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Past and Present Environmental Psychology
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, The Service and Market Oriented Transport Research Group.
2014 (English)In: European Psychologist, ISSN 1016-9040, E-ISSN 1878-531X, Vol. 19, no 2, 127-131 p.Article in journal, Editorial material (Other academic) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

In my commentary on the papers in this special section of European Psychologist, I note that the focus of past environmental psychology on changing the human environment to increase people's well-being has in contemporary environmental psychology been replaced by a focus on changing people and their behavior to preserve the human environment. This change is justified by current concerns in society about the ongoing destruction of the human environment. Yet, the change of focus should not lead to neglecting the role of changing the environment for changing people's behavior. I argue that it may actually be the most effective behavior change tool. I still criticize approaches focusing on single behaviors for frequently being insufficient. I endorse an approach that entails coercive measures implemented after research has established that changing consumption styles harming the environment does not harm people. Such a broader approach would alert researchers to undesirable (in particular indirect) rebound effects. My view on application is that research findings in (environmental) psychology are difficult to communicate to those who should apply them, not because they are irrelevant but because they, by their nature, are qualitative and conditional. Scholars from other disciplines failing to disclose this have an advantage in attracting attention and building trust.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hogrefe & Huber Publishers, 2014. Vol. 19, no 2, 127-131 p.
Keyword [en]
environmental psychology, proenvironmental behavior, conservation (ecological behavior), commentary
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41588DOI: 10.1027/1016-9040/a000184ISI: 000336107000006OAI: diva2:923075
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-11 Last updated: 2016-04-29Bibliographically approved

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Gärling, Tommy
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