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“We aren’t idlers” : using subjective group dynamics to promote prosocial driver behavior at long‐wait stops.

Player, A. and Abrams, D. and Van de Vyver, J. and Meleady, R. and Leite, A.C. and Randsley de Moura, G. and Hopthrow, T. (2018) '“We aren’t idlers” : using subjective group dynamics to promote prosocial driver behavior at long‐wait stops.', Journal of applied social psychology., 48 (11). pp. 643-648.


Idling engines are a substantial air pollutant which contribute to many health and environmental problems. In this field experiment (N = 419) we use the subjective group dynamics framework to test ways of motivating car drivers to turn off idle engines at a long wait stop where the majority leave their engines idling. One of three normative messages (descriptive norm, in‐group prescriptive deviance, outgroup prescriptive deviance) was displayed when barriers were down at a busy railway level‐crossing. Compared to the baseline, normative messages increased the proportion of drivers that turned off their engines. Consistent with subjective group dynamics theory, the most effective approach was to highlight instances of in‐group prescriptive deviance (47% stopped idling, compared with 28% in the baseline). Implications for health and environmental outcomes and future research are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
First Live Deposit - 11 September 2018
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Publisher statement:© 2018 The Authors. Journal of Applied Social Psychology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Record Created:11 Sep 2018 10:28
Last Modified:22 Nov 2018 10:55

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