Environmental Decision




Associate Professor of Psychology

Project Summary

The primary goal of our research was to investigate the motivations that underlie people’s perceptions of the environment and environmental issues. Many people care about the environment, but might nonetheless have a hard time speaking up for it when others question the usefulness of recycling, the value of nature reserves, or the validity of climate science. We wanted to gain a better understanding of where this reluctance comes from, and how it could be mitigated. In the beginning stages of our research we looked at the role personal values and the opinions of others play in informing people’s beliefs about environmentalism. We found that the consequences of certain actions as well as personal values were linked to pro-environmental actions. We also found that people seems to think they care more about the environment than others which leads them to be less willing to speak up about the environment. To move forward from these results, we also looked into whether the (perceived) politicization of environmental issues prevents people from speaking up. In this study, we looked at personality type and degree of concern about the environment as well to see if these factors influences people’s decision about whether or not to speak up about environmental issues. We generally found that politicization does influence speaking up, but rather than preventing people from speaking it seems that people who found environmental issues politicized were more likely to speak up about them. We hope that these results can in the future be used by organizations to help develop plans for motivating society to care more about environment issues.