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Most observers agree that human consumption is on a crash course with the environment. Although recycling programs have been implemented in many cities around the world, people do not participate as often as they could. In this university podcast, Canadian scholar Kate White shares research examining the effectiveness of messages that highlight the negative consequences of not recycling (loss frames) versus those that emphasize the positive consequences of recycling (gain frames) in influencing people’s behavior. The report finds that the effectiveness of one type of messaging over another depends on whether interventions activate concrete thinking, which focuses on behaviors (such as how one might go about recycling), or abstract thinking (such as why one might go about recycling). White spoke at The Science of Getting People to Do Good briefing held at Stanford University.

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