Pro-environmental goals often pit immediate self-interest against future communal interest. Consequently, the motivation to behave in pro-environmental ways can be particularly difficult to maintain over time. By framing environmental ills as threats to one's chronic concerns, I suggest that chronic motivations, such as disease avoidance, can be leveraged to engender longer-lasting pro-environmental motivation. Specifically, I suggest that three distinct categories of environmental ills should be associated with distinct chronic concerns, and that the mechanisms that regulate these concerns should also regulate reactions to related environmental ills: pollution should engage a pathogenic disgust mechanism, wastefulness a moral disgust mechanism, and framing environmental outcomes as posing safety concerns should be linked to fear and anger mechanisms. Results of four experiments did not lend consistent support to the hypotheses. Neither situationally primed concerns nor motivation-relevant individual differences produced consistent results suggesting an association between the proposed motivations and the relevant environmental outcomes.
- Pro-environmental motivation: an evolutionarily informed approach
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Statement of Responsibility
by Joy Berlin