Eco-Friendly Influences from a Virtual World
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.