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Article

Anthropomorphism of Nature, Environmental Guilt, and Pro-Environmental Behavior

Division of Social Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5430; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195430
Received: 23 July 2019 / Revised: 23 September 2019 / Accepted: 29 September 2019 / Published: 30 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)
Feeling guilty about the occurrence of environmental problems is not uncommon; however, not everyone experiences it. Why are there such individual differences? Considering that guilt is a predominantly interpersonal phenomenon, as emotion research has demonstrated, how is it possible that some individuals feel guilty for the degradation of the non-human environment, and some others do not? The present investigation tests an integrated solution to these two questions based on the concept of anthropomorphism. In three studies, with an individual difference approach, it was observed that anthropomorphism of nature predicted the experience of environmental guilt, and this feeling in turn was associated with engagement in pro-environmental behavior. That is, it appears that individuals who view nature in anthropomorphic terms are more likely to feel guilty for environmental degradation, and they take more steps toward environmental action. This observation not only improves existing understanding of environmental guilt, but also adds evidence to the theoretical possibility of describing and understanding the human–nature relationship with reference to psychological knowledge regarding interpersonal relationships. View Full-Text
Keywords: guilt; emotion; pro-environmental behavior; anthropomorphism; human-nature relationship guilt; emotion; pro-environmental behavior; anthropomorphism; human-nature relationship
MDPI and ACS Style

Tam, K.-P. Anthropomorphism of Nature, Environmental Guilt, and Pro-Environmental Behavior. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5430. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195430

AMA Style

Tam K-P. Anthropomorphism of Nature, Environmental Guilt, and Pro-Environmental Behavior. Sustainability. 2019; 11(19):5430. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195430

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tam, Kim-Pong. 2019. "Anthropomorphism of Nature, Environmental Guilt, and Pro-Environmental Behavior" Sustainability 11, no. 19: 5430. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195430

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