Public Resource
The psychology of balancing gains and losses for self and the environment: Evidence from a carbon emission versus travel time tradeoff task
Fredrik Bökman, Hanna Andersson, Patrik Sörqvist, and Ulla Ahonen-Jonnartha, University of Gävle. Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Motivational messaging can encourage people’s willingness to make trade-offs in favor of the environment. In this study, researchers find that giving people information about how longer air travel times reduce carbon emissions make people more willing to have longer travel times. This willingness was even higher for those who were told the travel time would be much longer, rather than just a little longer. Finally, the authors also find that the effects of messaging are strongest among those with higher levels of environmental concern. Members interested in encouraging trade-offs in favor of the environment should consider motivational information framing.

This study was conducted among Swedish adults, so there are some limitations to the applicability of the findings to the U.S. population.