Causal effects of pride and guilt on pro-environmental behaviour

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

Previous research shows that inducing pride or guilt can motivate prosocial behaviour. We aim to extend these findings by exploring whether pride and guilt can also motivate pro-environmental behaviour, which can be regarded as specific prosocial act. Furthermore, we aim to show how these emotions affect pro-environmental behavior. Previous studies do not always distinguish between related and unrelated effects of pride and guilt. In Study 1 the exogenous and endogenous effects of experienced pride and guilt are compared to reveal whether pride and guilt affect behavior via a basic tendency to feel good, or whether these emotions have an information function. This study is conducted in the Netherlands (N=423) and shows that pro-environmental behaviour is activated by related pride and guilt (experienced after recalling (un)environmentally-friendly behaviour), however not by unrelated emotions (experienced after recalling unrelated behavior. In Study 2 we aim to replicate these findings for anticipated pride and guilt. Study 2 is a longitudinal survey conducted in the Netherlands countries (N=2,782). The results show that anticipated emotions regarding environmentally-friendly behaviour predict organic food consumption, while these emotions are not predictive of healthy and fair trade food consumption. These results imply that pride and guilt predict pro-environmental behavior even before these emotions are experienced. Furthermore, anticipated pride and guilt are only predictive of behavior when they inform individuals regarding a related underlying personal standard. Finally, we explored how specific the information functions of pride and guilt are. Study 3 is a longitudinal survey conducted in the Netherlands (N=508) and shows that anticipated emotions regarding the environment affect only a range of specific pro-environmental behaviours. These results replicate that anticipated pride and guilt affect pro-environmental behavior. Furthermore, these results imply that these emotions function at a context-specific level.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWASS PhD Day 2012 - Abstract Book, 10 May 2012
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen UR, WASS
Pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventWASS PhD DAY 2012 - Wageningen
Duration: 10 May 201210 May 2012

Conference

ConferenceWASS PhD DAY 2012
CityWageningen
Period10/05/1210/05/12

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