chapter  6
I Just Recycled. Can I Use the Car Now? When People Continue or Discontinue Behaving Sustainably after an Initial Sustainable Act
Pages 10

TO CONTINUE OR NOT TO CONTINUE? What do people do once they have behaved sustainably? It seems logical to assume that people continue behaving sustainably after an initial sustainable act (i.e., a carry-over effect). Indeed, research suggests that people are likely to perform continued sustainable behavior. For example, research on self-perception and cognitive consistency shows that people often prefer to behave consistently over time to maintain a particular self-view (Bem, 1967; Festinger, 1957; Swann & Gilbert, 1990). Furthermore, research on habits shows that people who are in the habit of behaving environmentally sustainably are more likely to show repetitive sustainable behavior (Aarts, Verplanken, & Van Knippenberg, 1998; Ouellette & Wood, 1998). Finally, research on priming suggests that constructs that are accessible in people’s minds may guide subsequent behavior (Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996). Based on this, one would expect that sustainable behavior can activate sustainable constructs, motivating continued sustainable behavior.