Over 4,000 people participated in the survey and answered questions about how much and how often they perform environmentally friendly acts compared to others. The issues were, for example, about buying eco-labeled products, saving household energy and reducing the purchase of plastic bags.
The majority of participants considered themselves to be more environmentally friendly than others, both in relation to unknown people and when comparing themselves to their friends.Over optimism
Magnus Bergquist, a researcher in environmental psychology at the University of Gothenburg, says that the results point to our tendency to overestimate our own abilities. Something that goes in line with previous studies that have shown that most people consider themselves to be more honest, more creative and better drivers than others, according to him.
- The study shows that over-optimism, or the "better-than-others" effect, also applies to environmentally friendly behaviors, says Magnus Bergquist.Create an environmentally friendly standard
The study further shows that participants were more likely to overestimate their commitment to such environmentally friendly actions that they often perform and that they perform more often than others.
The consequences could be that people tend to be a little less environmentally friendly and that motivation will decrease for it in the future, according to the study.
- Logically, most people cannot be more environmentally friendly than the average, but to inform that others actually behave environmentally friendly can create an environmentally friendly norm. Social norms also affect us in this area, which we have seen in previous studies, says Magnus Bergquist.