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The Egoistic Consumer: The Role of Self-Interest and Self-Focused Information on Attitudes and Intentions Regarding Household Food Waste

Schmidt, Judith (2017) The Egoistic Consumer: The Role of Self-Interest and Self-Focused Information on Attitudes and Intentions Regarding Household Food Waste.

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Abstract:One quarter of all produced food for human consumption is wasted. Thereby, half of the waste is generated in households. Although consumers commonly dislike the resulting environmental, economic and social consequences, interventions to reduce household-based food waste could not result in large-scale improvements. Previous research shows that consumers adopt a self-interested point of view when considering the implications of self-produced food waste. The aim of this experimental study is to investigate whether addressing consumers’ egoistic tendencies by means of a corresponding informational text about food waste consequences has the potential to intrinsically motivate consumers to alter their attitudes and intentions with regard to food waste. A one factor between-subjects design (other-focused vs other- & self-focused) was used with self-interest as moderator. In this context, the extent to which participants are considered as self-interested was also taken into account using a correlational design. Next to self-interest, attitudes towards food waste and the intention to reduce food waste were measured after the manipulation took place using an online survey of 199 consumers. About self-interest, the results show a significant association with attitudes and intention. Less self-interested consumers seem to have a more negative attitude towards food waste and a greater intention to reduce food waste. The results also show that there were no significant effects resulting from the provided extra information. This implies that the additional presentation of self-focused information next to other-focused information about food waste is not persuasive enough to change consumers’ attitudes and intentions in this context. A plausible explanation is that textual information (alone) is not effective enough to trigger consumers’ intrinsic motivation. Future research is advised to adopt other methods than solely providing information by means of a text to validate the outcomes of the present study.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/72602
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