Why going green feels goodVenhoeven, L. A., Bolderdijk, J. W. & Steg, L., 22-Aug-2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Journal of Environmental Psychology. 71, 101492.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Academic › peer-review
Recent research found that when asked explicitly, people associate (future) sustainable actions with posi‐ tive instead of negative emotions. This empirical finding implies that policy makers could harness people's intrinsic motivation to promote sustainable actions. It is however not clear where this association between sustainable actions and positive emotions stems from. Why would people report that going green feels good, given that such actions often require more effort or inconvenience? We argue and show that the pre‐ viously found relationship between sustainable actions and anticipated positive emotions is not merely a matter of social desirability, but rather a matter of meaning: acting sustainably is often perceived as a moral choice and thus as a meaningful course of action, which can elicit positive emotions. Specifically, we found that participants also associate sustainable actions with positive instead of negative emotions when using an implicit association measure – one that reduces the likelihood of socially desirable responses (Study 1). Moreover, participants anticipated more intense emotions when those actions were meaningful to them: they felt more positive about sustainable actions, and more negative about unsustainable actions, when they chose to engage in those actions and when those actions are considered personally relevant to the individual (Study 2). Together, these studies explain why acting green feels good, and support the no‐ tion that sustainable actions are indeed expected (not merely reported) to be intrinsically motivating.
|Journal||Journal of Environmental Psychology|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 22-Aug-2020|