Internal and External Factors’ Influence on Recycling: Insights From a Laboratory Experiment With Observed Behavior
Internal psychological factors, such as intentions and personal norms, are central predictors of pro-environmental behavior in many theoretical models, whereas the influence from external factors such as the physical environment is seldom considered. Even rarer is studying how internal factors interact with the physical context in which decisions take place.
In the current study, we addressed the relative influence and interaction of psychological and environmental factors on pro-environmental behavior. A laboratory experiment presented participants (N = 399) with a choice to dispatch a used plastic cup in a recycling or general waste bin after participating in a staged “yogurt taste test.”
Results showed how the spatial positioning of bins explained more than half of the variance in recycling behavior whilst self-reported recycling intentions were not related to which bin they used. Rinsing cups (to reduce contamination) before recycling, on the other hand, was related to both behavioral intention and external factors.
These results show that even seemingly small differences in a choice context can influence how well internal psychological factors predict behavior and how aspects of the physical environment can assist the alignment of behavior and intentions, as well as steering behavior regardless of motivation.
Research news | 2022-01-10
Peter Jørgensen receives European Research Council starting grant
The grant consists of 1,5 million Euro over five years for studying the emergence of new problem species in agriculture and human health
Research news | 2021-12-16
Freshwater biodiversity must be given a higher priority
Research and conservation of freshwater biodiversity is lagging behind. Researchers propose 15 priorities to improve knowledge on biodiversity in lakes, rivers, ponds and wetlands
Research news | 2021-12-14
Turning tension into transformation
Too much time is spent debating which agenda for change is best, instead of finding ways to facilitate better interactions among different interests
Research news | 2021-12-14
Global Resilience Partnership releases report on their work at COP26
The report synthesises the key overarching messages from their activities at the conference and offers guidance for future actions towards COP27
Research news | 2021-12-13
In a warming world the ocean will struggle as a carbon sink
Biological feedbacks mean the ocean will struggle to remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as expected
Research news | 2021-12-08
Getting a more complete picture of our impact on nature
New metric can help investors, companies, cities, and governments track their environmental impacts beyond greenhouse gas emissions