Seminar SCALab 27/06/2024

Salle des colloques, maison de la recherche, Campus pont de Bois

Pr Ruth Krebs (UGent)

Title: Exploring the role of cognitive effort in pro-environmental behavior
Abstract: Despite the overwhelming evidence for global warming and recommendations to respond to the climate challenges, the implementation of pro-environmental behavior remains difficult for many individuals. Pro-environmental behavior often requires additional cognitive effort, which is generally aversive for most individuals and has to be compensated by a valuable outcome. In a series of studies, we tested participants’ willingness to invest cognitive effort for pro-environmental outcomes (profiting a pro-environmental organization) and how this differs from cognitive effort for personal outcomes (profiting the participant). Overall, individuals invested less effort during pro-environmental compared to personal outcome trials, which is indicative of a lower subjective value. In several follow-up studies we explored different facets of this basic pattern, including its relationship with explicit pro-environmental decisions and opportunity costs, the influence of outcome magnitude, as well as the overlap with pro-social behavior. Considering pro-environmental behavior through the lens of cognitive effort frameworks might contribute to understanding long-term behavior change and devising tailored interventions.

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