In order to mitigate climate change and its impacts, it is crucial to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. The extent to which renewable energy projects can be implemented largely depends on public acceptability. We studied how public acceptability is influenced by people’s trust in agents responsible for renewable energy projects and the influence that people have over decisions regarding these projects. As expected, higher trust and having influence over major decisions regarding the project led to higher project acceptability. Public acceptability was lowest when people had low trust in responsible agents and when people could only influence minor decisions regarding the project. We found a similar pattern of results in our samples in the Netherlands and China, providing initial evidence that trust in responsible agents and public influence over decisions may have similar effects on public acceptability of renewable energy projects across different countries and cultures.
One of the most critical and pressing solutions needed to address global climate change is the transition to secure, affordable, and sustainable-energy systems. This transition is usually considered a technological challenge because it involves the integration of renewable energy, a trend toward decentralizing energy generation, and more demand side participation. However, involving consumers in the transition is crucial for its success. For example, sustainable-energy transitions may require consumers to adopt sustainable-energy sources, technologies, and energy-efficiency measures as well as change their direct and indirect energy use behaviors to the limited and fluctuating supply of (renewable) energy. However, such behaviors may not always be easy for consumers to adopt, as they can entail personal sacrifice and discomfort or require them to change habits or infrastructure, which can be cognitively and financially demanding. To guarantee a sustainable future for all, it is critical that we understand what motivates consumers’ energy behaviors and how we can promote consumers’ motivation to engage in sustainable-energy behaviors and act beyond immediate personal interests.
Four human values are considered to underlie individuals’ environmental beliefs and behaviors: biospheric (i.e., concern for environment), altruistic (i.e., concern for others), egoistic (i.e., concern for personal resources) and hedonic values (i.e., concern for pleasure and comfort). These values are typically measured with an adapted and shortened version of the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS), to which we refer as the Environmental-SVS (E-SVS). Despite being well-validated, recent research has indicated some concerns about the SVS methodology (e.g., comprehensibility, self-presentation biases) and suggested an alternative method of measuring human values: The Portrait Value Questionnaire (PVQ). However, the PVQ has not yet been adapted and applied to measure values most relevant to understand environmental beliefs and behaviors. Therefore, we tested the Environmental-PVQ (E-PVQ) – a PVQ variant of E-SVS –and compared it with the E-SVS in two studies. Our findings provide strong support for the validity and reliability of both the E-SVS and E-PVQ. In addition, we find that respondents slightly preferred the E-PVQ over the E-SVS (Study 1). In general, both scales correlate similarly to environmental self-identity (Study 1), energy behaviors (Studies 1 and 2), pro-environmental personal norms, climate change beliefs and policy support (Study 2). Accordingly, both methodologies show highly similar results and seem well-suited for measuring human values underlying environmental behaviors and beliefs.
In times of economic downturn, perceived realistic intergroup threats (e.g., labour competition) often dominate political and media discourse. Although local outgroups (e.g., local immigrants) can be experienced as sources of realistic threats, we propose that such threats can also be perceived to be caused by distant outgroups (e.g., European Union members perceiving Greece to threaten their economies) and that such distant threats can carry over into local intolerance (e.g., increasing intolerance towards local immigrant groups). We predicted and found in two studies that perceived distant realistic threats carried over into local intolerance via two different pathways. First, direct reactions towards the distant outgroup can generalize to culturally similar local outgroups (the group-based association pathway). Secondly, Study 2 indicated that when the distant threat was attributed to stereotypical outgroup traits (e.g., being lazy), distant realistic threats activated local realistic threats, which subsequently influenced local intolerance (the threat-based association pathway). Taken together, our studies indicate that perceived realistic threats foreign can turn domestic, but in two different ways.
ISBN (printed version): 978-90-367-8473-3
ISBN (electronic version): 978-90-367-8472-6
Individuals are often confronted with intergroup threats, yet many of these threats emanate from distant groups that most individuals are unlikely to encounter in their local environment. An important yet unanswered question is whether reactions to those threats, such as intolerance towards the threatening group, carry over to other groups that individuals actually do encounter in their local environment (e.g., immigrants). The main goal of our studies was to experimentally identify this carry-over effect of intergroup threat. Specifically, we hypothesized that (by definition relatively abstract) symbolic threats (e.g., threats to the ingroup’s worldview) have an especially strong carry-over potential because those threats can be easily attributed to other outgroups. We tested these predictions in one correlational and two experimental studies. The results of all three studies confirmed our hypothesis that particularly distant symbolic threats were predictive of intolerance towards local outgroups.
Researchers typically employ either peer or self-reports to assess involvement in bullying. In this study, we examined the merits of each method for the identification of child characteristics related to victimization and bullying others. Accordingly, we investigated the difference between these two methods with regard to their relationship with social adjustment (i.e., perceived popularity, likeability, and self-perceived social acceptance) and internalizing problems (i.e., anxiety, depression, and self-worth) in 1192 Dutch school children, aged 9 to 12 years. Perceived popularity and likeability were more strongly correlated with peer reports than self-reports, for both victimization and for bullying others. Self-perceived social acceptance correlated equally strong with peer and self- reports of victimization. Furthermore, peer reports of bullying were also correlated with self-perceived social acceptance, whereas self-reports of bullying were not. All internalizing problems showed stronger relations with self-reports than peer reports; although only the relation between self-reported victimization and internalizing problems was of practical significance. Despite our findings indicating that using only one type of report could be efficient for examining the relation between bullying behaviors and separate child characteristics, both types of report are necessary for a complete understanding of the personal and social well-being of the children involved.