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Pro-environmental behavior as a signal of cooperativeness: Evidence from a social dilemma experiment
- Vesely, Stepan, Klöckner, Christian A., Brick, Cameron
- Journal of environmental psychology 2020 v.67 pp. 101362
- human behavior, people, psychology, society, socioeconomic status
- Pro-environmental behavior has social signaling value. Previous research suggests that enacting pro-environmental behaviors can signal certain personal characteristics, such as social status and trustworthiness, to others. Using an incentivized experiment, we show that people known to behave pro-environmentally are expected to be more cooperative, are preferred as cooperation partners, and elicit more cooperation from others. The presence of pro-environmental individuals may thus motivate others to exert more effort towards reaching cooperative goals, even in situations where individual and group goals are at odds (i.e., social dilemmas). However, people who behaved pro-environmentally were actually no more cooperative than those performing fewer pro-environmental behaviors.