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Articles

La communication engageante : une solution pour favoriser les comportements pro-environnementaux

Binding communication: A solution to encourage pro-environmental behaviors

Lolita Rubens, Annie Moch et Patrick Gosling

p. 475-482

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Résumé

Malgré des sondages dʼopinion affirmant que les attitudes à lʼégard de lʼenvironnement et de la protection de la planète sont fortement positives, les comportements ne semblent pas toujours suivre tout à fait cette voie. Comment amener les gens à adopter des comportements responsables et favorables à lʼenvironnement ? Lʼengagement, et plus particulièrement la communication engageante, comptent parmi les modèles les plus efficaces de la psychologie sociale dans ce domaine. En effet, on se rend compte que même si les campagnes de sensibilisation sont nécessaires, elles ne sont pas suffisantes lorsque lʼon observe que les gens sont favorables à la préservation de la planète mais que les comportements ne changent pas suffisamment. Lʼengagement, défini comme le lien entre un individu et ses actes, est un courant théorique qui met lʼaccent sur nos comportements. En effet, ce sont nos actions qui nous engagent et non pas nos attitudes, nos opinions ou nos idées. Pour être efficace, il faut donc agir sur les actions des personnes directement et non plus seulement sur leurs attitudes pour modifier les habitudes. Les campagnes de sensibilisation seraient ainsi plus efficaces si elles sʼappuyaient davantage sur des « comportements préparatoires engageants ». De tels actes permettent en effet de rendre plus résistantes les attitudes qui y sont liées et augmentent la probabilité que de nouveaux comportements, allant dans le même sens que le premier, se mettent en place par la suite. De nombreuses études confirment lʼefficacité de ce courant de recherche dans les différents champs liés au domaine de lʼenvironnement : la sensibilisation en général, lʼéconomie dʼénergie ou le tri des déchets.

Abstract

Despite opinion polls saying that attitudes towards the environment and the protection of the planet are very strong, beha- viours do not always seem to follow. How can we induce people to adopt pro-environmental behaviours? Commitment and especially Binding Communication are among the most effective theoretical models of social psychology in this area. Indeed, even though persuasive campaigns are necessary they are not sufficient when we observe that people are favourable to Earth protection and that their behaviours are not changing enough. Commitment, defined as the link between an individual and his actions, is a theory that focuses on our behaviours. Indeed, it is oneʼs actions that commit one-self, not attitudes, opinions or ideas. To be effective, we must intervene on peopleʼs actions directly and not only on their attitudes in order to change habits. Awareness campaigns would be more effective if they relied more on “preparatory committing actions”. Such actions can indeed make attitudes associated with them more resistant and increase the probability of new behaviours, also related to them, being put in place thereafter. Binding communication theory proposes an action model which consists of two steps. Firstly, participants are made committed by doing a certain task: sign a commitment contract, wear a badge, writing arguments in favour of the target behaviour, etc. The degree of commitment varies according to several factors that were well studied: the context of freedom (you have to feel free to be committed), the fact that the action is public, irrevocable, explicit and repeated, the consequences of the action (they must be numerous) and the reasons why the action is done (they have to be internal reasons). After being asked to commit themselves, people read or listen to a persuasive message still in favour of the target behaviour. The commitment made before prepares people to receive the message better so they will be more likely to adopt behaviours described in the persuasive message. Many studies confirm the effectiveness of this stream of research in different domains such as prevention or community involvement for instance. However, it is particularly thriving in fields related to environment: recycling, energy conservation, etc. The results of those studies showed that the number of people who accepted to attend an eco-citizen meeting about recycling in the binding communication condition was twice the number who accepted the same request in the persuasive-only condition. The same was true of a binding communication on highways rest areas permitted an increase of recycled materials. In the field of energy conservation, researchers succeeded in committing a whole region around a common project. Several primary schools were involved and the binding campaign helped inducing new pro-environmental behaviours in many households (replacing classic light bulbs with energy saving ones or making recycling bins available within the schools for instance). Another study was specifically focused on energy saving light bulbs and digital technology. It showed that again binding communication was more efficient to induce news behaviours. The same conclusions were reached in a research studying amateur sailorsʼ concern for the environment and their habits related to their boat and the sea in general. Those studies confirmed that making people adopt a preparatory committing action got people ready to receive new information and accept them. They are willing to take this information into account in their future behaviours. Moreover, as the persuasive message also gave people strong arguments in favour of the target behaviours, it increased their knowledge on that particular matter. Those preparatory committing actions are not costly ones so they can be put in place rather easily and they can have great impact on results. The messages are better heard after an act.

Entrées d'index

Mots-clés : changement de comportement, communication engageante, psychologie de lʼenvironnement, psychologie sociale

Keywords: behaviour change, binding communication, environmental psychology, social psychology

Pour citer ce document

Référence papier : Lolita Rubens, Annie Moch et Patrick Gosling « La communication engageante : une solution pour favoriser les comportements pro-environnementaux », Pollution atmosphérique, N° 204, 2009, p. 475-482.

Référence électronique : Lolita Rubens, Annie Moch et Patrick Gosling « La communication engageante : une solution pour favoriser les comportements pro-environnementaux », Pollution atmosphérique [En ligne], N° 204, mis à jour le : 06/05/2013, URL : http://lodel.irevues.inist.fr/pollution-atmospherique/index.php?id=1247, https://doi.org/10.4267/pollution-atmospherique.1247

Auteur(s)

Lolita Rubens

EA 3984 « Processus cognitifs et conduites interactives » – Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense, 200 Avenue de la République, 92001 Nanterre Cedex

Annie Moch

EA 3984 « Processus cognitifs et conduites interactives » – Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense, 200 Avenue de la République, 92001 Nanterre Cedex

Patrick Gosling

EA 3984 « Processus cognitifs et conduites interactives » – Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense, 200 Avenue de la République, 92001 Nanterre Cedex