A Theoretical Basis for Household Energy Conservation Using Product-Integrated Feedback

October 11, 2002 - 12:00pm
Bldg. 90

Goal setting and feedback have successfully been used to encourage conservation behavior, however, the source of the reponse remained unknown. An experimental study was conducted to compare two fundamentally different cognitive frameworks previously used to encourage energy conservation. Results of an energy conservation feedback experiment using a foot-in-the-door procedure based on the minimal justification principle and a goal setting procedure based on Feedback Intervention Theory (FIT) could best be explained as being due to a focus of attention on the task performance level of the goal hierarchy. Evidence that goal setting prioritizes the goal to conserve energy above other goals was strong. This was in contrast to a strong interference effect of the foot-in-the-door procedure which could be explained as evidence that minimal justification procedures compete for attention resources and draw attention to a higher level of the goal hierarchy. FIT thus provided the best interpretation for the results of the study and promises to be a valuable framework upon which to further study the effects of attention on the response to energy conservation feedback. Results of the study further indicated goal setting as an important moderator of feedback effects.

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