Surveillance or self-surveillance? Behavioral cues can increase the rate of drivers’ pro-environmental behavior at a long wait stop

Meleady, Rose and Abrams, Dominic and Van de vyver, Julie and Hopthrow, Tim and Mahmood, Lynsey and Player, Abigail and Lamont, Ruth and Leite, Ana C. (2017) Surveillance or self-surveillance? Behavioral cues can increase the rate of drivers’ pro-environmental behavior at a long wait stop. Environment and Behavior, 49 (10). pp. 1156-1172. ISSN 0013-9165

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916517691324

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Surveillance or self-surveillance? Behavioral cues can increase the rate of drivers’ pro-environmental behavior at a long wait stop
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Abstract

By leaving their engines idling for long periods, drivers contribute unnecessarily to air pollution, waste fuel, and produce noise and fumes that harm the environment. Railway level crossings are sites where many cars idle, many times a day. In this research, testing two psychological theories of influence, we examine the potential to encourage drivers to switch off their ignition while waiting at rail crossings. Two field studies presented different signs at a busy rail crossing site with a 2-min average wait. Inducing public self-focus (via a “Watching Eyes” stimulus) was not effective, even when accompanied by a written behavioral instruction. Instead, cueing a private-self focus (“think of yourself”) was more effective, doubling the level of behavioral compliance. These findings confirm the need to engage the self when trying to instigate self-regulatory action, but that cues evoking self-surveillance may sometimes be more effective than cues that imply external surveillance.

Keywords:psychology, behavior change, driver behavior, self-regulation, watching eyes, visual cues
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:25888
Deposited On:24 Jan 2017 13:01

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