The role of evolutionary psychology in consumers’ green behaviour

Yee Qin Lee, Soo Yeong Ewe, Motoki Watabe

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The growing concerns about sustainable consumption encourage more consumer research on determinants that influence consumers’ green behavior. Although green consumption has risen for several decades, green adoption rates are often overestimated. This study rationalizes that developing strategies that follow human prehistorical roots may be effective in encouraging green consumption. This notion is supported by Miller (2009) regarding the reversal of direction to explaining consumer behaviour through human evolution and individual differences. Green strategies should focus on determining attributes that display specific characteristics favoured by respective peer groups. The current study introduces two evolutionary-focused priming stimuli as an ancestral motive to understand consumer behaviour. The selected evolutionary-focused stimuli represent the foundational modes in the evolutionary psychology of (1) mating (i.e. short-term mating) or (2) parenting (i.e. long-term parenting) modes. These different distinct modes are predicted to trigger different individual decisions based on each Sexual Selection strategy to pursue (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). Following Griskevicius’ et al. (2010) assertion that status signaling through pro-sociality is one of the primary green signaling mechanisms, this study further attempts to investigate the moderating effect of costly signaling. Therefore, this study aims to provide a conceptual framework with propositions on the role of evolutionary psychology in consumer decision-making in the green product context. The study proposes that viewing family-focused stimuli will induce higher buying intention on green products than viewing mating-focused stimuli. However, this effect may be moderated by costly signals.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventGlobal Marketing Conference 2023: Marketing & Management Transformation in the Challenging Digital Environment - Seoul, Korea, South
Duration: 20 Jul 202323 Jul 2023


ConferenceGlobal Marketing Conference 2023
Country/TerritoryKorea, South
Internet address


  • evolutionary psychology
  • Consumer behavior
  • green behaviour

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