The value of environmental self-identity
To overcome environmental problems we need to know what important antecedents of environmental behaviour are. Environmental self-identity can be defined as the extent to which you see yourself as an environmentally-friendly person. We found that it is indeed related to a range of pro-environmental actions, for example, energy use and preference for sustainable products. We found that environmental self-identity is partly stable, as it is influenced by one’s biospheric values. Biospheric values even predicted environmental self-identity at a later moment in time and after a manipulation of environmental self-identity. However, environmental self-identity can also be changed to a certain extent. Based on self-perception theory we studied whether reminding people of their past behaviour influences their environmental self-identity. We indeed found that when people realize that they often acted environmentally-friendly in the past their environmental self-identity was strengthened which in turn promoted pro-environmental actions. When people realized they rarely acted environmentally-friendly in the past their environmental self-identity was weakened and they were less likely to act pro-environmental. However, past behaviour only influenced environmental self-identity when the signalling strength of the past behaviour was high. Only
This project is part of project "Spill-over of initial pro-environmental actions to other pro-environmental behaviours".
Researchers and partners
Behavioural and Social Sciences, Psychology
- Kees Keizer, Social Psychology
- Linda Steg, Social Psychology
- Ellen van der Werff, Social Psychology
- Van der Werff, E., Steg, L., & Keizer, K. (2014). Follow the signal: When past pro-environmental actions signal who you are. Journal of Environmental Psychology,40, 273-282. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.07.004
- Van der Werff, E., Steg, L., & Keizer, K. (2014). I am what I am, by looking past the present: The influence of biospheric values and past behaviour on environmental self-identity. Environment and Behavior, 46(5), 626-657. doi. 10.1177/0013916512475209
- Van der Werff, E., Steg, L., & Keizer, K. (2013). It is a moral issue: The relationship between environmental self-identity, obligation-based intrinsic motivation and pro-environmental behaviour. Global Environmental Change, 23, 1258-1265.
- Van der Werff, E., Steg, L., & Keizer, K. (2013). The value of environmental self-identity: The relationship between biospheric values, environmental self-identity and environmental preferences, intentions and behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 34, 55-63.
University's focus areas
- Sustainable Society
|Last modified:||29 March 2021 10.17 a.m.|