The development of values and norms in relation to environmental behavior

Environmentally friendly activities by individuals and groups make an important contribution to achieving societal goals of environmental protection. Therefore, values and norms as well as their influence on environmentally relevant behavior have gained a lot of attention in environmental psychological, sociological and economic research. However, the questions of how norms are developed and how they change over time, within society and within the individual, still remain unresolved.

Funding agency
University of Kassel, Program line Future

Project duration:
2019 − 2023

The interdisciplinary research project ZumWert examines how norms develop, change and become internalized. Furthermore, the influence of political measures as well as action and communication strategies on these processes is examined, with the objective of achieving beneficial outcomes for the society as a whole. Using laboratory and field-experimental methods as well as modeling and simulations, causal effects and dynamic processes are identified.

In the subproject carried out at the CESR, agent-based modelling is used as an integrating method, investigating the temporal dynamics of norm internalization processes and the interaction of the empirically proven effects. For this purpose, different types of norms are differentiated and their interaction with each other as well as their direct effects on decision-making processes are investigated. The influences of norms are embedded in a psychological theory of action in the environmental context and are regarded in the light of other psychological influences on behavior. A global and dynamic theory of the interaction of different norms within the individual as well as in society enables the investigation of conflicts between norms and internalization processes.

The common goal of the interdisciplinary compound is the development of an empirically supported dynamic and causal theory of norm internalization in the environmental field, which integrates psychological, game theoretical, behavioral economic and legal aspects.

Project partner