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Understanding and leveraging ‘moments of change’ for pro-environmental behaviour shifts

Project description

Pro-environmental behaviour change across cultures

Individual behaviour is instrumental to a profound response to climate change. However, humans’ behaviour is usually habitual, attached to stable contexts and resistant to change. So-called ‘moments of change’ are individual expressions occurring when an individual situation shifts within a short time frame due to biographical and exogenous changes. The relationship between moments of change and environmental impact is complicated and depends on personal, cultural and behavioural factors. The EU-funded MOCHA project will explore and follow moments of pro-environmental behavioural change across cultures and life courses and examine the impact of behavioural interventions directed at effecting moments of change. The project will perform ambitious cross-cultural research using Big Data analyses, longitudinal qualitative interviews and panel surveys.


Responding to climate change requires profound changes to individual behaviour. However, much of our behaviour is habitual, which is resistant to change. Habits are cued by stable contexts (i.e. same time, place and/or social group), so when these change, habits are disrupted, providing an opportunity to intervene to foster pro-environmental behaviour. ‘Moments of change’ are when individual life circumstances shift within a short time frame, and include biographical and exogenous changes (e.g. becoming a parent, travel disruption). The relationship between moments of change and environmental impact is complex, with heterogeneity between individuals, cultures and behaviours. The aim of this proposal is to examine how ambitious lifestyle change might be achieved through understanding and harnessing ‘moments of change’ in life circumstances. This project integrates insights from several fields (developmental and environmental psychology, sociology, science & technology studies) to bring a much-needed focus on the temporal and socio-technical dimensions of pro-environmental behaviour (change). There are two objectives for the research: (a) To explore and track moments of pro-environmental behaviour change across cultures and life-course; and (b) To examine the efficacy of behavioural interventions targeted to moments of change. Three work packages address these objectives through an ambitious programme of cross-cultural research using secondary and big data analyses, longitudinal qualitative interviews and panel surveys to explore moments of change, and experimental studies to test behaviour change interventions targeted at moments of change (e.g. starting university, retiring, relocating). This project promises a step-change in understanding the dynamics of pro-environmental change across the life course and cultures, and the development of robust habit-disrupting interventions to foster lifestyle change.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 721 338,40
Claverton down
BA2 7AY Bath
United Kingdom

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South West (England) Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (2)