The Modifiability of Implicit Attitudes to Carbon Footprint and Its Implications for Carbon Choice

Beattie, G., & McGuire, L. (2018). “The Modifiability of Implicit Attitudes to Carbon Footprint and Its Implications for Carbon Choice.” Environment and Behavior, online ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916518808571

Abstract: We tested whether selected film clips can be used to change implicit as well as explicit attitudes to carbon footprint to promote low carbon choice. We found that carbon choice could be influenced by film, with clips with a strong emotional content being particularly effective. There was also a significant change in both explicit and implicit attitudes to low carbon for those with weaker initial pro-low carbon attitudes. In the case of both explicit feelings of warmth and implicit attitudes to low carbon, significant changes were observed 6 weeks later compared with baseline, but no significant differences were found for explicit measure of attitudinal preference. The fact that implicit attitudes to carbon footprint can be changed experimentally could be significant because implicit rather than explicit attitudes underlie the more routine and automatic aspects of everyday consumer behavior. We discuss the broader implications of this research for future climate change campaigns.

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