Unwillingness of certain individuals to accept the reality of anthropogenic climate change threatens mitigation and adaptation efforts. Gender (being male), political conservatism and system-justifying ideologies are potent unique predictors of anthropogenic climate change scepticism but have typically been examined in isolation. We tested additive...
Article
Full-text available
Both individual and collective actions are needed to address global environmental changes. Contributing to a growing literature on the collective dimension of pro-environmental actions, we examined the role of national identity in mobilizing environmental norms and pro-environmental tendencies. Latent profile analysis with a large national dataset...
Article
How can we alleviate the political divide on environmental issues such as climate change? Baldwin and Lammers (2016, Study 1) found that an environmental message with a past temporal focus attenuated the negative association between participants’ conservatism and their pro-environmental attitudes, compared with a future-focused environmental messag...
Article
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Despite the importance of overcoming the persistent delay in climate action, almost no research has investigated the psychological underpinnings of climate change denial in Asian countries. Addressing this research gap, our study compares results obtained in Hong Kong with those of samples from New Zealand and Sweden regarding correlations of clima...
Article
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The spatial and temporal reach of contemporary environmental problems are unparalleled. Collective efforts to address global environmental problems are required but actions to tackle these problems demand initial recognition of their seriousness. Cross-cultural research has shown a reliable bias in comparative judgements about the severity of envir...
Preprint
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We leverage powerful time-series data from a national longitudinal sample measured before the COVID-19 pandemic and during the world's eighth most stringent COVID-19 lockdown (New Zealand, March-April 2020, N = 940) and apply Bayesian multilevel mediation models to rigorously test five theories of pandemic distress. Findings: (1) during lockdown, r...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental psychology is a field concerned with transactions between humans and their environments. Since human–environment interactions are culture-bound, a fuller understanding of such interactions requires sensitivity to the role of culture in the ways researchers theorize human behavior, conduct empirical studies, and interpret observed find...
Article
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Following the March 15th Christchurch terrorist attack, members of our research team have been repeatedly asked to comment or provide summary statistics from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) on prejudice toward Muslims. As the curators of the NZAVS, we think that these findings should be in the public domain and accessible to as w...
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Relational mobility is a socio-ecological construct quantifying how much freedom and opportunity a society affords individuals to choose and dispose of interpersonal relationships. Past research has confirmed that relational mobility varies across nations, but no large-scale study has examined the degree to which relational mobility may vary within...
Preprint
Research indicates COVID-19 lockdowns elevated psychological distress. Here, we leverage national panel data before and during New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown to clarify distress buffers (2018/2020, N = 940). To distinguish lockdown-related distress from natural disasters, we investigate distress dynamics following the Christchurch earthquakes (201...
Preprint
New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown in March/April 2020 imposed severe economic and social restrictions, which occurred in a setting of pervasive health and economic uncertainties. Here, we leverage national longitudinal data from 2018 and during severe lockdown to systematically quantify the evolution of psychological-distress trajectories within the...
Article
Abstract Objectives: The Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism) capture individual differences in aversive personality to complement work on other taxonomies, such as the Big Five traits. However, the literature on the Dark Triad traits relies mostly on samples from English-speaking (i.e., Westernized) countries. We bro...
Article
Social desirability responding (SDR) is the tendency of respondents to answer survey questions in a manner that will be viewed favourably by others. Scholars in environmental psychology have argued SDR influences individuals’ answers to surveys asking their pro-environmental intentions, attitude and behaviour. Yet empirical evidence indicates the c...
Article
The research named, “Music preference and Attitudes toward Drugs use: The Moderating role of Human values” was conjointly carried out by Carlos E. Pimentel, Taciano L. Milfont, Valdiney V. Gouveia, Katia C. Vione and Renan P. Monteiro, respectively. As per the convenience, it was conducted in a public University in Paraíba, Brazil. As preceding fin...
Article
Full-text available
The contagiousness and deadliness of COVID-19 have necessitated drastic social management to halt transmission. The immediate effects of a nationwide lockdown were investigated by comparing matched samples of New Zealanders assessed before (Npre-lockdown = 1,003) and during the first 18 days of lockdown (Nlockdown = 1,003). Two categories of outcom...
Preprint
The contagiousness and deadliness of COVID-19 have necessitated drastic social management to halt transmission. The immediate effects of a nationwide lockdown were investigated by comparing matched samples of New Zealanders assessed before (Npre-lockdown = 1,003) and during the first 18 days of lockdown (Nlockdown = 1,003). Two categories of outcom...
Article
The Dark Triad (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism) has garnered intense attention over the last 15 years. We examined the structure of these traits’ measure—the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen (DTDD)—in a sample of 11,488 participants from three W.E.I.R.D. (i.e., North America, Australia & Oceania, Western Europe) and five non-W.E.I.R.D. (i.e....
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Full-text available
Having children is a transformative experience and may change the way people think about the future. Parents invest time, energy and resources to ensure the survival and reproductive success of offspring. Having children may also induce environmental concerns and investments in actions aimed at guaranteeing the quality of natural resources availabl...
Article
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The extant literature has focused either on personal variables or on situational factors to explain pro-environmental behavior despite several calls to integrate both. The present research addresses this integration call by testing the interaction between environmental attitudes and situational prompts on pro-environmental behavior. Three experimen...
Article
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Synthetic gene drive approaches are nascent technologies with potential applicability for pest control for conservation purposes. Responsible science mandates that society be engaged in a dialogue over new technology, particularly where there exist global ramifications as with gene drive. We hypothesize that public attitudes towards gene drive are...
Article
Abstract Context. Pest species are a widespread environmental and biodiversity threat and understanding people’s attitudes towards managing pests is critical for nature conservation. Attitudes towards pest species and their management are often contextually dependent on the species and location, and no domain-free measure is currently available. Th...
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The unpredictability of earthquakes poses a significant challenge to examining and understanding the effects of these events on risk-related perceptions and behaviour. Natural experiments, a type of quasi-experimental method, allow for close approximations of treatment-control designs when data collection and earthquake events coincide. This study...
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Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) has been a central explanatory concept and predictor of sociopolitical and intergroup attitudes over the last decades. Research indicates RWA is formed by the subdimensions of authoritarianism, traditionalism, and conservatism. The objective of this study was to assess the cross-cultural validity of this three-fact...
Article
The finding that females hold more pro-environmental attitudes and engage in more conservation behavior, relative to males, is one of the most robust effects in the field of environmental psychology. Yet sparse research has attempted to understand why males are less pro-environmental than females. In three studies, the present research tested the h...
Article
Full-text available
The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer an extensive framework for coordinating and shaping government policies, and for engaging the public with sustainability. Public understanding of the SDGs and sustainability can influence this engagement, as people are more likely to accept and share information consistent with their...