Stimulating Sustainable Food Choices Using Virtual Reality: Taking an Environmental vs Health Communication Perspective on Enhancing Response Efficacy Beliefs

Marijn H.C. Meijers*, Eline S. Smit, Kelly de Wildt, Sonja Greetta Karvonen, Demi van der Plas, L. Nynke van der Laan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Personal response efficacy beliefs are vital in instigating, maintaining, and catalyzing environmental behavior change. In this experimental study (N = 249), we investigated whether such efficacy beliefs could be stimulated using Virtual Reality. In a VR-supermarket, participants would see interactive pop-ups displaying impact messages when they picked up products, these are messages that display the (environmental or health) impact of a product. Our results show that these impact messages are effective in stimulating personal response efficacy beliefs and subsequently pro-environmental food choices. The heightened personal response efficacy beliefs positively affected maintaining and catalyzing behavior change (i.e. positive spill-over) up to two weeks after the VR-experience. The effectiveness of the impact messages did not depend on appeal type (health vs environmental appeal) or modality (text + visual vs text only) of the message. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Volume16
Issue number1
Early online date14 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • behavior change
  • environment
  • experiment
  • health
  • Virtual reality

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