03 May 2011

Cognitive dissonance and environmental behaviour

Another piece of research (see, also) showing that people's initial mindset is likely to influence their response to information about their carbon consumption. Research by Amara Brook found that students who were initially unsympathetic to environmental information, given (false) feedback indicating that their carbon footprint was high, were likely to become less sympathetic to environmental issues, unlike students who were initially conscious of environmental issues. Brook suggests this is the effect of resolving cognitive dissonance: adapting thinking so it is consistent with evident behaviour. Her proposed solution is giving people simple information about the steps to take to reduce consumption. Maybe. Of course often students don't pay all their costs, so it would be interesting to see if the finding transferred to older consumers.

[via BPS Research Digest]

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