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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2018, Vol. 50 Issue (8) : 858-867     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.00858
Special Column: Behavioral decision-making is nudging China toward the overall revitalization |
The nudge effect of “foresight for the future of our children”: Pregnancy and environmental intertemporal choice
Aimei LI1(),Haixia WANG1(),Hailong SUN1,Guanxing XIONG1,2,Shaoli YANG1,3
1 Management School, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
2 School of Economics and Management, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China
3 Accenture (China) Co., Ltd. Guangzhou Branch, Guangzhou 510898, China);
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Environmental issues are currently of particular concern in the world. Thus, it is important to understand the processes that contribute to prudent long-term choices regarding the environment. To this end, it is important to study environmental intertemporal choice, especially the improvement of foresight in environmental time discounting.

The present research combined questionnaire-based, lab-based and field studies to investigate whether “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” decreased time discounting in environmental intertemporal choice. Study 1 probed the link between pregnancy and environmental intertemporal choice. Study 2 aimed to replicate the results from Study 1 by controlling for the confounding variables of the physiological state of pregnancy in a lab experiment. In Study 3, a priming paradigm was developed to test this hypothesis. Participants were instructed to indicate their degree of support for specific environmental policies after the benefits of the policy were described. The test materials were the same in the experimental and control groups with the exception that an additional phrase was included in the experimental condition: “To leave our children with blue sky, green earth, clear water, and a beautiful home”. Building on Study 3, Study 4 employed a similar nudge-like intervention to investigate the effects of “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” on the extent to which participants support a federal environmental policy and donation incentive for charitable organizations.

Study 1 indicated that pregnancy increased long-term thought in environmental intertemporal choice and decreased the temporal discounting rate through comparisons between pregnant and non-pregnant participants. Moreover, long-term thinking mediated the effect of pregnancy on the discounting rate in environmental intertemporal choice. Study 2 replicated the results of Study 1 regarding the links between the psychological priming of pregnancy and the discount rate in environmental intertemporal choice. The first two studies investigated whether natural pregnancy influenced the time discounting rate in environmental intertemporal choice. Based on these results, Study 3 tested the intervention hypothesis, which suggests that the subtle priming associated with the characteristics of pregnancy would influence the degree of support for long-term environmental policies. The results demonstrated that a simple prime that referred to “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” increased long-term thinking in intertemporal choice. Importantly, we produced similar nudging effects in Study 4 and showed that “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” increased the donation incentive towards a charity that aimed to improve the environment of China.

The results from our four studies provide consistent evidence that “Foresight for the Future of Our Children” decreased myopic behaviour in environmental intertemporal choice. These results are crucial for the design of nudge interventions that improve the long-term interests of both individuals and collectives while persevering the freedom of individual choice. Furthermore, this research also sheds light on the theoretical attributions to underlying intertemporal models and the effects of the physiological state of pregnancy on choice.

Keywords environmental intertemporal choice      nudge intervention      time discounting      long thought      pregnancy     
ZTFLH:  分类号 B849:C91  
Issue Date: 02 July 2018
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Articles by authors
Aimei LI
Haixia WANG
Hailong SUN
Guanxing XIONG
Shaoli YANG
Cite this article:   
Aimei LI,Haixia WANG,Hailong SUN, et al. The nudge effect of “foresight for the future of our children”: Pregnancy and environmental intertemporal choice[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(8): 858-867.
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研究 被试 研究设计 研究目的 可能的机制解释
研究1 126名女性 真实怀孕组和未孕组 现象初探: 生理怀孕与环境跨期决策 主要有两种: 一种可能是生理怀孕的生理变化, 另一种可能是怀孕的心理感知, 即对后代的长计远虑
研究2 118名女性 怀孕心理启动组与控制组 排除生理因素: 怀孕心理启动与环境跨期决策 怀孕的心理感知, 即对后代的长计远虑是怀孕与环境跨期决策的心理机制
研究3 230名女性 因素设计a 验证长计远虑心理对现实环保政策的支持意愿的助推效应: 为子孙后代的长计远虑与环境政策支持意愿 为子孙后代的“长计远虑”这种心理在环保政策支持主观意愿上的助推效应
研究4 141名女性 助推组和非助推组 验证长计远虑对真实环保公益捐款的助推效应: 为子孙后代的长计远虑助推环保公益 为子孙后代的“长计远虑”这种心理在现实环保公益实际行为上的助推效应
预测变量 模型1 模型2
年龄 -0.20 (0.31) -0.024 (0.30)
文化程度 -2.96 (1.58) -2.41 (1.53)
月花销 0.63 (0.58) 0.39 (0.56)
月收入 -0.07 (0.56) 0.28 (0.55)
是否处于生理周期 4.36 (3.71) 2.18 (3.65)
是否具有怀孕经验 -1.08 (3.63) 1.56 (3.61)
子女个数 1.00 (2.33) 0.01 (2.27)
怀孕周数 0.14 (0.12) 0.05 (0.12)
周围环境噪音 1.74 (0.89)* 1.7 (0.85)*
空气污染影响孩子成长大小 1.63 (1.20) 1.57 (1.16)
公益项目真实性 0.75 (1.00) 0.61 (0.97)
利他特质 -1.06 (1.42) -1.38 (1.38)
组别 7.93 (2.70)**
Adjusted R2 0.03 0.10
F F(12,100) = 1.25 F(13,99) = 1.90*
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