Water Conservation:
Moving From Awareness to Action
Wesley Schultz, Ph.D.
California State University
Breakfast presentati...
About the Presenter
 Ph.D. in applied social psychology
 Academic position (professor)
 Consulting and training through...
Conservation Means Behavior
 Reduce
consumption
 Purchasing
Decisions
(landscaping)
 New
Technologies
(low flow)
A Little Psychology
 Scientific study of behavior
 People act for reasons
 Successful behavior change strategies
requir...
Tools for Promoting Water
Conservation
1. Education
 Involves disseminating information
 Assumes that lack of behavior r...
So You Want to Change Behavior?
Tools for Promoting Water
Conservation
2. Price
 Cost directly affects behavior
 Problems with price triggers:
 Specifi...
Tools for Promoting Water
Conservation
3. Awareness
 Crisis can induce change
 Individuals rally around a cause (for a
s...
Tools for Promoting Water
Conservation
Social Norms
 A promising alternative
 Conservation often means deviating from
the norm (this message will boomerang)
 ...
Tools for Promoting Water
Conservation
VIDEO CLIP
Can we reduce consumption?
 Yes, but new tools will be required
 Price-triggers can work (but come with side
effects)
 ...
References
Ennett, S., Tobler, N., Ringwalt, C., & Flewelling, R. (1994). How effective is Drug Abuse Resistance Education...
Lnc Alumni Group Water Presentation #2
Lnc Alumni Group Water Presentation #2
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Lnc Alumni Group Water Presentation #2

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Dr Wesley Schultz, Psychology Professor, California State University San Marcos, January 2009, Conservation PPT to Leadership North County Alumni Group

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  • Conservation means people doing something. It means behavior.
  • Common view of psychologists as clinicians with couches. While this was partially true 50 years ago, it’s not true today.
    Modern psychology is the scientific study of behavior, and applied psychologists (like me) use psychological principles to solve social problems.
    Behavior is not mysterious. People act (or don’t act) for reasons. While these reasons might not be readily apparent (even to the person doing the action), there are nevertheless specific reasons for behavior. These reasons are knowable, and can be targeted with interventions.
    In the last 100 years, psychologists have amassed a tremendous volume of knowledge about human behavior. Unfortunately, these theories and principles are rarely applied to social problems. (Advertising products is a notable exception, but this knowledge is not publicly available)
  • 100 things to reduce the size of your feet……
  • Lnc Alumni Group Water Presentation #2

