Cognitive Resources Moderate the Relationship Between Pro-Environmental Attitudes and Green Behavior

Langenbach, Benedikt P.; Berger, Sebastian; Baumgartner, Thomas; Knoch, Daria (2019). Cognitive Resources Moderate the Relationship Between Pro-Environmental Attitudes and Green Behavior. Environment and behavior, 51(3), 001391651984312. Sage 10.1177/0013916519843127

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Given the urgency of climate change mitigation, motivating individuals to behave in sustainable ways constitutes a key challenge for environmental science. Although many studies evidence people’s long-lasting pro-environmental attitudes, such attitudes often do not translate into behavior. The present research hypothesizes that cognitive resources are a crucial moderator, explaining when pro-environmental attitudes turn into behavior. Specifically, we investigate the attitude–behavior gap while taking a “cognition perspective” on environmental behavior. Using experience sampling, the present research demonstrates that individual differences in central aspects of cognitive control (assessed by working memory capacity) moderate the relationship between environmental attitudes and behavior. Our correlational findings suggest that people with positive environmental attitudes also require high working memory capacity to behave in line with their ideals. Our results do not only provide empirical support for recent theorizing in environmental research, but, perhaps more importantly, might offer a central lever for behavioral change initiatives (e.g., “nudging”).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Organization and Human Resource Management > Organisation
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Organization and Human Resource Management

Graduate School:

Swiss Graduate School for Cognition, Learning and Memory (SGS-CLM)

UniBE Contributor:

Berger, Sebastian; Baumgartner, Thomas and Knoch, Daria

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

0013-9165

Publisher:

Sage

Funders:

[62] Jacobs Foundation
[UNSPECIFIED] Mens Sana Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Benedikt Peter Langenbach

Date Deposited:

09 May 2019 15:23

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 17:05

Publisher DOI:

10.1177/0013916519843127

Uncontrolled Keywords:

pro-environmental behavior, cognitive resources, attitude–behavior gap, working memory, pro-environmental attitudes

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.130479

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/130479

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