Icoon van persoon voor een wereldbol met een appel in de hand
Icoon van persoon voor een wereldbol met een appel in de hand

Financial support for sustainable research projects

In 2023, the Social Sciences sustainability team was able to support research projects which aim to help us understand and promote sustainable behaviour. The first results of one of these projects can now be presented.

For the Environment, Meaningfulness or for Fun?

Researchers: Lena Rieder, Daniela Becker, Rob Holland

In this study, scientists aimed to understand what motivates people to engage in pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs), such as recycling or vegetarian eating.

In the first part of the study, participants were asked to share their pleasant experiences (enjoyment of the behavior) and more meaningful experiences (such as feeling that they were doing something good for the environment) during various environmentally friendly activities. They found that individuals who had more enjoyable and meaningful experiences were more likely to exhibit pro-environmental behavior. However, the importance individuals placed on environmental goals did not predict how often they engaged in such behavior.

In the second part of the study, participants were provided with a vegetarian meal, and some were given information about how this choice benefits the environment, while others were encouraged to focus on the pleasure of eating. Both groups equally reduced their meat consumption after a week, indicating that both environmentally-focused and pleasure-focused approaches can be effective in promoting behavioral change.

In summary, highlighting the enjoyable and meaningful aspects of environmentally friendly behavior appears to encourage people to repeat such behavior more frequently, which is important for future initiatives aimed at promoting behavioral change.

Do you have any questions about this project? Please contact Daniela Becker


Contact information

Organizational unit
Faculty of Social Sciences