Extroverts Less Likely To Go Green

It’s a well-known fact that some people are more environmentally conscious than others, but can your personality type impact your likelihood to go green? A new small-scale study from the University of Portsmouth Business School suggests so. In the first study of its kind, the habits of 204 people over the age of 50 were scrutinised and the results were surprising, finding that extroverts were less likely to go green.

‘Green’ lifestyle choices could be as simple as switching off lights and plug sockets or taking your own bags to the supermarket and the study tested where people fell in the five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) as well as their environmental habits. The research has shown that extroverts are less likely to carry out these environmental acts due to social lives, activities and other distractions. Extroverts may be reasonably green, according to the study, but it appears they are ‘too busy’ and easily distracted from making conscious changes to their environmental habits.

Another large aspect to this study was whether the age affected the individual’s ability to be green and whilst all those who took part were over 50, it was found that they became more environmentally conscious as they grew older.

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.” [1]

This study lumps people over 50 together, although behaviour can be dramatically different in somebody just gone 50 and somebody in their mid-70s. People born in the Sixties, during a period of great liberal social advances, are more likely to still be working and have money-focused goals whereas older generations are more likely to have emotion-related goals such as spending time with family members, as they are aware they have little time left to do so. Older people are also more likely to consider environmental issues a part of their life, having lived through wars and experienced rationing.

Whilst this study is the first in this particular subject area and raises a lot of questions for further studies, it provides an early insight into how our personalities may affect our environmental habits and conscious efforts regarding ‘going green.’

Do you consider yourself particularly environmentally conscious and how does your personality type agree or disagree with this study? Share your thoughts below!


The study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016328715000683

[1] http://www.port.ac.uk/uopnews/2015/06/09/extroverts-too-busy-to-be-green/

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I'm a psychology student with a passion for books, good food and movies. I can often be found reading self-help articles snuggled up in bed with a cup of coffee or writing about anything and everything in a quiet cafe somewhere.