Pro-social Priming and Pro-Environmental Behavior

Last registered on April 26, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Pro-social Priming and Pro-Environmental Behavior
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007530
Initial registration date
April 24, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
April 26, 2021, 10:36 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Region
Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Bern

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Bern
PI Affiliation
University of Bern

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2020-12-01
End date
2022-05-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The aim of this research project is to examine the impact of pro-social priming on individual pro-environmental behavior (PEB). Priming can temporarily make a particular context more salient, causing a person’s behavior to lean more toward the norms associated with the salient context. We will examine whether participants who have been primed on pro-social behavior behave more pro-environmentally friendly in a new incentivized decision task. In addition, we aim to investigate how observed priming effects persist.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Essl, Andrea, David Hauser and Frauke von Bieberstein. 2021. "Pro-social Priming and Pro-Environmental Behavior." AEA RCT Registry. April 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7530
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
In the experimental condition, we will prime participants to think about pro-social behavior. The priming will be induced by having participants answer questions about cooperative behavior in teams. In the control condition, participants will answer questions unrelated to this context.
Intervention Start Date
2021-04-30
Intervention End Date
2021-06-15

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Amount of money invested in the environmental project; Pro-environmental behavioral intentions using a self-report Likert-type scale.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In this experiment, we will prime participants to think about negative events in the future. The priming will be induced by having participants answer questions about a negative future. In the control condition, participants will answer questions unrelated to this context. After randomly manipulating context salience and a short manipulation check (word stem completion task), we will elicit subjects’ pro-environmental behavior using a new incentivized decision task in which participants can decide between keeping money or investing money in an environmental project. Thus, this task consists of a decision tradeoff between own financial and environmental rewards. After the incentivized decision task, participants will complete a series of self-report scales on pro-environmental behavioral intentions, pro-environmental behavior, pro-sociality, future orientation and answer demographic questions.

If we identify a statistically significant priming effect, we will ask the same subjects to participate in the incentivized environmental decision task one week after the manipulation in order to examine whether priming is still effective.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
computer
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
The number of participants planned for the experiment is 540 people completing the study. We advertise for 600 participants to take into account individuals excluded due to the restrictions below.

We will exclude subjects that:
- do not complete the MTurk task within 60 minutes of starting;
- exit and then re-enter the task as a new subject (as these individuals might see multiple treatments);
- are not approved for any other reason (e.g. not having a valid MTurk ID);
- do not answer the open questions as requested (e.g. wrote a few words when we asked for at least 2 sentences)
- give unusual comments to the open questions (e.g., irrelevant words, copied and pasted text from Google)
- failed crucial attention checks

In addition, and in line with previous research, we will analyze the data once with those who do not believe in climate change and once without them.

Based on previous research, we expect to exclude about 10-15 percent of participants because they did not meet the restrictions above.
Sample size: planned number of observations
The number of participants planned for the experiment is 540 people completing the study. We advertise for 600 participants to take into account individuals excluded due to the restrictions above.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
About 300 participants per treatment (about 270 participants per treatment after excluding participants as described above)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Based on a two-sided Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test, an error probability of 0.05, and a power of 0.80, we require about 270 participants per treatment to detect an effect of Cohen’s d of 0.25.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Business Administration, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Bern
IRB Approval Date
2021-02-08
IRB Approval Number
042021

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials