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Do you have a green gene?


Is greenness in your genes? A new study by University of Leicester psychologists aims to find out.

It will also reveal if people really are friendlier up north- environmentally friendlier that is. And it could reveal which is the ’greener sex’.

The National Environment & Personality Survey has been launched today (3 APRIL) by a team in the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology.

The study will examine regional and social differences in environmental attitudes and behaviour, with a view to understanding differences in outcome and developing effective interventions. The study will also be used to explore the link between personality and "green behaviour".

Researchers, led by Chartered Psychologist Dr Julian Boon, will also examine how well the Government’s advice on environmental issues is being followed by the UK population.

Adrian White, psychologist and member of the research team, said: "This national study will seek to establish whether there are regional, age and gender differences in green behaviour."

"We will assess whether women are more green than men and whether younger people are more environmentally friendly than older people. The results will also show which region in the UK has the most green people."

"Very little is known about whether socio-economic background, education and occupational class influences green behaviours and this survey will shed important new light on the subject."

An interesting dimension to the study will involve the psychologists assessing whether green behaviour is innate or whether it is learnt and influenced by our environment.

"We will investigate what greenness says about your personality. There is a link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to people, does caring for the environment say anything about your concern for other people?" said Adrian White.

The study will also examine whether, at a policy level, the Government’s approach to environmental issues is working: "Our research is less concerned with the effectiveness of particular message mediums i.e. Government versus celebrity endorsement, but we would like to discover which social groups are doing what so that we can more effectively target advice and information."

"We also hope to seek out whether there are distinct "types" of green? For example, recyclers who drive high fuel-consumption vehicles, those with energy efficient light bulbs but who take holiday flights every few months. We will identify whether there is one type of "green" or different types."

Alex Jelley | alfa
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