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To be or not to be ...identified with our counter-sustainable behaviors. Induced hypocrisy to promote sustainability.

Abstract : Recycling represents a serious challenge. If sustainability is socially desirable, actual pro-environmental behaviors are difficult to promote. It seems that making people aware of sustainability is not enough to make them change their behaviors. Induced hypocrisy (Aronson et al., 1991; Fointiat 2004) is a sequential procedure in which an individual is made aware of the gap between normative standard AND his/her own behaviors (that is, between what I say and what I have really do). The recall of the counter-normative behaviors arouses an uncomfortable state (i.e., dissonance, Festinger, 1957) that must be reduced. The main route of reduction is the behavioral change in line with normative standard. Fried (1998) demonstrated that being identified with the transgressions decreases the hypocrisy procedure efficacy, suggesting identified participants are not experiencing dissonance. In a 2 (Norm salience: anonymous vs. identified) X 2 (Transgression recall: anonymous vs. identified) inter-subject experiment, we put into the test the hypothesis that identified participants actually experienced dissonance. But they should use an alternate means of reduction, such as trivialization (Simon et al., 1994), that is the devaluation of the importance of the behavior. Participants argued anonymously (or after declining their identity) a pro-environmental normative proposition (normative salience). Then they were made aware (transgression recall) of their own counter-normative: each of them completed a transgression questionnaire anonymously vs. publicly (i.e. indicating on the first page their identity). Measures were administered: participants were asked to take part in a long survey (behavioral measure) about environment and to complete a questionnaire (trivialization measure). First of all the results show that publicly recalling transgressions decreases hypocritical effect (behavior change). The results also show that participants publicly recalling their transgressions are more willing to use trivialization, suggesting they are experiencing dissonance. Thus, it seems that even when identified with their counter-normative behaviors, participants experienced dissonance, but the reduction cannot use the behavioral means. They could use trivialization for reducing their intra-psychic conflict. But from an applied point of view it should be counterproductive: publicizing the transgressions (publicly connecting somebody with his/her transgression) prove to be unsuccessful. Fointiat, V. (2004). ‘I know what I have to do, but ...’: When hypocrisy leads to behavioural change. Social Behavior and Personality,32 , 8, 741-746 Aronson, E. Fried, C.B., Stone, J. (1991). Overcoming denial and increasing the intention to use condoms through the induction of hypocrisy. American Journal of Public Health, 81, 1636-1638. Becker, M. & Felonneau, M.L. What are the reasons for being pro-environmental ? Adopting a socio-normative perspective on the relationship between values and pro-environmentalism, Pratiques Psychologiques, 17, 3 (2011), 237-250.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 11:12:58 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01494225, version 1


Elodie Brousse-Tricoire, Valérie Fointiat, Robert-Vincent Joule. To be or not to be ...identified with our counter-sustainable behaviors. Induced hypocrisy to promote sustainability.. 28th International Congress of Applied Psychology (ICAP), Internation Association of Applied Psychology, Jul 2014, Paris, France, France. ⟨hal-01494225⟩



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