A Field Experiment on Behavioural Effects of Humorous, Environmentally Oriented and Authoritarian Posters against Littering

  • Ralph Hansmann ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) Department of Environmental Systems Science (D-USYS) Transdisciplinarity Lab (TdLab)
  • Nora Steimer IGSU (IG saubere Umwelt) (Interest Group for a Clean Environment), Zurich, Switzerland
Keywords: communication, authoritative, humour, reactance, littering

Abstract

A humorous, an environmentally oriented and an authoritarian poster against littering were tested in a field experiment on their behavioural effectiveness. Corresponding slogans were placed on anti-littering posters designed for this study and used experimentally at four railway stations. The experimental design entailed 4 communication conditions including a control condition where no poster was presented. In each experimental run (N = 96), flyers were distributed for 30 minutes. The number of distributed flyers was counted, and the proportion of littered flyers was determined for each experimental run. It was found that the humorous and environmentally oriented posters achieved a reduction of 58% and 64%, respectively, in littering as compared with the control condition. The authoritarian poster was significantly less effective, but achieved a significant reduction of 25%. Considered together with some previous findings and theories, the results indicate that environmentally oriented and humorous anti-littering posters are more effective than authoritarian ones

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.erem.72.1.14169

Author Biographies

Ralph Hansmann, ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) Department of Environmental Systems Science (D-USYS) Transdisciplinarity Lab (TdLab)

Lecturer

Associate Research Fellow

PD Dr. Phil. habil. dipl.

Nora Steimer, IGSU (IG saubere Umwelt) (Interest Group for a Clean Environment), Zurich, Switzerland

M.Sc. Nora Steiner –  Chief Executive Officer (CEO), IGSU (IG saubere Umwelt, Interest Organization for a Clean Environment)

Published
2016-05-23
Section
Articles