Exploring the Role of Alignability Effects in Promoting Uptake of Energy-Efficient Technologies

Rebecca J. Hafner, David Elmes, Daniel Read

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current research applies decision-making theory to the problem of increasing uptake of energyefficient technologies, where uptake is currently slower than one might predict following rational choice models. We explore the role of alignability effects on consumers' preference for standard versus energy-efficient technologies. Previous research has found that attentional weight given to alignable or nonalignable features varies depending on the decision context, including between-alternative heterogeneity. In a hypothetical choice task, subjects were presented with a choice between similar (boiler vs. boiler) versus dissimilar (boiler vs. heat pump) home heating technologies, each described by a list of alignable and nonalignable attributes. We found a preference for alignability when options were similar; an effect mediated by an increased tendency to infer missing information is the same. No effects of alignability on preference were found when options differed. We draw theoretical and applied implications for (a) the role of alignability effects in contributing to the energy efficiency gap and (b) the type of information structure best suited for the promotion of energy-efficient technologies in future marketing campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Early online date14 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Nov 2019


  • Alignability effects
  • Consumer behavior
  • Decision-making
  • Energy demand reduction
  • Energy-efficient technologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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