“Participants at the three-day third annual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference, which ended yesterday, in Washington D.C., focused on examining the underlying reasons behind why many efforts toward getting people to adopt more sustainable behavior have had limited success. They also explored ways to design more effective programs to change behavior surrounding climate change. [...]
The example illustrates a basic principle in social psychology: that people’s attitudes do not translate into action. But most environmental activism remains centered around the assumption that changing behavior starts with changing attitudes and knowledge.
“Social psychologists have now known for four decades that the relationship between people’s attitudes and knowledge and behavior is scant at best,” said McKenzie-Mohr. Yet campaigns remain heavily focused on brochures, flyers and other means of disseminating information. “I could just as easily call this presentation ‘beyond brochures,’” he said.”