The value of group values

Bouman, T., Steg, L. & Johnson-Zawadzki, S., 2018, p. 183.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

Biospheric group values (i.e., how concerned the average group member is with the natural environment) can influence group members' engagement in pro-environmental behaviors.
However, individuals may often be unaware of – and underestimate – the importance fellow group members attach to the environment, which could hamper their pro-environmental engagement.
In a set of lab- and field-based studies (e.g., among festival goers, tourists, athletes, students), we examined this ‘misperception’ and experimentally tested whether information about the ingroup could strengthen the perceived centrality of specific values to the group (i.e., biospheric versus hedonic) and, thereby, influence members’ pro-environmental engagement.
Our findings revealed that members indeed generally underestimate the centrality of biospheric values to other group members, unless the group is clearly construed around an environmental cause. In the latter case, members typically overestimate biospheric group values. In addition, the manipulated information about the ingroup (e.g., the importance members attach to the environment) strengthened the perception of corresponding group values (e.g., biospheric), which – in turn – predicted value congruent behaviors among individual members (e.g., pro-environmental behaviors).
In sum, individuals generally tend to underestimate the importance fellow group members attach to the environment. Yet, these perceptions can be altered and used to promote pro-environmental behaviors. These findings are particularly useful for practitioners and policy makers, highlighting a common misperception that hampers pro-environmental engagement, but also offering ways in which this misperception could be adjusted.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventInternational Congress of Applied Psychology - Palais des congrès, Montreal, Canada
Duration: 26-Jun-201830-Jun-2018


ConferenceInternational Congress of Applied Psychology
Abbreviated titleICAP
Internet address


International Congress of Applied Psychology


Montreal, Canada

Event: Conference

Related Activities
  1. International Congress of Applied Psychology

    Thijs Bouman (Speaker)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conferenceAcademic

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ID: 62442184