Does self-attention influence sustainable choices? : an experimental study on how self-attention affects sustainable product preference and the false consensus effect
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- Master Thesis 
The purpose of this research is to investigate how consumers can be influenced to act more frequently on their ‘green’ values and attitudes. We test whether increased self-attention has an effect on preference for the sustainable product and how the relationship is conditioned on consumers ‘green identities’. We also explore whether there is a false consensus effect present for the perceived commonness of one’s own opinion in regard to sustainable choices, and if these consensus estimates are influenced by self-attention. In addition, we test whether moral judgements regarding product preference is influenced by increased self-attention. A framed field experiment was conducted to collect data for this research and to capture the effect of manipulated self-attention. The results show that self-attention has a negative effect on preference for the sustainable product when an individual’s environmental consciousness is high. We do not find an effect of self-attention on either consensus estimates or moral judgements. However, results do indicate the presence of a true false consensus effect for people who chose the regular product. The results reveal an opposite effect for consumers who chose the sustainable product, where they underestimate the preference of others for sustainable products. Additional findings also highlight what has been argued by previous research, namely that personal identity is an important influence on consumer behaviour. Keywords: Green Identity, Sustainable Behaviour, Self-Attention, Self-Awareness, False Consensus Effect, Product Preference, Environmental Consciousness.