Redefining climate change inaction as temporal intergroup bias: Temporally adapted interventions for reducing prejudice may help elicit environmental protection

Rose Meleady, Richard J. Crisp

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The consequences of the environmental decisions we make today will bear upon future generations of people. We argue that the framing of climate change is inherently intergroup in nature and suggest a reason for inaction on climate change is the perception of future generations as an outgroup. We test whether a technique adapted from the realm of intergroup relations may provide a novel approach to encouraging more sustainable environmental conduct. In Study 1 we found that participants who completed a simple social categorization technique designed to reduce (temporal) intergroup bias subsequently displayed a heightened preference for sustainable goods in a product choice task. Study 2 replicated these results with an alternative measure of pro-environmental intentions, and confirmed that the effect of the intervention on environmental outcomes was explained by changes in intergroup perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-212
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Early online date1 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Climate change
  • intergroup bias
  • social categorization
  • pro-environmental behavior

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