Do norms matter? The role of normative considerations as predictors of pro-environmental behavior

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Most individuals care about the environment and feel that they ought to contribute to enhancing environmental quality. Yet, few individuals seem to consistently engage in pro-environmental action. Does this mean that peoples’ normative considerations with regard to the environment are unimportant?
My research suggests that norms do matter, but only under particular circumstances. Specifically, when the behavioral costs associated with pro-environmental action are perceived to be low, individuals are likely to act upon their normative considerations. However, when perceived costs are higher, individuals are less likely to act in line with these considerations. Furthermore, I also show that situational changes which focus individuals’ attention on norms and normative behavior increase the likelihood that individuals who care about the environment will act pro-environmentally. From these results I conclude that the fact that most individuals care about the environment matters, because it means that when external factors are managed well, these individuals may not only say they care, but act on it too.
Translated title of the contributionZijn normen belangrijk?: De rol van normatieve overwegingen als voorspellers van milieuvriendelijk gedrag
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Steg, Linda, Supervisor
  • van Zomeren, Martijn, Co-supervisor
Award date17-Nov-2014
Place of PublicationRidderkerk
Print ISBNs978-90-367-7359-1
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-7358-4
Publication statusPublished - 17-Nov-2014

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