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Encouraging Pro-Environmental Behaviors Through Children-Based Appeals: A Kin Selection Perspective

Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 748; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020748
Received: 10 December 2019 / Revised: 13 January 2020 / Accepted: 15 January 2020 / Published: 20 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)
Environmental problems are due to the fact of humans prioritizing their narrow personal interests over collective interests. How can pro-environmental behavior be promoted without requiring people to behave in ways that go against their selfish tendencies? Kin selection theory asserts that humans are predisposed to ensure the survival and replication of their genes which they share with their offspring. We hypothesized that appeals to the welfare of their children would foster pro-environmental decision-making through activating a parental care motivation. Four studies examined the impact of messages about the welfare of (potential) children on environmental intentions. Overall, the results show that children-based appeals indirectly fostered ecological intentions through an increased parental care motivation. Furthermore, meta-analyses triangulated these findings by showing that people with children show greater parental care and pro-environmental intentions. These results are discussed in light of the kin selection theory, and its implications for environmental policymaking are addressed. View Full-Text
Keywords: pro-environmental intentions; kin selection theory; inclusive fitness theory; children-based appeals pro-environmental intentions; kin selection theory; inclusive fitness theory; children-based appeals
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MDPI and ACS Style

Palomo-Vélez, G.; Buczny, J.; Van Vugt, M. Encouraging Pro-Environmental Behaviors Through Children-Based Appeals: A Kin Selection Perspective. Sustainability 2020, 12, 748. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020748

AMA Style

Palomo-Vélez G, Buczny J, Van Vugt M. Encouraging Pro-Environmental Behaviors Through Children-Based Appeals: A Kin Selection Perspective. Sustainability. 2020; 12(2):748. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020748

Chicago/Turabian Style

Palomo-Vélez, Gonzalo; Buczny, Jacek; Van Vugt, Mark. 2020. "Encouraging Pro-Environmental Behaviors Through Children-Based Appeals: A Kin Selection Perspective" Sustainability 12, no. 2: 748. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020748

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