Values, goals and time
Consumerism has retrained us over time to imagine the good life as dependent on the accumulation of certain goods and experiences. Compassion and selfishness, for instance, are universally experienced and recognized. However, individual identity, goals and norms, and especially the changing social contexts we live in, all tend to determine which values we will draw upon in different contexts and places. Pushed by the values of the 'selfish society' around them, by parents and family, fewer and fewer want to pursue the pure sciences, maths, music or the arts, since these provide no certain ticket to a financially rewarding career, and the status this brings. 'Pro-environmental values' can be awakened or suppressed according to how the relevant issues are presented to us, and in what context. The experimenters had set out to deliberately prime the first group's extrinsic values, whereas the second group's pro-environmental or intrinsic values were being primed.