Environmental Attitude within the Campbell Paradigm: New Findings

F.G. Kaiser (chair); A. Arnold; A. Kibbe; M. Vetter; S.Otto. Location: A12

Symposium: Environmental Attitude within the Campbell Paradigm: New Findings

Organiser: F. G. Kaiser

In the five presentations of this symposium, self-reports and other forms of pro-environmental behavior are seen as a function of two distinct and compensatorily (not conjunctively) effective determinants: environmental attitude and the specific implementation costs of a behavior. This classic—but widely ignored—understanding of the person-environment interaction was reintroduced as the Campbell paradigm into attitude (e.g., Kaiser, Byrka, & Hartig, 2010) and environmental attitude research (e.g., Kaiser, Hartig, Brügger, & Duvier, 2013). With our symposium, we aim to demonstrate the potential of the Campbell paradigm for numerous conceptual and methodological advancements. Oliver Arnold (contribution #5) uses the Campbell paradigm straightforwardly for a more complete theoretical understanding of the foot-in-the-door effect. Alexandra Kibbe in her contribution (#3) explores the correspondence between the Campbell paradigm and Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory. In his contribution (#4), Max Vetter links the paradigm with “nudging,” a new development particularly promising as a behavior change strategy. Siegmar Otto (contribution #2) contrasts the predictive validity of his Campbellian measure with a traditional environmental attitude measure using a representative sample. Florian Kaiser (contribution #1) will start by summarizing the Campbell paradigm and by contrasting different environmental attitude measures using indicator items typical for planned behavior research.

Campbellian Measurement of Environmental Attitude: Beyond Markings in Surveys

F. G. Kaiser, M. Merten, O. Arnold, & A. Kibbe

In contrast to widespread beliefs that measurement of attitudes and behavior demands dissimilar types of survey items (e.g., Kormos & Gifford, 2014)—evaluative statements for attitudes, self-reports for self-reported behavior, we constructed a set of five scales all in line with the Campbell paradigm (e.g., Kaiser & Byrka, 2015). Two of these five attitude measures represented completely distinct combinations of 49 evaluative statements and behavioral self-reports, one was a combination of all 98 items, one consisted of 50 behavioral self-reports, and one of 48 evaluative statements. Using a convenience sample of 787 respondents, we found support for the five scales’ substantial convergent validity and, thus, of their equivalence. Our findings of nearly perfect correlations also call into question the common practice in psychological research of presuming discriminant validity between typical measures of attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and intention commonly used in research within the planned behavior framework. We will argue that environmental attitude measures are not validated by their indicator items but by the empirical relations with overt pro-environmental behaviors and real energy-consumption figures. Accordingly, we will report evidence in support of our Campbellian environmental attitude measure’s predictive validity for pro-environmental behavior and the ecological impact of individuals.

Understanding the Foot-in-the-Door Effect within the Campbell Paradigm

O. Arnold & F. G. Kaiser 

Compliance with a small request (a metaphorical foot-in-the-door) promotes compliance with a subsequent big request (Freedman & Fraser, 1966). While some explanations for this FITD-effect refer to an alteration in the big request’s behavioral costs, others suspect an enhanced underlying attitude. Integrating both accounts, the Campbell Paradigm suggest that compliance with (e.g. pro-environmental) requests is a compensatory function of a person’s (e.g. environmental) attitude and the request’s behavioral costs. 229 participants (53% females, mean age: 27.4) were randomly assigned to either the FITD (i.e. initially asked to sign a pro-environmental petition) or the control condition. Environmental attitude was assessed in line with the Campbell paradigm (see e.g., Kaiser & Byrka, 2015). The big request involved participants to fill in other, supplementary questionnaires also addressing environmental issues. Small-request-compliant participants compared to participants in the control-group were significantly more likely to comply with the big request: χ2 = 3.88; p < .05, indicating a FITD effect. Expectedly, an increasing attitude level was necessary to counterbalance the extra costs of a progressively more demanding compliance: F(1,110) = 21.11; p < .001. Compliance with a comparatively big request turned out to be the anticipated compensatory function of environmental attitude and behavioral costs.

Intrinsic Environmental Motivation

A. Kibbe & F. G. Kaiser

Critical for mitigating climate change is an intrinsically motivated sustainable way of life that needs no supervision, lasts over time, and incorporates a wide range of behaviors. Despite the fact that self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) and attitude theory (e.g., Kaiser, Hartig, Brügger, & Duvier, 2013) are traditionally recognized as distinct domains, we argue that the two theories share important formal features: (1) behavioral means have to correspond with underlying goals of actors and (2) behavior must genuinely be intentional. In our research, we explored a convenience sample of 616 residents of Germany (mean age: 25; female proportion: 69%). Intrinsic motivation was assessed with the Motivation Toward the Environment Scale by Pelletier, Tuson, Green-Demers, Noels, & Beaton (1998). The MTES consists of various subscales: intrinsic, integrated, identified, introjected, and intrinsic motivation that stand in opposition to the extrinsic and the amotivation end of the scale. Environmental attitude by contrast was measured in line with Kaiser et al.’s (2013) suggestion. We found the two scales to correlate at r = .53 (when corrected for measurement error attenuation even at rcorr = .62). In our presentation, we argue for the conceptually most parsimonious concept of intrinsic motivation to protect the environment.

Green Defaults and Environmental Attitudes: A Compensatory Model

M. Vetter & O. Arnold

Green defaults—i.e., options that become effective without an active choice—and other “nudges” have recently been discussed as another promising way to foster pro-environmental behavior. In this discussion, the influence of individual attitudes has rarely been considered together with defaults, because strong attitudes are expected to limit the influence of defaults. In contrast to this conditional behavioral efficacy of defaults, we predict on the basis of the Campbell paradigm a compensatory effect of defaults and attitudes. In an online shopping experiment, 242 participants chose several products. The default groceries were varied between conditions (green vs. conventional product), and the environmental attitude of participants was assessed. The amount of green products chosen and the default acceptance rate served as dependent variables. As expected, we found statistically significant main effects of default condition and of environmental attitude predicting the amount of green products chosen (R² = .32). We, however, did not find a significant conditional (i.e., an interaction) effect. The acceptance rate of defaults was, by contrast, predicted by a default-attitude interaction. In other words, attitude congruent defaults were accepted more often than attitude incongruent ones. These results corroborate our assumption of a compensatory behavioral efficacy of defaults and attitudes.

Critical Appraisal of Distinct Measures of Environmental Attitude

S. Otto, U. Kröhne, & D. Richter

A common assumption in attitude research is that three types of observable indicators—cognitive, affective, and behavioral—can reveal people’s attitudes. However, the majority of attitude measures focus on cognitive responses, and only some measures are based on behavioral responses. For example, in environmental psychology, the widely used New Ecological Paradigm (NEP, Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig, & Jones, 2000) is a cognitive attitude measure, whereas the General Ecological Behavior (GEB) scale (Kaiser, Byrka, & Hartig, 2010) has been established as a behavioral measure of environmental attitude. Using a representative sample of N = 477 participants (age: M = 51.2, SD = 17.8; female: 53.9%), we explored the validity of an adaptive version of the GEB and the standard NEP by relating the two measures to pro-environmental behavior, intentions, and statements about the importance of certain aspects of life. The validity of the GEB was substantially better than that of the NEP with respect to behavior and intentions. With respect to convergent cognitive responses, both instruments showed good validity. However, the NEP was also significantly related to a number of divergent cognitive responses, whereas the GEB was not. Overall this indicates the superior validity of the behavioral attitude measure.