Graphical energy labels and consumers' decisions about home appliances: A process tracing approach

Bas Verplanken, Mieneke W.H. Weenig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research has shown that graphical energy labels have limited impact on energy-efficient purchases of home appliances. The present study tested the hypothesis that effectiveness of energy labels is contingent on consumers' information search and decision strategies. Using an information display board paradigm, participants acquired information and made a decision with respect to refrigerators. For half of the participants energy information was available in the form of a symbolic energy label, whereas for the other half energy use was presented in standard format. Time pressure was manipulated so as to vary participants' information search behavior. i.e., the extent to which participants employed selective rather than consistent search across alternatives. As expected, the symbolic label was only effective (i.e., led to more energy-efficient choices) when participants were unpressured by time. Cognitive response data indicated that energy information is considered less under time pressure. The results suggest that effectiveness of symbolic labels is optimal in relatively simple decision environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-752
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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