How Concerned, Afraid and Hopeful Are We? Effects of Egoism and Altruism on Climate Change Related Issues


The idea that concerns for and emotional reactions to climate change may be due to environment-related egoism and altruism was tested. Participants assessed as “high” on egoism were shown to be more concerned for myself-related issues and afraid of the climate change impact on their local environment, indicating a self-benefit goal motive. Participants assessed as “high” on altruism were those more concerned for issues related to others and nature and more afraid and less hopeful for the whole world, indicating a pro-social goal motive in this group of individuals. This indicates that environment-related value orientations of egoism and altruism may prompt concerns and convey feelings differently about the climate change issue. Accordingly, when encouraging sustainable development, policy and pro-environmental actions, we have to bear in mind people’s world views grounded in environment-related selfishness vs. unselfishness; indicating different goal-directed motives in climate change decision making.

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Knez, I. (2013). How Concerned, Afraid and Hopeful Are We? Effects of Egoism and Altruism on Climate Change Related Issues. Psychology, 4, 744-752. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.410106.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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