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Natural Connections: New Strategies for Measuring Connectedness with Nature Wesley Schultz California State University Presentation prepared for Society.

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Presentation on theme: "Natural Connections: New Strategies for Measuring Connectedness with Nature Wesley Schultz California State University Presentation prepared for Society."— Presentation transcript:

1 Natural Connections: New Strategies for Measuring Connectedness with Nature Wesley Schultz California State University Presentation prepared for Society of Human Ecology, Bar Harbor, Maine. Address correspondences to: Wesley Schultz, Department of Psychology, California State University, San Marcos, CA, (760) October 19, 2006 Carol Saunders Brookfield Zoo

2 Natural Connections: New Strategies for Measuring Connectedness with Nature Wesley Schultz California State University Presentation prepared for Society of Human Ecology, Bar Harbor, Maine. Address correspondences to: Wesley Schultz, Department of Psychology, California State University, San Marcos, CA, (760) October 19, 2006 Carol Saunders Brookfield Zoo

3 Acknowledgements Coral Bruni, Karelle Jones, Randie Chance, Jeremy Bowlin, Wes Mouw Publications related to this line of inquiry: Schultz, P. W., Tabanico, J., & Tilos, R., & Adams, C. (in press). Self, identity, and the natural environment. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Oskamp, S., & Schultz, P. W. (2005). Attitudes and opinions (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Schultz, P. W., Shriver, C., Tabanico, J., & Khazian, A. (2004). Implicit connections with nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24, Schultz, P. W. (2002). Inclusion with nature: Understanding the psychology of human-nature interactions. In P. Schmuck, & P. W. Schultz, The psychology of sustainable development. New York: Kluwer. Schultz, P. W. (2000). Empathizing with nature: The effects of perspective-taking on concern for environmental issues. Journal of Social Issues, 56,

4 Environmental Attitudes Environmental attitudes--the evaluative beliefs (affect) and behavioral intentions a person holds regarding environmentally related activities or issues. “I favor opening the Alaskan Arctic Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration” Environmental concern--affect or worry associated with environmental problems. One component of environmental attitudes “How much does each of the following environmental problems worry you…” E.g., Water pollution, global warming, depletion of natural resources, biodiversity, habitat destruction

5 Environmental Attitudes Environmental values--the reasons why a person is concerned about environmental problems. Egoistic--focus on self Social-altruistic--focus on other people Biospheric--focus on plants and animals Biospheric concerns are positively correlated with environmental behavior Egoistic concerns negatively correlated with environmental behavior What leads a person to value nature versus valuing self?

6 So Why do People Value Nature? Environmental literature is replete with references to “inclusion” Humans are a part of nature, versus, humans are separate from nature. I am a part of nature, or I am separate from nature This belief is “primitive” and generally “implicit”

7 The Inclusion Model Biospheric Motives Egoistic Motive Behavior + + Separate from nature Connected to nature Rational Choice Psychological Inclusion

8 A Psychological Model of Inclusion Inclusion--An individual’s beliefs about the extent to which s/he is part of the natural environment. Cognitive--connectedness between self and nature Affective--the extent to which an individual cares about plants and animals Behavioral--an individual’s commitment to act in ways that benefit the natural environment.

9 Measuring Connectedness Inclusion of Nature in Self (Schultz, 2001) Connectedness to Nature Scale (Mayer & Frantz, 2004) Environmental identity (Clayton & Opotow, 2003) New Ecological Paradigm (Dunlap et al., 2000) Others being developed

10 Implicit Connections with Nature Implicit Association Test (IAT) Greenwald et al. (1998, 2003) Categorization task Response latencies Compatible and incompatible trials Details previously published (Schultz et al., 2004, 2005, in press; Bruni et al., 2006)

11 Balanced Identity Designs (Greenwald et al., 2003) Self Evaluation Attribute or Group Self-esteem Self-concept Attitude

12 Balanced Identity Designs (Greenwald et al., 2003) Self Evaluation Attribute or Group Self-esteem Self-concept Attitude Self-Nature Associations

13 FlexiTwins Game On-line or stand-alone game, incorporating IAT principles Provides scores of Implicit Connections with Nature Possible use with children Incorporated into a longitudinal study

14 FlexiTwins Game Game used and validated with adult samples (Schultz & Bruni, forthcoming) Good reliability and test-retest Evidence for validity Current project designed to examine usefulness with children Pilot testing for forthcoming longitudinal study

15 FlexiTwins Game Participants: 30 grade school children, ages (5th grade) Materials: several self-report measures of environmental attitudes, flexitwins game, in- person interview, peer-ratings, teacher ratings, daily dairy, picture of favorite place Procedure: tested individually in classroom. On-line survey, in-person interview, play game (twice)

16 FlexiTwins Game NATUREBUILTMENOT ME WaterfallChurch(name)(random) FlowerChair(picture)(random) TreeCar MountainTruck Note: Stimuli derived from a card sorting task with kids at the Brookfield Zoo. Selected items were those that were most consistently classified by 10-year-olds as “natural” or “built.”

17 Results FlexiTwins test-retest =.62

18 Results Children very high on connectedness (mean=.64) For comparison: California college students (.38 to.44 across six studies) Sample of visitors from San Diego Zoo (.45) Environmental activists (.62)

19 Results Correlates with implicit connectedness Explicit concerns (not significant) Expected pattern, but not significant Gender: boys less connected than girls Caring for plants or animals (not significant) Number of hours watching TV (r=-.41) Number of hours playing video games (r=-.45)

20 Results Correlates with implicit connectedness Time spent playing inside (r=-.36) Time spent playing outside (not significant) “Is there a person in your life who encourages you to spend time in nature.” Yes (.70), no (.49)

21 Discussion Current data used as pilot test for forthcoming longitudinal study “accelerated longitudinal design” Measuring kids at age 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 Yearly measures for four years What to include? Open for comment and discussion What factors lead to connectedness? What consequences does connectedness have on later-life decisions?


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