EMOTIONALITY IN ENVIRONMENTAL DECISIONS: THE INTERACTION OF PROBLEM AND DECIDER CHARACTERISTICS.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEmotionality in environmental decisions is a function of the characteristics of the environmental planning problem, the decider, and of the situation in which decisions occur. This research examined the effects of problem and decider characteristics upon the emotionality of the decision process and upon decisions. Descriptions of a resource management problem were varied in a two by four factorial design with two writing style levels (emotional and objective) and differential emphasis of two pro-development and two pro-preservative issues. Subjects read a problem description, made and evaluated confidence in a decision, placed the decision on a 156 mm preservation-development continuum, rated their emotionality on 42 scale items, and completed an Environmental Attitude Survey. Data analysis indicated that pro-development issue emphases resulted in more development decisions and lower confidence than pro-preservation emphases. Also, negative affect, environmental concern, preservation decisions, and confidence were interrelated. Neither independent variable affected emotionality, however, possibly due to the effects of the order of experimental instruments on salience of emotional response. A second experiment was conducted with half the original problem descriptions. Emotions were made more salient by asking subjects to complete the emotion scale instrument before making or describing their decisions. Significantly more preservation decisions were made in this second experiment and confidence in decisions increased. Increased negative affect was found in the second experiment also. Three major conclusions were reached. First, emotionality is a significant predictor of environmental decisions. The weakness of its predictive power may be due to the verbal, hypothetical, experimental setting. Second, the configuration of preservation decisions, high confidence, and negative affect could be related to behavior such as environmental activism, and bears further empirical investigation. Third, environmental decisions may be highly variable and sensitive to differences in situations and informational variables. A multi-method approach to study of environmental decisions and to gathering of public input is advocated.