Attitude Theory

Another theory often used to explain human behavior with regard to the environment and sustainability is the attitude model. Almost two - thirds of all environmental-psychology publications include the concept of environmental attitude in one form or another [15]. The model assumes that energy saving and further all (pro-environmental) behavior will follow automatically from favorable attitudes towards the particular issue [16]. This means concretely that those individuals, who are concerned about the preservation of nature and specifically about energy conservation, will act accordingly. They will use energy saving light bulbs, switch off the light, and turn off the computer or other electrical devices when not needed, because otherwise their behavior would contradict their attitude. Any inconsistency in belief and action is not pleasant and would lead to distress and discomfort and therefore will be avoided through somewhat automatic responses.

As much as the attitude theory has been the basis of many environmental-psychology studies, it has been even more controversially discussed. Even in 1969 Wicker stated in his article that, in the field of social psychology, the prediction of behavior from attitudes had been much debated - 17]- This discussion has not decreased since then and has spread to the specific area of environmental sustainable behavior. Leung and Rice [18] and Vogel [19] have found that environmental attitudes do predict corresponding behavior, however little predictive power has been shown in studies for example, from Archer et al. [11].

Similar to the rational-economic model, the attitude model fails to consider that peoples ' actions are influenced by factors other than their attitudes towards the environment, such as through situational circumstances, social and cultural contexts or government regulations. Furthermore, much research shows (e.g., '20]) that there is rarely a strong, direct, or consistent relationship between pro-environmental attitudes and people's subsequent actions. Even with pro-environmental attitudes, people do not necessarily know which steps are needed to act upon those attitudes, which leads to the suggestion that information on how to behave should always be provided.

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