Attitude Assessment and
Amber Beach, Marielly Mitchell, &
Kristin Palmer
Psyc. 515
Video Clip
Attitude Assessment
 Researchers have shown considerable interest
– What attitudes people hold toward environmental
– What factors determine those attitude?
– How attitudes relate to behaviors?
 Questionnaire instruments for assessing people’s
attitudes towards environment include:
Environment Response Inventory
New Environmental Paradigm Scale
Environmental Concern Scale
Environmental Appraisal Inventory
Attitude Assessment
 Fridgen’s Environmental Appraisal Inventory
– 28 environmental hazards classified…
 1) origin of hazard (nature-technology), 2) range of
influence (global-local), and 3) length of impact (longshort)
 Personal responsibility rated on 7-point
Likert scale
– No responsibility, through moderate, to extreme
 Perceive selves as immune to effects of most
environmental threats
 Little responsibility (or ability to control) threats
 Although varied considerably in being held responsible for
environmental problems, majority of Americans consider
themselves “environmentalists” and “concerned about the
 Attitudes toward environmental problem are influenced by
degree they identify positively with cause
– i.e. Employees of a factory vs. those not in factory
 Relationships between environmental attitudes and
sociodemographic variables
– Age
– Race
– Gender
“Different people an react differently
to the same environment”
 Stern’s 4 types of environmental concern
– Ecological Concern
 Maintaining balance of nature as an end in itself
– Anthropocentric Altruism
 Based on concern for people and on loss of environmental quality
– Egotistic Concern
 Implications of environmental change for one’s own well-being or kin
– Religious or Ideological Concern
 Rooted in religious or cultural values
 > one can be operating at one time
 People who scored higher on egocentrism were less likely
to express apathy toward environmental issues and more
likely to conserve and join environmental organizations
Beliefs and Attitudes as
Determinants of Behaviors
 Background covered.
 People tend to behave in ways that are consistent with
their beliefs and attitudes
– Focus of attention for psychologists for many years
 Degree to which behavior is influenced by cognitive
variables as attitudes, beliefs, values, and knowledge is
much more limited in some contexts than others
– i.e. environmental damage has been more severe in some cultures
-prominent religions
 Strength depends on strength of barriers of action that
– i.e. stronger barrier = lower proenvironmental attitude = low/no
proenvironmetal behavior
 Emotions, intentions, & personal value systems
Effecting Changes in Attitudes
 Symbolically or instrumentally believers (unrealistic and
less motivating thoughts) are more likely to see the
problem of environmental change as fiction
 Solution: convenience people of seriousness of problem
– Public service announcements
– Highlight “antilittering” not “oh, it’s just a common behavior” when
you see someone toss trash out a car window
 Highly visible and publicized manifestations of negative
environmental effects, NOT the public concern drive
– Kempton, Darley, & Stern (1992) analogy: “ It was not abstract
recognition of possible fuel shortages that caused the energy crisis
of 1973-74… Televised images of long lines at gas pumps were the
visible manifestations of shortages.”
 Make environmental damage “DRAMATICALLY
 Convince individuals that their PERSONAL
– Erase: the “nothing-I-personally-do-matters” false
 Importance of LITTLE THINGS
– i.e. Milk cartons: there is almost 2x as much material in
2 one-qt. cartons, and it takes about the same energy to
produce a two- qt. or gallon milk container
 Tragedy of Commons
– Substantial personal benefit at little personal cost
 Some studies unable to be replicated
 Questionnaires – almost impossible to tell whether
answers reflect genuine attitudes or simply what
respondents believe to be socially correct
 Problem: environmental quality
– Perception is complicated because how people perceive
and respond to specific aspects of an environment
depends on what they’re accustomed to or what they
consider normal
 i.e. People living in smog are less sensitive to pollution
 Some studies don’t provide evidence, but just
suggest possible causal links
Discussion Questions
 Nickerson, R. S. (2003). Psychology and
environmental change. Bedford, MA:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.