L.R. Elliott; M. Nicolson (chair); K. van den Broek; C. Klöckner. Location: Heymanszaal

Content analysis of outdoor walking brochures: The development of a behavioural-theory informed coding scheme

L. R. Elliott, M. P. White, A. H. Taylor, & C. Abraham

Natural environments can provide walking opportunities incurring potentially greater health benefits than other locations. However at present it is not known how outdoor walking is promoted in the media and whether such publicity is in line with behaviour change theory. To address this, a coding scheme was devised that aimed to reliably categorise content in outdoor recreational walking brochures. The scheme was created using categories derived iteratively and deductively using health psychology and cultural ecosystem services models. Brochures often omitted content pertaining to self-efficacy and the promotion of walking intentions. In contrast to health brochures, recreational brochures more frequently employed outcome expectancy techniques by highlighting extrinsic outcomes of walking (e.g. scenery; opportunities to discover historical sites) as opposed to intrinsic (e.g. health). Brochures appeared to target active individuals as opposed to motivating those who are currently inactive. This could create discordance with public health campaigns and also dissuade certain populations from engaging with natural environments. This taxonomy could be applied to other recreational activities and other types of media.

Could framed marketing messages boost demand for Time-of-Use electricity tariffs? Findings from a randomised control trial on British energy bill payers

M. Nicolson, G. Huebner, & D. Shipworth

A major challenge for realising the benefits of smart meters, promoting energy security and enabling renewable energy consumption is to encourage consumers to switch from flat-rate electricity tariffs to a new generation of Time-of-Use (ToU) tariffs. This research exposed a representative sample of British energy bill-payers (N=2,020) to one of four digital leaflets containing the same ToU tariff but different marketing messages in a 2x2 online survey experiment (gain/loss; money/money and environment). The trial employed a ToU tariff designed to be commercially viable in 2020. Headline results are: (1) there is a high variation in demand for ToU tariffs amongst British consumers, however twice as many expressed being strongly against as strongly in favour of switching on a 7-point Likert scale; (2) contrary to Prospect Theory, framing the reasons for switching in terms of losses rather than gains and in terms of individual financial impacts rather than environmental impacts had no influence on reported willingness to switch; (3) existing ToU tariff customers, electric vehicle owners and owners of tumble-dryers with timers expressed the greatest willingness to switch. Results will be compared to those from other framing experiments. Implications for smart meter consumer engagement campaigns and future research will be discussed.

Tailoring Persuasive messages: Comparing Biospheric, Economic and Combined Appeals to Promote Pro-environmental Behaviour

K.L. van den Broek, J.W. Bolderdijk, & E.M. Steg

Economic appeals (emphasizing financial benefits of behaviour) have been found to be less persuasive than biospheric appeals (emphasizing environmental benefits of behaviour) in encouraging pro-environmental behaviour. Yet, biospheric appeals appear to have limited persuasive power as well. Many environmental campaigns therefore use one-size-fits-all, combined appeals which emphasize both arguments. Are such combined appeals indeed more persuasive, or do they represent the worst of both worlds? This paper explores whether individual differences in values can account for this controversy regarding the relative effectiveness of the three appeals. It was hypothesized that messages tailored to match recipient’s prioritised values would result in the highest levels of persuasion. An online questionnaire assessing the ability of the three appeals to persuade participants to engage in paper saving behaviour was distributed in Europe (N=139) and India (N=74). The results confirmed that values moderate the persuasive power of the different appeals meaning that appeals tailored to fit the recipients’ values are more effective than combined appeals. Furthermore, an exploratory analyses found that the recipients’ personal norms can also influence the persuasiveness of the appeal. These findings provide clear recommendations for the design of persuasive messages in environmental campaigning aimed to induce behavioural change.

Tailoring an internet-based intervention to reduce beef consumption to stage of change – a randomized control group study

C. A. Klöckner & S. P. Ofstad

Since Bamberg introduced the self-regulation model of behavior change (2013), it has been argued that it allows tailoring interventions to the stage of change people are in. The assumption is that presenting information that specifically targets the variables in a respective stage of change makes stage progression easier and ultimately increasing the likelihood of behavior change. This hypothesis was tested in a series of studies with samples from the Norwegian population. In two studies (Study 1: N=44, Study 2: N=386) tracking peoples’ use of a website designed to provide information-based interventions, it could be shown that the participants were trying to “self-tailor” information to their stage of change, but did not fully succeed. In two longitudinal follow up studies (Study 3: N=874, Study 4: N=3.872) participants were randomly assigned to four conditions: (1) control group without intervention, (2) tailored intervention where website access was restricted to only the stage matching information, (3) randomly assigned mismatching information tailored at another stage, and (4) access to all information. Analyses show that in both studies tailored information fosters most stage progression and access to all information (including the stage tailored information) leads to no significant improvement as compared to the control group.