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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Psychology Research Units Social Psychology

Developing socially responsible innovations: The role of values and moral emotions

Environmental Psychology, Social Psychology

Innovative solutions are needed to address societal challenges related to climate change, energy and resource use, or food security. Often, people react emotionally – for example angry or fearful - to such innovative solutions. Negative emotions can lead to fierce resistance, whereas positive emotions can contribute to a successful introduction of an innovation. Such emotions are often seen as irrational and unpredictable, and are therefore not explicitly addressed in decision-making. However, not taking emotions seriously may strengthen public opposition even more. This project proposes that emotions are not random and irrational, but rooted in people’s values. These emotions in turn strongly influence the public acceptability of these innovations. More specifically, the hypothesis is that emotional responses to innovations depend on how these innovations impact on people’s core values. People may thus feel negatively about and oppose innovations that threaten their core values, whereas they may feel positively about and support innovations that support their core values. To test our hypothesis, we will conduct experimental and case studies. We will map the emotions that real or fictive innovations with both, benefits and drawbacks for different values, elicits in people and investigate how these emotions are related to people

Main project

This project is part of project "Acceptability of a sustainable energy transition".

Researchers and partners

Behavioural and Social Sciences, Psychology
Partners outside of the University of Groningen
  • Nicole Huijts, Delft University of Technology
  • Sabine Roeser, Delft University of Technology
  • Steffen Steinert, Delft University of Technology


Selection of BA and MA student projects
  • Values, emotions, and innovations


  • Perlaviciute, G., & Steg, L. (2015). The influence of values on evaluations of energy alternatives. Renewable Energy, 77, 259-267.

University's focus areas

  • Energy
  • Sustainable Society
Last modified:29 March 2021 10.17 a.m.
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