THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Assignment is a 2,000 word individual essay

For the essay, you should conduct a critical evaluation of relevant theories and research evidence to provide an answer to one of the questions below.

To help you start thinking about how to address these questions, we have provided some journal papers that we will discuss during the module. Please read at least one for each topic so that we can discuss them in greater detail in class.

The discussions in class will provide formative feedback on how to address the essay title.

For the assignment you should conduct additional literature searches to address the question.

Topics: attitudes and attitude change

1. Raising awareness of environmental problems is not an effective way to tackle environmental issues because people’s everyday behaviours are influenced by short term costs and benefits and will not or cannot consider uncertain, abstract and long term distant costs and benefits as well.

Leiserowitz, A. A. (2005), American Risk Perceptions: Is Climate Change Dangerous? Risk Analysis, 25, 1433–1442.

Whitmarsh, L. (2009). Behavioural responses to climate change: Asymmetry of intentions and impacts, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29, 1, 13-23.

Topic: Norms

2. People are primarily motivated by what other people do, so as long as most people keep driving their cars there is little chance we will ever promote significant changes in sustainable transport choices.

Goldstein, N., Cialdini, R. Griskevicius, V. (2008). A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels. Journal of consumer research, 35, 472-482

Schultz, P. W., Nolan, J. M., Cialdini, R. B., Goldstein, N. J., & Griskevicius, V. (2007). The constructive, destructive, and reconstructive power of social norms. Psychological Science, 18, 429-434.

Topic: Habits

3. Most everyday behaviours are habitual which means that people don’t tend to think about what they do – they just do it – therefore any attempts to raise environmental awareness to persuade people to take more pro-environmental actions is likely to fail.

Holland, R.W., Aarts, H. & Langendam, D. (2006). Breaking and creating habits on the working floor: A field-experiment on the power of implementation intentions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 6, 776-783.

Verplanken, B. & Roy, D., (2016). Empowering interventions to promote sustainable lifestyles: testing the habit discontinuity hypothesis in a field experiment. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 45, pp. 127-134.

Topic: Values and goal salience

4. People are effectively selfish therefore promoting pro-environmental behaviour through moral appeals is pointless and providing financial incentives will be much more effective.

Bain, P. G., Hornsey, M. J., Bongiorno, R. Jeffries, C. (2012). Promoting pro-environmental action in climate change deniers. Nature Climate Change, 2, 600-603

Evans, L., Maio, G. R., Corner, A. Hodgetts, C.J., Ahmed, S., Hahn, U. (2013). Self-interest and pro-environmental behaviour. Nature Climate Change. 122- 125.

Mazar, N. & Zhong, C.-B. (2010). Do green products make us better people? Psychological. Science, 21 4, 494–498

Further reading

Further reading will be advised during the lectures.

For more general reading, the following text book discusses many of the topics discussed in class in more detail.

Steg, Linda, Berg, Agnes E. van den, de Groot, Judith I. M. (2013). Environmental psychology: an introduction. BPS, Blackwell.

I dont think I need to upload the slides as all the books recommended cover them so please reference them and I would also like a detailed appendix page in relation to this essay. I will attach only the template of how they want the front page

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