Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Happy Mood to Preserve the Environment

Yesterday, my student Marc and I analyzed data from an experiment he recently conducted. Marc's interested in whether a happy or sad mood can influence people's political leanings regarding social, economic, and environmental issues.

To be sure, the data are speculative at this point. (He needs to collect more data next fall semester.) But, we were both surprised by his preliminary findings. Based on Marc's experiment, we found that a happy mood affects people's political leanings that support pro-environmental concerns. The influence of a happy or sad mood, however, does not appear to affect people's political leanings toward social or economic issues.

We're both surprised by this tentative finding. It was actually quite uncanny: We were both reminded of BagFest and how it rallied folks to action in our community. So if this result turns out to be reliable, it suggests to me (and perhaps to other environmentalists) that messages used to induce a glum mood about current environment conditions should be squelched to foster positive messages, actions, and events that motivate people to preserve the environment.

No comments: