A new study investigating personality types of individuals and their attitude towards green lifestyles. The results showed that extroverts are less likely to incline towards green options like switching off lights when not in use, and using their own bags when shopping. The study is available on ScienceDirecte.
The habits of 204 people over the age of 50 were analysed to test whether personality types were associated with their choice of being environmentally friendly. The participants were asked about the choices they make relative to the ecosystem: they were questioned about recycling, pollution and energy efficiency. They were also categorised according to the 5 major personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
It was found out that those people who were more open were also more conscious about sustainability. The extroverts were found to be “reasonably green”; however, their attention was focused on other issues such that they were hindered from making more efforts or changes towards a greener lifestyle.
“It isn’t surprising that people who we describe as open – those who are curious, imaginative and untraditional – are more likely to be green,” one of the researchers, Sianne Gordon-Wilson from the University of Portsmouth Business School in the UK, said in a statement. “But we were surprised that extroverts are less likely to be green. We had expected that of all the five main personality types, open and extrovert people would be the most green.”
The results of the new study are not to be regarded as the final word on the subject though. It has limitations: for instance, the participants’ greenhouse gas emissions were not taken into account. On the other hand, the results do provide an insight on how personality can affect one’s attitude towards sustainability.
“Research hasn’t paid much attention to whether age or personality type has an effect on someone’s greenness,” said Gordon Wilson. “Older consumers are growing and their behaviour and attitudes will increasingly be important. Their attitudes are likely to have a powerful effect on Britain’s overall response to reducing greenhouse emissions.”
The researchers hope that their findings will assist policy makers to develop strategies to promote green choices among consumers.