Temporal Distance and Descriptive Norms on Environmental Behaviors: A Cross-Cultural Examination of Construal-Level Theory

Hee Sun Park, Ezgi Ulusoy, Soe Yoon Choi, Hye Eun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rapid urbanization has beset sustainable consumption. Although many countries are increasingly taking pro-environmental stances, most countries continue to have a low recycling rate and a high littering rate. This study examines the effect of temporal distance as a part of Construal-Level Theory and descriptive norms on pro- and contra-environmental behaviors (i.e., recycling and littering) cross-culturally. Participants were recruited from the United States and South Korea, and randomly assigned to one of five versions of the survey. Findings indicated stronger intention to recycle for the distant future (only 3-year) and no significant difference for littering. Americans showed higher likelihood to recycle than Koreans while Koreans showed higher likelihood to litter when temporal distance was disregarded. Situational descriptive norms showed significant differences cross-culturally, but the interaction of culture and time distance was not visible. Theoretical implications for Construal-Level Theory research and practical implications for environmental policymakers in encouraging pro-environmental behaviors are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Construal-Level Theory
  • descriptive norm
  • littering
  • recycling
  • temporal distance

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