A Social-Psychological Analysis of Residential Electricity Consumption: The Impact of Minimal Justification Techniques

Katzev, R. D., & Johnson, T. R. (1983). A social-psychological analysis of residential electricity consumption: The impact of minimal justification techniques. Journal of Economic Psychology, 3, 3-4, 267-284.

Explored the impact of the foot-in-the-door technique on residential energy conservation. 66 homeowners were asked to curtail their consumption of electricity by 10%. In the foot-in-the-door condition, this target request was preceded by a more moderate one to answer a short energy conservation questionnaire. Ss in the second-request-only condition simply received the conservation request, while those in the first-request-only condition received the questionnaire alone. These groups were compared to a control group of Ss who were never asked to comply to either request. The groups did not differ in electricity consumption during the 2-wk baseline period or in their percentage change from baseline during the 4-wk request period. However, throughout the 12-wk follow-up period Ss in all 3 request groups consumed significantly less electricity than controls. The foot-in-the-door group contained significantly more conservers than any other group. Findings are contrasted with the results of behavioral energy studies that emphasize strong external justifications. (24 ref)

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