Shades of Awe: The Role of Awe in Consumers' Pro-environmental Behavior

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Climate change is a critical issue right now. Despite substantial work in academia examining this issue, more solutions are needed to encourage consumers to engage in more pro-environmental behavior. In the current research, we explore the ability of awe, a unique and powerful self-transcendent emotion, to motivate pro-environmental behavior and green consumption. Using different methods to induce awe and assess the effect of awe on consumers' pro-environmental behavior, we conducted three experimental studies. Across our studies, our results show that when consumers feel awe, they are more likely to engage in pro-environmental behavior and consumption. Further, we distinguish among three kinds of awe (awe of nature, awe of God, and awe from man-made wonders) and show that awe arising from nature and from God increases pro-environmental behavior more than awe from man-made wonders. In addition, a series of mediation analyses show that the effects distinguishing different sources of awe are best accounted for by different mediators rather than one common mediator; specifically these relationships are mediated by consumers' feelings of small self (i.e., diminished self-concept) and their level of spirituality, respectively. Implications for how marketers and practitioners can best utilize the power of awe for encouraging pro-environmental behavior are discussed.


Journal of Consumer Behaviour


Wiley Online Library


College of Business and Management


Begum Kaplan, assistant professor of marketing in the College of Business and Management, published "Shades of Awe: The Role of Awe in Consumers' Pro-environmental Behavior" in the Journal of Consumer Behavior.

Kaplan worked with co-authors Elizabeth Miller and Easwar Iyer on the paper, which focused on the emotion of awe and its ability to motivate sustainable behavior and green consumption. The results show that consumers are more likely to engage in pro-environmental behavior and consumption when they feel awe.

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