What unsustainable behavior needs to change:
The issue of waste generation and low recycling rates is a cause for great concern in both Europe and the United States. Furthermore, the problem of excessive water waste is equally alarming, with numerous regions throughout the world struggling with droughts and water scarcity. Unfortunately, it is predicted that these issues will continue to worsen by 2030. This emphasizes the dire need for enhanced recycling and more conservation-oriented habits.
But let’s face it, we all want to save the planet, but sometimes it feels like too much work.
Research tells us that people are more likely to adopt eco-friendly behaviours if they don’t require a lot of effort. It’s called the „low-cost hypothesis,“ meaning we’re more likely to do something if it doesn’t cost us much time, money or energy. But the question is, how can we get people to take on more challenging conservation behaviours that require more effort?
The Green Nudge:
A group of researchers from Germany and Poland discovered that adding human-like features (i.e.eyes and mouths) to a conservation campaign increased the likelihood of people adopting environmentally-friendly behaviours which required some effort.
They found that anthropomorphizing non-human objects can foster an emotional connection and sense of responsibility – driving us to invest time and resources into protecting them and influencing our behaviour towards non-human life. They revealed that the use of anthropomorphic cues can boost the effectiveness of negatively framed messages in promoting green intentions, particularly when distinguishing between positive and negative language in messaging.
This study provides valuable insights into crafting effective advertisements that can promote effortful behaviours, filling a gap in the limited and inconclusive prior empirical research on this topic.