ERC MOCHA Lorraine Whitmarsh

Project: EU Commission

Project Details


Responding to climate change requires profound changes to individual behaviour. However, much of our behaviour is habitual, which is resistant to change. Habits are cued by stable contexts (i.e., same time, place and/or social group), so when these change, habits are disrupted, providing an opportunity to intervene to foster pro-environmental behaviour. ‘Moments of change’ are when individual life circumstances shift within a short time frame, and include biographical and exogenous changes (e.g., becoming a parent, travel disruption). The relationship between moments of change and environmental impact is complex, with heterogeneity between individuals, cultures and behaviours. The aim of this proposal is to examine how ambitious lifestyle change might be achieved through understanding and harnessing ‘moments of change’ in life circumstances. This project integrates insights from several fields (developmental and environmental psychology, sociology, science & technology studies) to bring a much-needed focus on the temporal and socio-technical dimensions of pro-environmental behaviour (change). There are two objectives for the research: (a) To explore and track moments of pro-environmental behaviour change across cultures and life-course; and (b) To examine the efficacy of behavioural interventions targeted to moments of change. Three work packages address these objectives through an ambitious programme of cross-cultural research using secondary and big data analyses, longitudinal qualitative interviews and panel surveys to explore moments of change, and experimental studies to test behaviour change interventions targeted at moments of change (e.g., starting university, retiring, relocating). This project promises a step-change in understanding the dynamics of pro-environmental change across the life course and cultures, and the development of robust habit-disrupting interventions to foster lifestyle change.
Effective start/end date1/07/2030/06/25


  • EU - Horizon 2020


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