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Title: Personality and Environmental Attitudes: Priming Individual Differences to Increase Environmental Concern
Authors: Richards, Maegan
Advisors: Cooper, Joel
Department: Psychology
Certificate Program: Environmental Studies Program
Class Year: 2018
Abstract: Environmental attitudes are an increasingly important part of political decision making. Previous studies have found that personality traits relate to environmental attitudes and that those higher in the personality trait Agreeableness have higher levels of environmental concern. The present study attempts to capitalize on this relationship to bypass traditional methods of persuasion to change environmental attitudes. Instead of relying on a persuasive communication, the study tries to increase the salience of Agreeableness, the personality trait related to higher environmental concern, to increase participants’ levels of environmental concern. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a group where Agreeableness was primed, a group where Extraversion was primed, and a control group, and the experiment was divided into three parts: the first measures, the prime, and the second measures. In the first measures, a baseline personality test was completed along with a measure of environmental attitudes. The prime was a free response to a question asking participants to think about a time when the trait selected for the participant’s group helped them achieve a goal. This was intended to increase the salience of the selected personality trait. Finally, participants responded to a second personality measure measuring just the trait selected and a second environmental attitudes measure. The results showed no differences in responses to the environmental measures between the three groups, but correlations between the personality traits and environmental measures were in the expected directions. The study discusses possible explanations for these findings. Keywords: personality, environmental attitudes, persuasion
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2020

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