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Barriers to sustainable consumption attenuated by foreign language use


The adoption of certain innovative products, such as recycled water, artificial meat and insect-based food, could help promote sustainability. However, the disgust these products elicit acts as a barrier to their consumption. Here, we show that describing such products in a foreign language attenuates the disgust these products trigger and heightens their intended as well as actual consumption.

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Fig. 1: Language influences willingness to consume.
Fig. 2: Language influences willingness to consume through feelings of disgust.


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We thank S. Puntoni, J. Levav and L. Burnett for valuable comments on preliminary versions of this manuscript and J. Bekkers and J. Klesse for assisting with data collection. Financial support from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (VENI grant 451-15-023 awarded to A.K.) is gratefully acknowledged.

Author information




J.G. and C.H. developed the study concept. All authors contributed to the study design. J.G. performed testing and data collection for Experiments 1–3 and A.K. coordinated data collection for Experiment 4. J.G. performed the data analysis and interpretation under the supervision of C.H. and A.K.; J.G. and C.H. drafted the manuscript, and A.K. provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

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Correspondence to Janet Geipel.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Results, Supplementary Figs. 1,2 and Supplementary Tables 1–9.

Supplementary Data Sets

Data related to Experiments 1–4.

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Geipel, J., Hadjichristidis, C. & Klesse, AK. Barriers to sustainable consumption attenuated by foreign language use. Nat Sustain 1, 31–33 (2018).

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