Project goals

The objective of this project is to influence the peer-influence processes among friends (positively) that promote decarbonizing behaviors by integrating them into specially designed digital games and to evaluate these gameful interventions of the peer-network scientifically. Three types of decarbonizing behaviors will be targeted and analyzed this way:

  1. Investments in climate protection projects via crowdfunding,

  2. curtailment of meat and dairy product consumption and

  3. voluntary carbon offsetting.

Specifically, the project aims at gaining more knowledge about how to activate social networks, and especially friends as the main components of social networks and the main drivers of peer influence. The question is whether gamification as a mechanism to encourage low-carbon consumption (i.e., crowdfunding of green projects, climate-friendly food consumption, and voluntary carbon offsetting), and especially complex social-interactive games, are an effective way to ‘hijack’ peer-influence processes.

Further, we aim at extending the knowledge about the relevance and mechanics of network effects in the diffusion and the stabilization of climate-relevant behavioral patterns. Analyzing the dynamic mechanisms of friendship networks, we ask whether and how they promote, inhibit, stabilize, or destabilize low-carbon consumption.

A third main objective is to gain knowledge on the feedback effects that sociotechnical intervention such as gamification have on social networks. The question is whether certain structural characteristics of friendship networks, such as their density, can ‘boost’ the effect of gamification on low-carbon consumption, and whether network interventions using gamification lead to changes in the structural conditions of the friendship networks. In order to receive robust project results, a mix of three methodological approaches is applied, namely

  1. surveys among citizens;

  2. a case study among students; and

  3. field experiments.