Understanding and motivating energy conservation via social norms
Cialdini, R.B., & Schultz, W. (2004). Understanding and motivating energy conservation via social norms. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
- The purpose of this 3-year project was to examine the role of normative beliefs in an individual’s decision to conserve energy. In our proposal we outlined three sets of studies, with each set to be conducted over the course of a year. In the first set of studies, summarized in our 2002 Yearly Report, we examined the reasons that people gave for conserving energy, and the role of normative beliefs in energy conservation behaviors. Data for these analyses were based on random digit dialing telephone surveys of California residents. The second set of studies, which were summarized in our 2003 Yearly Report, involved the development of conservation messages that were placed in hotel rooms. A series of five experiments were conducted in California and Arizona. The results from these studies clearly indicate that messages targeting the normative aspects of energy conservation can significantly increase conservation behaviors. The third and final set of studies, reported below, examined the effectiveness of a normative feedback intervention for promoting household energy conservation among a diverse sample of community residents. Each of the studies involved collaboration between researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) and California State University, (CSU) San Marcos. Over the course of the past year, the research teams from ASU and CSU met three times for discussion and planning: twice in Arizona, and once in Austin, Texas, for the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). Each research team consisted of two graduate students, and several undergraduate research assistants. The research meetings allowed us an opportunity to develop research methodology and materials, discuss project activities, and review and analyze data. Following is a summary of the activities and findings from the third and final year of the project. 2
- Concepts Nudge, Social norms, Sustainable resource use
- Relevant research methods Behavioral research/Psychology, Intervention, Survey/Questionnaire