    1. 1. Water Conservation: Moving From Awareness to Action Wesley Schultz, Ph.D. California State University Breakfast presentation for Leadership North County. Wesley Schultz, Department of Psychology, California State University, San Marcos, CA, 92078. Wschultz@csusm.edu. (760) 750-8045. January 27, 2009
    2. 2. About the Presenter  Ph.D. in applied social psychology  Academic position (professor)  Consulting and training through Action Research, Inc.  Numerous consulting, training, and marketing projects  Private: Southern California Edison (energy), Hewlett Foundation, SD Water Authority, Brookfield Zoo, EDCO Waste Management, KAB  State: California Integrated Waste Management Board (used oil recycling, waste tires), TN, FL, TX  Local and County: Napa, Madera, Los Angeles, San Diego  Cities of Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Casper  Federal: National Academy of Sciences, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Justice, U.S. Air Force  International: United Nations, London Zoological Society, WWF
    3. 3. Conservation Means Behavior  Reduce consumption  Purchasing Decisions (landscaping)  New Technologies (low flow)
    4. 4. A Little Psychology  Scientific study of behavior  People act for reasons  Successful behavior change strategies require an understanding of the individual and situational factors that motivate and/or constrain behavior  Many examples of failed (or not tested) and even boomerang effects
    5. 5. Tools for Promoting Water Conservation 1. Education  Involves disseminating information  Assumes that lack of behavior results from lack of knowledge  (this is generally not true)  Consistently across behavioral domains, research has shown small-to-null effects
    6. 6. So You Want to Change Behavior?
    7. 7. Tools for Promoting Water Conservation 2. Price  Cost directly affects behavior  Problems with price triggers:  Specificity (no spillover)—think incentives for low-flow toilets  Framing (conservation now framed as “transaction”)  Can potentially undermine long-term changes (Cialdini’s fence)
    8. 8. Tools for Promoting Water Conservation 3. Awareness  Crisis can induce change  Individuals rally around a cause (for a short period of time)  Crisis messages can boomerang if used for too long  And what happens when the crisis passes?
    9. 9. Tools for Promoting Water Conservation
    10. 10. Social Norms  A promising alternative  Conservation often means deviating from the norm (this message will boomerang)  Need to promote community support:  Your neighbors are conserving  People will disapprove if you don’t conserve  How much you consume relative to others
    11. 11. Tools for Promoting Water Conservation VIDEO CLIP
    12. 12. Can we reduce consumption?  Yes, but new tools will be required  Price-triggers can work (but come with side effects)  Information generally won’t work  Awareness and crisis will work for a short period  Fostering social norms provides a promising alternative
    13. 13. References Ennett, S., Tobler, N., Ringwalt, C., & Flewelling, R. (1994). How effective is Drug Abuse Resistance Education? A meta-analysis of project DARE outcomes evaluations. American Journal of Public Health, 84, 1394-1401. Farquhar, J. W., Williams, P. T., Maccoby, N., & Wood, P. D. (1990). Effects of communitywide education on cardiovascular disease risk factors. Journal of the American Medical Association, 264, 359-365. Fortmann, S. P., Winkleby, M. A., Flora, J. A., Haskell, W. L., & Taylor, C. B. (1990). Effects of long-term community health education on blood pressure and hypertension control. American Journal of Epidemiology, 132, 629-646. Harmon, M. A. (1993). Reducing the risk of drug involvement among early adolescents: An evaluation of Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Evaluation Review, 17, 221-239. Hornik, J., Cherian, J., Madansky, M., & Narayana, C. (1995). Determinants of recycling behavior: A synthesis of research results. Journal of Socio-Economics, 24, 105-127. Nolan, J., Schultz, P. W., Cialdini, R. B., Griskevicius, V., & Goldstein, N. (2008). Normative social influence is underdetected. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Oskamp, S., Burkhardt, R., Schultz, P., Hurin, S., & Zelezny, L. (1998). Predicting three dimensions of residential curbside recycling: An observational study. Journal of Environmental Education, 29, 37-42. Petty, R. E., & Wegener, D. T. (1998). Attitude change: Multiple roles for persuasion variables. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (4th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 323-390). Boston: McGraw-Hill. Schultz, P. W., Khazian, A., & Zaleski, A. (2008). Using normative social influence to promote conservation among hotel guests. Social Influence, 3, 4-23. Schultz, P. W. (2002). Knowledge, education, and household recycling: Examining the knowledge-deficit model of behavior change. In T. Dietz & P. Stern (Eds.), New tools for environmental protection (pp. 67-82). Washington DC: National Academy of Sciences. Schultz, P. W., Nolan, J., Cialdini, R., Goldstein, N., & Griskevicius, V. (2007). The constructive, destructive, and reconstructive power of social norms. Psychological Science, 18, 429-434. Schultz, P. W., & Tabanico, J. (2008). If you build it, will they come? Designing outreach programs that change behavior. In A. Cabaniss (Ed.), Handbook on household hazardous waste. Lanham, MD: Government Institutes Press. Vining, J., & Ebreo, A. (1990). What makes a recycler? A comparison of recyclers and nonrecyclers. Environment and Behavior, 22, 55- 73. Wolitski, R. J., and the CDC AIDS Community Demonstration Project Research Group. (1999). Community-level HIV intervention in five cities: Final outcome data from the CDC AIDS Community Demonstration Projects. American Journal of Public Health. Werner, C., & Makela, E. (1999). Motivations and behaviors that support recycling. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 18, 373-386.

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