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Collective responsibility framing also leads to mitigation behavior in East Asia: a replication study in Taiwan

Lavallee, Joseph P., Di Giusto, Bruno, Yu, Tai-Yi
Climatic change 2019 v.153 no.3 pp. 423-438
carbon, climate change, college students, emissions, greenhouse gases, psychology, Taiwan
Mitigating climate change will require the participation of citizens and consumers. A recent study in Climatic Change by Obradovich and Guenther reported that framing responsibility for climate change in terms of collective—as opposed to personal—behaviors generated greater donations to environmental groups as well as higher self-reported levels of willingness to adopt environmentally-friendly behaviors. As East Asia is the leading emitter of greenhouse gases globally, these findings are or clear relevance to the region. Nonetheless, recent findings in cultural psychology suggest that this framing intervention may not have the same results in an East Asian cultural context. We therefore sought to determine whether these findings could be replicated in East Asia. For this study, 2085 university students in Taiwan were randomly assigned to receive either a collective responsibility priming task, a personal responsibility priming task, or a daily routine priming task (control). They were then given the opportunity to donate to a climate-related cause and asked to report on their likelihood of changing their personal behaviors to reduce carbon emissions. Participants in the collective and personal conditions donated significantly more than those in the control condition and those in the personal responsibility condition reported significantly lower probabilities of changing their behaviors than those in both the control and collective responsibility conditions. Our study provides a partial replication with a different demographic group and in a different cultural setting, strengthening the argument for collective responsibility framing and setting the stage for research into practical implementations.