The Motivational Roots of Norms for Environmentally Responsible Behavior

Th√łgersen, J. (2009). The motivational roots of norms for environmentally responsible behavior. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 31(4), 348-362. doi:10.1080/01973530903317144.

How internalized and integrated into the person's cognitive and goal structures are norms guiding environmentally desirable behavior? In two surveys (N=206 and N=200), subjective social norms and personal norms for a specific behavior (the purchase of organic food or recycling) as well as self-reported behavior and the person's reasons and motives for performing the behavior were measured. The number and types of associations differ depending on the strength of the person's norms and the two types of norms differ in their embeddedness in the person's cognitive structures. With the partial exception of really low-cost behaviors (e.g., recycling in many contexts), environmentally responsible behavior is guided by what seems to be truly internalized and integrated (personal) norms.

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