Using Social Cognition and Persuasion to Promote Energy Conservation: A Quasi-Experiment

Gonzales, M. H., Aronson, E., & Costanzo, M. A. (1988). Using social cognition and persuasion to promote energy conservation: A quasi-experiment. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 12 (Pt 2), 1049-1066.

Examined whether the effectiveness of a residential conservation service home energy audit program could be improved by training auditors to use social-psychological principles during the audit procedure. Nine home energy auditors attended workshops in which they were trained to (a) communicate vividly, (b) personalize their recommendations to homeowners, (c) induce commitment, and (d) frame their recommendations in terms of loss rather than gain. The effectiveness of the trained Ss was compared with a control group of 9 auditors who did not receive specific training. Data point to the success of the auditor training. In interviews, customers served by the trained Ss reported a greater likelihood of acting on the Ss' recommendations, and many of these customers reported applying for utility programs to finance retrofits. Utility records validated these customer claims.

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