Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication. The 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE). June 17-21, 2019, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Eco-Friendly Influences from a Virtual World

Melissa Moore's picture
Author(s): 
Moore, Melissa M.
Yang, Janet Z.
Category of presentation: 
Scholarly papers
Abstract: 

Informed by research on trait empathy and eco-guilt and their impacts on environmental behaviors, this paper explores whether a video game with a pro-environment message can influence players’ adoption of environmental behavior and intention to engage in future environmental behavior. Hypotheses were tested through a lab experiment and an online experimental survey. Across both studies, eco-guilt was significantly related to environmental behavioral intention. Further, exposure to a trailer for the video game increased environmental behavioral intention among adult participants who reported less pro-environment attitude. Trait empathy was also a significant predictor of environmental behavioral intention. Results indicate that environmental communication needs to harness the power of guilt, as a moral emotion, to promote environmental behavior. Further, visual communication about environmental issues may be particularly effective among individuals who normally do not pay much attention to these topics.