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Abstract

This study develops a further understanding of the role of information availability – in either detailed or color cue feedback form – in inducing sustainable behavior. The hypothesis was that the Color Cue Feedback Group would be more likely to make sustainable decisions on the whole since color cues should invoke System I cognitive processes. A survey-based experiment including 364 participants was conducted at the University of Oxford. First, it was found that information availability in general appears to increase sustainable decision-making, and the hypothesis that color cue feedback (moral suasion) is the most effective for invoking sustainable choices was generally, though not conclusively, confirmed. Second, color cues (moral suasion) may be preferable for quick decisions and detailed information (information provision) may be preferable for decisions that take more time to develop. Third, the presence of undesirable social norms regarding sustainable behavior could mean that the desirable (sustainable) behavior is most often not adopted. Fourth, individuals may aspire to and find value in sustainable practices, but are less likely to actually engage in this behavior when the opportunity to do so arises. Lastly, the data suggest that while information availability will affect decision-making, for the greatest impact it must also be accompanied by supportive policies or campaigns that simultaneously reduce barriers for sustainable behavior and increase the barriers for unsustainable behavior.

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