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Commitment and Pro-Environmental Behaviors: Favoring Positive Human-Environment Interactions to Improve Quality of Life

Abstract : Weiss and Girandola (Qualité de l’environnement et comportements écocitoyens. In Lecomte J (ed) Introduction à la psychologie positive. Dunod, Paris, pp 251–263, 2009; Les enjeux de la psychologie face au développement durable. In Weiss K, Girandola F (eds) Psychologie et développement durable. Editions InPress, Paris, pp 9–19, 2010a; Pour une psychologie positive du développement durable: vers de nouveaux enjeux et développements. In Weiss K, Girandola F (eds) Psychologie et développement durable. Editions InPress, Paris, pp 277–282, 2010b) suggested developing a positive psychology of sustainable development, dealing with social and dispositional factors that enable satisfaction, quality of life and, even more, individual well-being. In line with this idea, we focus in this chapter on action research developing positive interactions between humans and the environment. More precisely, we review commitment-making strategies and the effects of binding communication on the adoption of pro-environmental behaviors such as waste sorting, recycling, non-activist behaviors in the public sphere and energy saving, likely to be positively perceived by the individual and contributing to quality of life. Firstly, we describe the basis of commitment theory, the binding communication paradigm and its objectives: to optimize awareness and information campaigns in order to favor behavioral adhesion. Then, we focus on the effects of commitment, dissonance and binding communication on behaviors and attitudes toward the environment. We explore how these effects strengthen the positive characteristics of interactions between humans and the environment and, thereby, quality of life. To illustrate the proposals of Uzzell and Moser (Eur Rev Appl Psychol 56(1):1–4, 2006), we review the action research based on binding communication in the field of pro-environmental behavior promotion. This paradigm may be applied at different levels of human-environment interactions: (1) the private space level, (2) the proximal environment level, and (3) the public space level. Finally, we present the current limitations of works on commitment, especially the lack of precise measures of quality of life following research actions and the “top-down” logics they use
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Christophe Demarque, Fabien Girandola. Commitment and Pro-Environmental Behaviors: Favoring Positive Human-Environment Interactions to Improve Quality of Life. Handbook of Environmental Psychology and Research, pp.197-210, 2017, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-31416-7_11⟩. ⟨hal-02074148⟩

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