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1 Effective Communication & Behavior Change Seminar for Environmental Leaders Sponsored by The Solar Valley Coalition October 28, 2008 Amanda Carrico

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Presentation on theme: "1 Effective Communication & Behavior Change Seminar for Environmental Leaders Sponsored by The Solar Valley Coalition October 28, 2008 Amanda Carrico"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Effective Communication & Behavior Change Seminar for Environmental Leaders Sponsored by The Solar Valley Coalition October 28, 2008 Amanda Carrico Doctoral Candidate Department of Psychology Vanderbilt University

2 2 Public Perceptions: Climate Change & Environment  National Public Opinion Polls: 82% - Climate change is real (60% caused by human activities) 1. 65% - concerned “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about climate change 2. 53% - Climate change is one of the most serious long- term issues facing our country 3.  Middle Tennessee 4 : 67% are “very concerned” about the environment. 43% believe air pollution is harmful to their health. 1 Fox News Survey, 2007; 2 Pew Research Center, 2008; 3 Presidential Debate on Science Survey, 2008; 4 Clean Air Partnership & Vanderbilt University,

3 3 Pro-Environmental Behavior  Behaviors changed because of air pollution (Middle Tennessee):  Carpooled - 1%  Used mass transit - <1%  Limited driving - 1%  Reduced energy use - 1%

4 4 Behavioral Malleability Infrequent BehaviorsFrequent Behaviors Easy to Change (few structural barriers)  Reduce water heater temp  CFL substitution  Tire pressure maintenance  Auto air filter change  Install Programmable Thermostat  Improve home insulation  Turn off unused lights/appliances  Reduce vehicle idling  Reduce standby power  Adjust thermostat 2 o  Trip chain  Alter driving habits  Walk/Bike to nearby locations Difficult to Change (substantial barriers: income, access, time, competing demands)  Purchase ‘Energy Star’ appliances  Buy more efficient vehicle  Purchase renewable energy source  Urban lifestyle  Purchase local food  Carpool  Use Mass Transit

5 5 Overcoming Barriers to Behavior Change  Provide usable information  Make behavior change easier  Promote efficacy  Use Social Norms

6 6 Lack of “Usable” Information Misperceptions often lead us to the “wrong” actions. We overestimate the energy used by things we see (lights) and underestimate the things we don’t (hot water heater, furnace). >80% of Americans hold inaccurate beliefs about idling 1 :  It is better to idle for ___ in order to:  “Save gas” = 4.7 minutes  “Prevent pollution” = 3.6 minutes  “Prevent vehicle wear” = 5.7 minutes Information is most effective for easy-to-change behaviors 1 Carrico, Vandenbergh, Gilligan & Wallston (in preparation)

7 7 Presenting Information Information is most effective when it is: From a credible source  ‘State Regulatory Agency’ vs. ‘Local Utility’  Seek out endorsements Vivid  “30 inches of cracks” vs. “a hole the size of a basketball” Meaningful  Making the abstract concrete  2000 kwh = “enough energy to power the average home for 6 weeks”.  “If everyone lived like you we would need 2.1 planets to support global consumption”  Example - ‘Black Balloons Commercial’  Provide specific calls to action

8 8 Make Behavior Change Easier  We are less likely to perform behaviors that require: More steps More time and effort More mental energy (e.g., memory, attention)  Examples The single biggest determining factor in whether a person recycles if the availability of curbside recycling. Organ Donation (opt-in vs. opt-out)  Consider default settings: Hot water heaters Energy saving settings (computers, monitors) Johnson & Goldstein, 2003

9 9 Make Behavior Change Easier

10 10 Promoting Efficacy  We are less motivated to engage in behaviors that we feel are ineffective.  Particularly important for frequent & easy to change behaviors.  Promoting Efficacy: Message framing  Stress the connection between behaviors and outcomes. Feedback  Feedback meters associated with 5 to 60% reduction in energy use.  Continuous feedback is most effective (feedback meters)  Periodic feedback is better than no feedback (public announcements) Petersen et al. (2007)

11 11 Vanderbilt’s ThinkOne Campaign In September of 2008, the Undergraduate Admissions Building used about 65,600 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. This is moving in the right direction, as it is 12% better than average for your building! However, it is still 2,600 kWh from reaching your goal…

12 12 Using Social Influence  Social Norms: Pressure to comply (social approval) Pressure to conform (popularity, fitting in)  We often change our behavior to accommodate social norms. 75% of participants gave an obviously wrong answer (Asch, 1951). XA B C

13 13 Using Social Norms  Message Framing: Sequoia National Park (Winter et al., 2000):  “ Many past visitors have gone off the established paths, changing the natural state of the Sequoias and vegetation in this park”  “Please don't go off the established paths and trails in order to protect the Sequoias and natural vegetation in this park”

14 14 Using Social Norms  Identify Early Adopters: Water Conservation Study (Aronson & O’Leary, 1982)  “Conserve water: 1. Wet down. 2. Water off. 3. Soap. 4. Rinse.” Work with opinion leaders  Led to 12% unprotected sex in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts (Kelly et al., 1991; 1992; 1997)

15 15 How to build an effective program 1. Set goals 2. Identify barriers 3. Plan and Implement 4. Evaluate 5. Revise and refine

16 16 Set Goals  Long-term goals Mission statement  Short-term goals Create specific near-term objectives Quantify objectives  15% decrease in campus electricity use (ThinkOne)  10% increase in carpooling Identify behaviors that will achieve those objectives  Conservation behavior (lighting, heating and cooling, appliance use)

17 17 Identify Barriers  Understand what may prevent an individual from engaging in the target behavior. Literature Search Focus Groups Surveys (Needs Assessment)  How often do you engage in this behavior?  What helps you to engage in this behavior?  What prevents you from engaging in this behavior? Observation

18 18 Create a Plan  Determine which behavior change techniques are at available.  Make concrete steps for how to achieve goals.  Create a logic/process model to outline steps required to implement plan and for the plan to be effective

19 19 Create a Plan (Process Model)

20 20 Evaluate  No intervention is complete without an evaluation  Measure: Behavior Exposure to intervention Reactions to intervention (negative and positive) Unexpected consequences  Printed materials not being recycled  Turning off lights leads to safety concerns  Tools for evaluation: Surveys Observation Focus groups Comment pages/Community Forums (website)

21 21 Revise & Refine  Allow enough flexibility to revise and refine your program!!

22 22 Additional Resources Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing. Doug McKenzie-Mohr and William Smith. New Society Publishers. A Review of Intervention Studies Aimed at Household Energy Conservation. Wojke Abrahamse et al. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2005 Volume 25: Psychological Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. Paul C. Stern. Annual Review of Psychology, 1992, Volume 43: What Psychology Knows about Energy Conservation. Paul C. Stern. American Psychologist, 1992, Volume 47 No. 10: Crafting Normative Messages to Protect the Environment. Robert B. Cialdini. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2003, Volume 12: Evaluating Community Programs and Initiatives. The Community Tool Box.


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