Dynamics of environmental decision making: A preliminary study

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Yu Sun
Yiping Zhong
Cite this article:  Sun, Y., & Zhong, Y. (2021). Dynamics of environmental decision making: A preliminary study. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 49(6), e10037.


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Little research attention has been paid to the cognitive processes underlying environmental decision making. We examined environmental decisions in public and private spheres made under different decision time periods, using a minimal version of the dictator game. Participants made binary decisions according to whether they would cede their cash proceeds to support environmental conservation. The results show that time pressure amplified participants’ behavioral preferences: More proenvironmental choices were made under time pressure than when there was a time delay allowed or when there was no time limit on the decision. This bias was found to occur intuitively, without significant differences resulting from the environmental decisions being in public versus private spheres. These findings provide preliminary evidence that environmental decisions are the outcome of intuitive and deliberative processes.

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