Behavior is thought to be intrinsically motivated when it helps an actor attain a goal that has arisen from within the actor him/herself. In this chapter, we argue that two identical formal attributes—(a) behavioral means-goal correspondence and (b) degree of intentionality—designate the intensity with which a person both is intrinsically motivated and embraces an attitude to protect the environment. We suggest that the intrinsic motivation to protect the environment be conceptualized as an attitude that can be directly derived from verbal acts (e.g., self-reports of past environmentally protective behavior) as this will ensure that the assumptions that are made can be tested statistically. As presumed, people who are determined to protect the environment will claim to engage in increasingly more activities as well as more demanding ones aimed at the environmental protection goal. This presumed link between a person’s inherent determination or intentionality and the behaviors he/she reports can be formally captured with the Rasch model. A Rasch-model test is, as we argue, preferable to self-reflection-based assessments of the self-embedment of people’s reasons for protecting the environment. As one would expect of a measure that is supposed to reflect a person’s inherent intention to protect the environment, it largely overlaps with conventional intention measures and is durable over time. Moreover, as one would hope, it shows in actual environmentally protective behavior and in the overall electricity consumption of individuals. Thus, when lasting change toward more self-determined, ecologically sustainable individual ways of life is the target, strategies that help advance people’s intrinsic motivation to protect the environment are essential.
- Environmental attitudes
- Conservation (ecological behavior)
- Intrinsic motivation
- Campbell paradigm
Author Note This chapter was written as part of the Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS with a grant from the Helmholtz Society and the German State of Saxony-Anhalt. We wish to thank Jane Zagorski for her language support and Christina Werker, Franziska Körner, Madeleine Breitkreutz, Franz X. Bogner, and Christoph Fricke for their comments on earlier versions of this chapter. The section on “Promoting Intrinsic Motivation to Protect the Environment” is adapted with permission from: Otto et al. (2014). doi: 10.1027/1016-9040/a000182. © 2014 Hogrefe Publishing (www.hogrefe.com). All rights reserved.
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Kaiser, F.G., Kibbe, A., Arnold, O. (2017). Self-Determined, Enduring, Ecologically Sustainable Ways of Life: Attitude as a Measure of Individuals’ Intrinsic Motivation. In: Fleury-Bahi, G., Pol, E., Navarro, O. (eds) Handbook of Environmental Psychology and Quality of Life Research. International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31416-7_10
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