I was recently listening to one of my favorite podcasts “Freakonomics” with Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt . Its one of my favorite podcasts for the reasons that its funny, interesting, informative about economics and focuses on fascinating aspects of psychology (I’ve also read “Freakonomics” and “Super Freakonomics”). If you know me, you know that I love psychology. And on the episode I was listening to there was a story that stood out to me.
They interviewed psychologist Robert Cialdini who did a fascinating study on the influential power of one’s environment. Put in simpler terms, the influence that a group has on an individual. He discussed a study where PSA signs were set out in people’s yards with their permission throughout different neighborhoods. The message on the signs were geared towards people’s energy usage behavior. They had differing messages pointing out the cost to consumers, the effect on global warming, and the negative effect to future generations all from over consumption of energy. But there was one last sign, which dropped the warnings about cost, damage to the atmosphere or future generations; it simply described the usage behavior of one’s surrounding neighbors.