American Psychological Association proposes using tricks to change views on environmental issues
Armed with new research into what makes some people environmentally conscious and others less so, the 148,000-member American Psychological Association is stepping up efforts to foster a broader sense of eco-sensitivity that the group believes will translate into more public action to protect the planet.
"We know how to change behavior and attitudes. That is what we do," says Yale University psychologist Alan Kazdin, association president. "We know what messages will work and what will not." . . .
In two studies, psychologist Amara Brook of California's Santa Clara University and colleague Jennifer Crocker of the University of Michigan asked 212 undergraduates about their ecological footprint. For those not heavily invested in the environment, negative feedback about their ecological footprint actually undermines their environmental behavior, they found.
"Rather than changing their ways to protect the environment, the results of this study suggest that these (people) may give up on their efforts to protect the environment," they report.
But negative feedback for those more invested in the environment promotes more sustainable behavior, they found.