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Contest-Based and Norm-Based Interventions: (How) Do They Differ in Attitudes, Norms, and Behaviors?

Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
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Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020425
Received: 4 December 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
Setting up a contest is a popular means to promote pro-environmental behaviors. Yet, research on contest-based interventions is scarce while norm-based interventions have gained much attention. In two field experiments, we randomly assigned 79 apartments to either a contest-based or a norm-based electricity conservation intervention and measured kWh usage for 2 and 4 weeks, respectively. Results from both studies showed that contest-based interventions promote intensive but short-lived electricity saving. In Study 1 apartments assigned to a norm-based intervention showed more stable electricity saving (low intensity and long-lasting). Study 2 did not replicate this finding, but supported that participants in the norm-based intervention also engaged in non-targeted behaviors. These results emphasize the importance of identifying how different intervention techniques may activate different goals, framing both how people think about and act upon targeted pro-environmental behaviors. View Full-Text
Keywords: behavioral intervention; household energy demand; norms; contest; goals; attitudes behavioral intervention; household energy demand; norms; contest; goals; attitudes
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Bergquist, M.; Nilsson, A.; Ejelöv, E. Contest-Based and Norm-Based Interventions: (How) Do They Differ in Attitudes, Norms, and Behaviors? Sustainability 2019, 11, 425.

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