M. Overtoom; W. Abrahamse; N. Anderson; P. Haggar (chair). Location: A2

Designing homes with meanings: Construction of a tool based on human values

M. E. Overtoom

Houses were among the first structures that were built, and remain the most common type of building today. The design of housing has been the subject of architecture, while from a psychological point of view the meaning of home has been a major subject of research. These two different viewpoints are combined in this research to provide a tool for designers to design based on values. First a quantitative study was carried out to match activities and spaces in the home to human values (Schwartz, 2000). This resulted in a design-tool that consists of the ten values (hedonism, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, conformity, tradition, power, and achievement) associated activities and spaces, and hierarchical graphs based on space syntax. Lastly opposing spatial features were laid over the two dimensions (openness to change vs. conservation and self-transcendence vs. self-enhancement). Subsequently this tool was used to design seven houses, which were used to find out whether the values designed in the houses were also recognised as such. Houses with values preferred by the interviewees, were chosen more often than values on the other end of the circle, indicating that the tool is of some help when certain meanings need to be communicated by design.

Encouraging sustainable food choices: the effect of value-congruent information on environmental concern and attitudes towards meat consumption

T. Graham & W. Abrahamse

"When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner." As this quote from the National Geographic highlights, awareness about environmental impacts of our food choices tends to be relatively low. Meat consumption contributes to a number of environmental problems, including climate change. This study examined the effectiveness of providing information about the environmental impacts of meat consumption in increasing levels of concern about this issue and changing people's attitudes towards meat consumption. This study also examined whether the information's effectiveness depended on people's values. With an online survey, self-enhancement and self-transcendence values were measured and participants (N = 848) were then randomly assigned to a no-information control group, a message targeting self-enhancement values, or a message targeting self-transcendence values. The results indicate that compared to a no-information control group, participants who received information about environmental impacts of eating meat had significantly higher levels of concern about this issue. In addition, the effectiveness of information in changing attitudes towards meat consumption was influenced by people's self-enhancement and self-transcendence values to some extent. The results have implications for environmental campaigns, as they highlight that a campaign's effectiveness may depend on people's values.

Linking values, valued attributes of forests and types of cues used to know about those attributes

N.M. Anderson, R.M. Ford, & K.J.H. Williams

Links between values and environmental behaviour have been extensively examined within environmental psychology. Less frequently examined are links between values and cues people use to evaluate the environment. This study explored associations between values and cues used to evaluate natural forests. Thirty-six interviews were conducted with members of the public and forest interest groups in Victoria, Australia. Valued attributes of forests, underlying held values, and cues used to evaluate forests were identified using a laddering interview technique. Ninety-four ladders were elicited and analysed using thematic analysis and multiple correspondence analysis. Key findings are: people use a range of cues to evaluate forests, including commercial and management cues as well as sensory and affective cues; type of cue used varies depending on the valued attribute; valued attributes vary with held values.  For example, sensory cues (sights and sounds) are a way of knowing about experiential valued attributes, which in turn are associated with hedonic values. These findings highlight the motivational role of hedonic values in environmental evaluation. In addition findings suggest values relevant to environmental cognition and motivation should not be confined to the self-transcendence/self-enhancement dimension but should be broadened to include elements of the openness to change (stimulation)/conservation (personal and social security) dimension.

Changes in Travel Choices with Student Residential-Relocation: habits, values and travel goals

P. C. Haggar, L. Whitmarsh, & S. Skippon

Travel choices of individuals are an important factor in determining the contribution of personal transportation to global warming.  A potential barrier to sustainable travel choices is habitually unsustainable-travel.  It has been proposed that life changes that alter contexts that cue habitual actions offer moments where individuals can more readily break existing and unwanted habits and begin to establish, in their place, new habits consonant with current motivations (the Habit Discontinuity Hypothesis, HDH).  We investigated this proposal by using a test-retest questionnaire design to measure changes in human values, travel goals and primary travel-mode-choice habits for a group of university students.  Participants were selected both for their intention (97) or lack of intention (97) to change their term-time accommodation over the test-period of 6 months.  Unfortunately, fewer students than anticipated changed residence and/or primary travel-mode during the study, leading to inconclusive findings with regard to the HDH.  However, associations between values, travel goals and primary travel-mode-choice habits were found, as well as associations between these and travel frequency and purpose.  For instance, it was found that differences in participant values partially explain an overall increase in habits for walking or cycling, as a primary travel mode, during the study.