Are you paying attention? How pro-environmental tendencies relate to attentional processes

Julia Meis-Harris, Friederike Eyssel, Yoshihisa Kashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In a world filled with human artefacts, sustainable living depends on people paying attention to and using environmentally beneficial objects, and avoiding environmentally harmful ones. In two studies, we investigate whether Australians and Germans with stronger pro-environmental tendencies (i.e., different types of measures that tap the goal of protecting the environment) pay more attention to signs and objects that help or hinder the pursuit of the environmental protection goal. We are further interested in whether visual priming and cultural background affect the attentional process. Regardless of priming, Australians and Germans who frequently engage in pro-environmental behaviours are visually attentive to environmentally harmful objects such as paper cups and cars, but do not seem to attend more to environmentally beneficial objects such as reusable bags or trams. Insights gained from the studies help to understand the goal-attention link in an environmental context and the instigation and maintenance of sustainable behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101591
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Pro-environmental behaviour
  • Pro-environmental tendencies
  • Goal-attention link
  • Priming
  • Dot probe task
  • Implicit environmental attitudes
  • cultures

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