Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 547057
Title Which construal level combinations generate the most effective interventions? A field experiment on energy conservation
Author(s) Griffioen, Anouk M.; Handgraaf, Michel J.J.; Antonides, Gerrit
Source PLoS ONE 14 (2019)1. - ISSN 1932-6203
DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209469
Department(s) Marketing and Consumer Behaviour
WASS
Urban Economics
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Abstract

Many campaigns targeting pro-environmental behavior combine multiple approaches without properly understanding how these different approaches interact. Here we study the effect of such combinations. We apply construal level theory to classify different intervention approaches, which can either be at a high construal level (abstract and distant) or at a low construal level (concrete and proximal). In a field experiment we recruited 197 students living in one-person apartments in an all-inclusive student housing facility. We objectively measured their individual electricity and warm water use, and measured psychological variables through surveys. We expected that the (commonly considered superior) combination between a high and a low construal level approach would be least effective. Participants were randomly assigned to a 2(Construal Level: low vs. high) × 2(Social Distance: low vs. high) plus control condition mixed-model design targeting a reduction in warm water use. Our findings suggest that a congruent combination at a high construal level (i.e., the high construal level condition combined with the high social distance condition) has the largest effect on warm water use and that spillover to electricity use is most likely to occur when a high construal level is used (i.e., high social distance). Moreover, especially participants who valued nature and the environment less were most strongly influenced by the combination of two high construal level approaches. In sum, our study suggests that when designing interventions one should consider the construal level and when targeting pro-environmental behavior high construal levels appear most appropriate.

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