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  • Distance makes the mind grow broader: an overview of psychological distance studies in the environmental and health domains
    33-46
    Views:
    884

    Environmental and health issues are two of the most pressing issues society faces today. People often view both environmental and health issues as psychologically distant: they believe that the problems will occur in the future, to other people, in other places and that the exact outcomes are uncertain. This paper provides an overview of studies that have investigated how the different psychological distance dimensions (viz., temporal, spatial, social and hypothetical) influence perceptions, intentions, and decision making in the environmental and health domains. This overview suggests that psychological distance indeed matters in both domains. There are indications that threat perceptions are mostly heightened when communicated or perceived as being psychologically close. However, the studies also show that a mere increase in perceived threat does not necessarily alter intentions or behavior. Moreover, with regard to the effects of psychological distance, there are neither clear differences between the environmental and the health domain nor between the four psychological distance dimensions. We discuss possible moderators that may explain the range of findings. Finally, we conclude with discussing the current stance of the literature and discuss specific research topics that are yet to be studied. As environmental and health behavior involve more than just one decision or one behavior, we suggest, for example, that future studies should investigate how psychological distance influences not only the target behavior, but related behavior as well.

  • Interventions to encourage sustainable consumption
    51-58
    Views:
    468

    Sustainable consumption is hampered by a discrepancy between consumers’ attitudes and their actual behaviour in the market place. Psychological construal level theory provides an explanation for the attitude to behaviour gap as a motivational conflict between high and low level of mental construal. Based on self-determination theory it is argued that this motivational conflict presupposes extrinsic motivation for sustainable behaviour. Based on self-regulatory styles, the present paper identifies and illustrates four types of intervention strategies that can cater for extrinsic motivation for sustainable development among light users. The underlying mechanisms of these interventions suggest that the transition from external to internal regulation is catalysed by social feedback.

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