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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01vq27zq85p
Title: Psychological Interventions Through Email: An Answer for Energy Conservation
Authors: Guyett, Douglas
Advisors: Tamir, Diana
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: If humanity continues its impact on climate change, the world will suffer significant negative consequences in the near future. Researchers in psychology are using new techniques in decision making to change people’s energy usage. Most studies have seen significant reductions in energy usage after implementing interventions such as feedback and messages inducing social responsibility. For instance social proof, comparing participants’ behavior to their peers, has successfully reduced energy use by 2%-3%. This study developed eight new interventions and compared their effectiveness on students at Princeton University with an intervention using social proof. These new interventions, drawn from different areas of psychology, target new aspects of decisionmaking. Several of the interventions manipulated subjects’ perceived discount rates reducing their likelihood to overweight temporally close rewards. This was done using interventions based around increasing the participants’ focus on the future and interventions focused on reducing stress. The other principles focused on how trustworthiness, the Identifiable Victim effect, and Prospect Theory could change energy behavior. Of the nine interventions employed, seven of them found significant reductions in energy use. Several of these interventions reduced energy use by 3%-5%, a larger change in energy use than found in previous studies. However, the messages using social proof elicited the most interest from participants. These results suggest that the effectiveness of the interventions is rooted in how they affect participants’ decision processes, not just the interest they generate.
Extent: 83 pages
URI: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01vq27zq85p
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2016

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