The integrity of conservation psychology as a field of research and practice is grounded in rigorous research. Saunders (2003), in proposing the new field, emphasized its applied nature and the value of enhancing connections between research and practice, between the social and natural sciences, and between psychology and other social sciences. Indeed, the field’s success depends upon researchers’ ability to identify theory, methods, and applied recommendations and techniques that yield demonstrable and effective sustainability outcomes (Clayton & Myers, 2015; Salafsky, 2003; Stern, 2003). Forty years of empirical psychological research on pro-environmental behavior has yielded well-established findings about specific approaches that are effective in promoting pro-environmental behavior. However, the results vary based on context, the individuals involved, and the specific behaviors (Schultz, 2013). Research has surfaced a range of effective techniques (prompts, commitments, feedback, social norms, incentives, and convenience), but “considerable uncertainty” exists regarding when to deploy these respective tools (Schultz, 2013, p. 8, citing Osbaldiston & Schott, 2012). A theory-driven approach to understanding pro-environmental behavior is still needed (Steg & Vlek, 2009). This webinar will feature an overview of relevant research, introduction to one empirically tested approach to facilitating behavior change, illustrated by the example of a recent study on fossil fuel divestment (Abrash Walton, 2016).
Presenter: Abigail Abrash Walton
View a video of the webinar here: