This abstract, summarized by IPR and provided by the IPR Behavioral Insights Research Center, is based on a research paper written by Alistair Raymond Bryce Soutter, Ph.D.; Timothy C. Bates, Ph.D.; and Rene Mottus, Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh.
Alistair Raymond Bryce Soutter, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh conducted a meta-analysis and examined the data from 38 papers, comprising 44,993 participants from 19 countries across four continents, to discover if there is a correlation between particular personality traits and pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors.
The papers included in the meta-analysis used either the Big Five (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness) personality test or a test based on the HEXACO model (which includes those five domains, plus a measure of honesty-humility) to evaluate the participants’ personality traits.
Some of the key findings include:
1) The personality trait of “openness” had the strongest association with pro-environmental attitudes and behaviour. People high in openness are also more willing to adopt new ideas — so they may be more likely to buy an electric car, say, or install solar panels.
2) Agreeableness” and “conscientiousness” were also associated with environmentalism, though to a lesser extent. Agreeable people tend to show more empathy and compassion. Conscientious people, meanwhile, might be expected to more closely follow socially appropriate norms such as recycling. However, people who are driven to follow social norms may in some cases be discouraged from pro-environmental behaviours.
3) To reach people who are less open to new experiences, it might be helpful to highlight environmentally friendly practices which are already established, rather than new.
4) While factors such as age, social norms, childhood experiences with nature, political ideology are linked to variations in environmental attitudes and behaviours, this new study confirms that personality factors can be important as well.
Read more here to learn how personality type influences pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours.