Toward the Prediction and Influence of Environmentally Relevant Behavior: Seeking Practical Utility in Research

William D. Newsome, Mark P. Alavosius


ABSTRACT: Despite several decades of effort, the field of psychology has largely failed to make any substantial gains in promoting widespread adoption of environmentally relevant behaviors (ERBs), regulations, or public policies. At the same time, huge impacts can be observed within other domains of science and engineering. The bulk of psychology’s contributions on the topic come from two major schools of thought, social/ environmental psychology and behavior analysis. This paper reviews these contributions in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach both practically and conceptually. Understanding the role of verbal behavior in influencing environmentally significant action is suggested as a means of guiding research efforts toward the discovery of practical solutions. Contemporary behavioral analysis of language is cited as an example of behavior-change technology that suggests pragmatic solutions and promising avenues for future investigation.


global warming, climate change, relational frame theory, psychological flexibility

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility