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Designing virtual environments for attitudes and behavioral change in plastic consumption: a comparison between concrete and numerical information

Abstract

Starting from the pro-environmental potential of virtual reality (VR), the aim was to understand how different statistical information formats can enhance VR persuasive potential for plastic consumption, recycling and waste. Naturalistic, immersive virtual reality environments (VREs) were designed ad hoc to display three kinds of statistical evidence formats, featured as three different formats (i.e., numerical, concrete and mixed). Participants were exposed only to one of the three formats in VR, and their affect, emotions, sense of presence, general attitudes toward the environment, specific attitudes and behavioral intentions toward plastic, use, waste, recycle, as well as their social desirability proneness were measured. Numerical format was the least effective across all dimensions. Concrete and mixed formats were similar. Social desirability only partially affected participants’ attitudes and behavioral intentions. Numerical format did not increase the persuasive efficacy of statistical evidence displayed in VR, with respect to visual alone. Implications and future directions for designing effective VRE promoting pro-environmental behaviors were discussed.

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Notes

  1. https://andrew.hedges.name/experiments/random/.

  2. https://qualtrics.com/.

  3. Authors added the wording “General” because these items refer only to a general attitude toward the environment without mentioning plastic.

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Correspondence to Alice Chirico.

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Chirico, A., Scurati, G.W., Maffi, C. et al. Designing virtual environments for attitudes and behavioral change in plastic consumption: a comparison between concrete and numerical information. Virtual Reality 25, 107–121 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-020-00442-w

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Keywords

  • Virtual reality
  • Plastic
  • Format
  • Statistical evidence
  • Numerical
  • Concrete