Van Vugt, M. (2009). Averting the Tragedy of the Commons: Using Social Psychological Science to Protect the Environment. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 169-173. 


 Many local and global environmental challenges are tragedies-of-the-commons dilemmas in which private and collective interests are frequently at odds. Recent developments in social psychological theory and research suggest that in such commons dilemmas people are not just motivated by narrow (economic) self-interest but also consider the broader implications of their decisions for others and for the natural environment. Based on a core motives analysis I identify four design principles for interventions to protect the environment, (1) information, (2) identity, (3) institutions, and (4) incentives, and discuss their utility and feasibility.

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