Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Warm glow is associated with low- but not high-cost sustainable behaviour

Subjects

Abstract

Why do people contribute to important societal causes, such as sustainability? This study hypothesized that people are motivated to help because they anticipate a sense of warm glow from acting green. Although results reveal that ‘feel-good’ affect mostly drives low- rather than high-cost behaviour changes, harnessing people’s intrinsic motivation to help the environment may be an underleveraged mechanism for promoting sustainability.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The influence of anticipated warm glow on green behaviour.
Fig. 2: The influence of anticipated warm glow on low-cost and high-cost green behaviour.

References

  1. Batson, C. D. & Powell, A. A. in The Handbook of Psychology (ed. Weiner, I. B.) 463–479 (Wiley, 2003).

  2. Oskamp, S. Am. Psychol. 55, 496–508 (2000).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. van der Linden, S., Maibach, E. & Leiserowitz, A. Perspect. Psychol. Sci. 10, 758–763 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Kollmuss, A. & Agyeman, J. Environ. Educ. Res. 8, 239–260 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Andreoni, J. Econ. J. 100, 464–477 (1990).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. van der Linden, S. Nat. Hum. Behav 1, 0041 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. van der Linden, S. Nat. Clim. Change 5, 612–613 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Slovic, P., Västfjäll, D., Erlandsson, A. & Gregory, R. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 114, 640–644 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bolderdijk, J. W., Steg, L., Geller, E. S., Lehman, P. K. & Postmes, T. Nat. Clim. Change 3, 413–416 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Taufik, D., Bolderdijk, J. W. & Steg, L. Nat. Clim. Change 5, 37–40 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Evans, L. et al. Nat. Clim. Change 3, 122–125 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Asensio, O. I. & Delmas, M. A. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 112, E510–E515 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Ariely, D., Bracha, A. & Meier, S. Am. Econ. Rev. 99, 544–555 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Schwartz, D., Bruine de Bruin, W., Fischhoff, B. & Lave, L. J. Exp. Psychol. Appl. 21, 158–166 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Ajzen, I. Organ. Behav. Hum. Decis. Process 50, 179–211 (1991).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. McCright, A. M., Xiao, C. & Dunlap, R. E. Soc. Sci. Res. 48, 251–260 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Moll, J. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 103, 15623–15628 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Deci, E. L., Koestner, R. & Ryan, R. M. Psychol. Bull. 125, 627–668 (1999).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Nisbet, E. K. & Zelenski, J. M. Psychol. Sci 22, 1101–1106 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Enders, C. K. & Bandalos, D. L. Struct. Equ. Modeling 8, 430–457 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication for their support.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

S.v.d.L. is the sole author of this article and is fully responsible for its content.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sander van der Linden.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing financial interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Tables 1–3, Supplementary Fig. 1 and Supplementary References

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

van der Linden, S. Warm glow is associated with low- but not high-cost sustainable behaviour. Nat Sustain 1, 28–30 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-017-0001-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-017-0001-0

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing