Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


ASU researcher finds belief about neighbor's conservation is stealthily influential

If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you? Probably not, but according to a study by Arizona State University researchers, peer influence plays a greater role in people's behavior than is generally acknowledged.

The study, which is being presented by ASU Regents' Professor of Psychology Robert Cialdini on Feb. 18 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, suggests that peer influence is an under-recognized factor in energy conservation. Cialdini studies persuasion and influence in the decision making process.

Cialdini and his team conducted a telephone survey of more than 2,000 California residents asking them to identify major reasons why they try to conserve energy. The residents responded with three overwhelming reasons: protecting the environment, being responsible citizens and saving on energy costs. The lowest-rated reason was because their neighbors were doing it.

"However, what we found was that the lowest-rated factor—the belief that their neighbors were engaging in energy conservation—had the highest correlation with reported energy conservation on the part of the people surveyed," Cialdini said. "They were fooling themselves. What their neighbors were doing turned out to be a powerful message."

Cialdini and his colleagues further strengthened their claim when they studied the responses of hotel guests to a variety of techniques to get them to reuse towels.

Researchers placed cards in hotel rooms encouraging residents to reuse their towels, each displaying one of three reasons: respect for the environment, the sake of future generations, and a message stating that the majority of guests reused their towels. The third message generated 30 percent more towel reuse than the other two messages.

Cialdini said the results represent an easy, effective way to increase energy conservation simply by publicizing conservation efforts that otherwise would go unnoticed.

"Peer influence is a powerful and fundamental rule of adult social influence, but it's an under-recognized rule," Cialdini said.

Skip Derra | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>