Gabriel Muiños; Bernadette Sütterlin; Geertje Schuitema. Location: Aula

Pro-environmental and pro-social behaviours predicted by interdependence worldviews

G. Muiños, B. Hernández, E. Suárez& V. Corral-Verdugo

The current research establishes the relationship between interdependence worldviews and pro-environmental and pro-social behaviours as their behavioural consequence. Pro-environmental behaviour was measured covering four specific areas of individuals’ environmentally friendly behaviours -responsible shopping, energy saving, recycling and monitoring- while pro-social behaviour was assessed as an unifactorial concept using a pool of behaviours oriented to help other people without any expected exchange. Two interdependence worldviews were used: one environmentally oriented addressing a close perceived interconnection between human beings and the environment and the other one, socially oriented, addressing a close perceived interconnection among human beings themselves. The hypotheses revolve around the fact that both interdependence worldviews are able to predict both the pro-environmental and pro-social behaviours. A questionnaire was administrated to 1113 participants observing the expected relationships between each worldview and its thematic associated behaviours as much as a crossed effect between them. This research try to highlight the relevance of considering both environmental and social elements at the same time to convergence from an ecological paradigm into a sustainable paradigm that involves simultaneously human and nature, present and future need satisfaction.

The misleading effect of symbolically significant information on energy-related judgments and the mediating role of evoked affect

B. Sütterlin & M. Siegrist

People rely on information of high symbolic significance when judging energy-related issues, which may result in biased decisions. Given that symbolically significant attributes hold a strong affective meaning, this research aimed at investigating the mediating role of affect. In Experiment 1, two car driver descriptions were presented. One entailed a positive symbolically significant attribute (Prius) and a negative symbolically neutral attribute (covering 28,700km); for the other one, the reverse was true (SUV; covering 11,400km). Even though the Prius driver consumed more energy, participants wrongly judged his energy consumption lower. The impact of the symbolically significant behavior on judgments was mediated by the affect associated with the symbolically significant information. In Experiment 2, two scenarios involving risk assessment of power generation were formulated. They differed only in power-generating technology – solar (positive symbol) vs. nuclear (negative symbol). However, in case of solar power participants assessed the risk of two fatalities as more acceptable. Results suggest that the affect evoked by the information has an impact on the evaluation, but also that the affective tagging of a technology influences how new information is interpreted. This research shows how the symbolic significance fallacy via evoked affect results in biased decisions when judging energy-related issues.

The Effect of Message Framing on the Adoption of Biofuels: A Comparison Study of Denmark and Canada

G. Schuitema & A. Krystallis

Message framing is a tool that is often used to influence the public opinion, particular when attitudes are unstable. Attitudes towards biofuels tend to be highly unstable due to its controversial nature. However, Canada seems an exemption, as attitudes are more stable [Dragojlovic and Einsiedel, 2014]. The influence of message framing and moderating effects of knowledge and need for information on attitudes, intention to adopt and problem awareness was compared between Canada (N = 115) and Denmark (N = 169). The results showed that message framing had a significant effect on attitudes and adoption intention Denmark, but not in Canada, suggesting that indeed attitudes may be more stable in Canada than in Denmark. Further, knowledge and need for information were significant predictors attitudes and adoption intention Denmark, suggesting that in Denmark proving information will lead to more positive attitudes and adoption of biofuels especially if those needing information are addressed. Message framing also influenced awareness of problems regarding fossil fuels in Denmark (but not in Canada), particularly amongst those who read a negatively framed message and had a high need for information. Overall, the results suggest more stable attitudes to biofuels in Canada than in Denmark, and therefore, at the same time, there is more scope to change public attitudes in Denmark.