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The Malleability of Environmentalism

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In this article, we predict and find that self-perceptions of environmentalism are changed by subtle manipulations of context and, in turn, affect environmental behavior. In Study 1, we found that people exhibit greater positive assessments of their environmental behaviors (1) in the context of denying harm to the environment than in the context of claiming to help the environment, and (2) in situations where behaviors are evaluated subjectively than in situations where behaviors are evaluated more objectively. In Study 2, we explored the relationship between self-perceptions of environmentalism and environmental behaviors. Our data suggest that environmentally friendly behaviors may be promoted by leading people to perceive themselves as good environmentalists.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University 2: Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University 3: Harvard Business School, Harvard University

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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