Thursday, May 2, 2013

Says It All

What more do you need to know about the state of our politics than the results of this newly-released study of light bulbs and behavior:


This research demonstrates how promoting the environment can negatively affect adoption of energy efficiency in the United States because of the political polarization surrounding environmental issues. Study 1 demonstrated that more politically conservative individuals were less in favor of investment in energy-efficient technology than were those who were more politically liberal. This finding was driven primarily by the lessened psychological value that more conservative individuals placed on reducing carbon emissions. Study 2 showed that this difference has consequences: In a real-choice context, more conservative individuals were less likely to purchase a more expensive energy-efficient light bulb when it was labeled with an environmental message than when it was unlabeled. These results highlight the importance of taking into account psychological value-based considerations in the individual adoption of energy-efficient technology in the United States and beyond.
What was done (it's not clear from the above, but is better described here) was this: they showed groups of liberals and conservatives some light bulbs; first, they were labelled with data about energy efficiency. Even if the efficient bulbs (CFLs, the kind Michelle Bachmann hates) cost a little more, the two groups were equally as likely to choose the CFLs. Until the labels included references to protecting the environment. Then, conservatives (new groups of each) were way less interested in purchasing them.

The study seems more interested in the implications vis a' vis marketing; to me, it's much more than that. We've become so knee-jerk polarized that it overrides what would otherwise be decent instincts in people. And by "we" and "people" I mean the right wing of our country, brought to madness by the constant spewing of hate and derision and disinformation from their so-called "news" sources and political heroes. They'd rather abnegate something they instinctively know is right, rather live in a cesspool, than be seen as agreeing with a liberal about anything. Or so one might conclude.

How can anyone think we're not totally screwed?

[Image source]

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