Causal effects of pride and guilt on pro-environmental behaviour

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


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
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventWASS PhD DAY 2012 - Wageningen
Duration: 10 May 201210 May 2012


ConferenceWASS PhD DAY 2012

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