“We aren’t idlers”: Using subjective group dynamics to promote prosocial driver behaviour at long-wait stops

Abigail Player, Dominic Abrams, Julie Van de Vyer, Rose Meleady, Ana C. Leite, Georgina Randsley de Moura, Timothy Hopthrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Idling engines are a substantial air pollutant which contribute to many health and environmental problems. In this field experiment (N = 419) we use the subjective group dynamics framework to test ways of motivating car drivers to turn off idle engines at a long wait stop where the majority leave their engines idling. One of three normative messages (descriptive norm, in-group prescriptive deviance, outgroup prescriptive deviance) was displayed when barriers were down at a busy railway level-crossing. Compared to the baseline, normative messages increased the proportion of drivers that turned off their engines. Consistent with subjective group dynamics theory, the most effective approach was to highlight instances of in-group prescriptive deviance (47% stopped idling, compared with 28% in the baseline). Implications for health and environmental outcomes and future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-648
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number11
Early online date14 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Social Norms
  • Deviance
  • Engie Emissions
  • Air Quality
  • Pro-Environmental Behaviour
  • Subjective Group Dynamics

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