Exploring Rebound Effects from a Psychological Perspective

  • Anja PetersEmail author
  • Elisabeth Dütschke


The analysis of energy efficiency rebound effects from a psychological perspective has just begun, and empirical studies analysing psychological factors in relation to the rebound effect are still scarce. In this chapter, we first identify possible psychological drivers to explain rebound effects based on psychological action theories. The outlined psychological framework suggests that energy efficiency improvements have different effects on behaviour depending on the interaction of psychological factors such as attitudes, personal and social norms and response efficacy. In a second step, we present results from an empirical study using focus group discussions to explore rebound effects and psychological drivers in the transport and residential sectors. The results are in line with the outlined psychological framework and indicate that need satiation, habits and mistaken beliefs about the optimal usage of a technology also seem to play a role. Finally, research questions are outlined to help further develop and test hypotheses on the psychological factors influencing rebound effects.


Consumer behaviour Theory of planned behaviour Norm activation model Focus groups 



The authors would like to thank the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for funding this research as part of the REBOUND project under project number 01UV1002C and 01UV1002B. We are grateful to Marco Sonnberger and Jürgen Deuschle, who conducted the focus group study together with Anja Peters. For their valuable comments on earlier versions of the manuscript we are grateful to Dr. Marco Sonnberger, Jürgen Deuschle, Prof. Joachim Schleich, Dr. Martin Soland, Dr. Birgit Mack, Hans Marth and three anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISIKarlsruheGermany

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