Professor Birgitta Gatersleben

Professor of Environmental Psychology
+44 (0)1483 689306
Mon 14-15 (semester time) or email me - room 8 AC 05


Areas of specialism

Environmental Psychology; Sustainability; Sustainable transport; Environmental stress and wellbeing; Nature experiences

University roles and responsibilities

  • Head of Environmental Psychology section
  • Director of Environmental Psychology Research Group
  • Programme Leader for MSc Environmental Psychology

    My qualifications

    University of Groningen, The Netherlands
    University of Leiden, The Netherlands



    Research interests

    Research projects

    Completed research projects 

    • LiveLagom: Sustainable Consumption Changes (COI)
      • 2015 – 2019; IKEA
      • With Centre for Environmental Strategies (CES) at Surrey
    • CUSP: Centre for Research on Prosperity Without Growth (COI)
      • 2016 – 2021; ESRC
      • With CES, Sociology and several other institutions in the UK
    • SLRG (Sustainable Lifestyle Research Group) (COI)
      • 2010 – 2013; ESRC, DEFRA, Scottish Government
      • With CES, Sociology (Surrey), Universities of Bath, Sussex and Edinburgh, Institute of Fiscal Studies
    • REDUCE (Reshaping Energy Demand of Users by Communication Technology and Economic Incentives) (COI)
      • 2010 – 2013; EPSRC
      • With Centre for Communications Research, University of Surrey and CES at Surrey
    • RESOLVE (Research on Lifestyles, Values and the Environment) (COI)
      • 2006 – 2011; ESRC
      • With CES, Sociology and Economics at Surrey
    • Sustainable lifestyle survey (PI)
      • 2011; EDEN project
    • Hoody Goody Buddy (PI)
      • 2009 – 2010; Joseph Rowntree Foundation
      • With Cadense Works, Sheffield
    • BARENERGY (Barriers for energy changes among end consumers and households) (PI)
      • 2008 – 2010; EU Framework 7 programme
      • With SIFO, Sweden, TNO, The Netherlands, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, EdF, France, University of St Gallen, Switserland, Central European University, Hungary, Centre for Sustainable Energy, UK
    • Investigation motivations of segments (COI)
      • 2008; DEFRA
      • With CES, Surrey
    • Evidence Base Review on Public Attitudes to Climate Change and Transport Behaviour (PI)
      • 2005 – 2006; DfT
      • With Robert Gordon University, Ecolane
    • ToolSust (The involvement of stakeholders to develop and implement tools for sustainable households in the city of tomorrow) (PI)
      • 2000 – 2003; EU framework 5 programme
      • With SIFO, Norway, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, University of Padua, Italy
    • Croco-cycles and walking buses (COI)
      • 2001 – 2002; Surrey County Council
    • Jubilee line Extension Perception Study (COI)
      • 1999 and 2000; Oxford Brookes University and Transport for London (Jubilee Line Impact Study)
    • The risk perceptions of transport generated air pollution.
      • 1998-2001: Guildford Borough Council

      Workshops and networks

      • Too cute to kill? From the depiction of animals in children’s literature to the framing of government policy by adults (COI)
        • 2016: IAS: £4,000;
        • With VET school and School of English and Languages at Surrey and University of Reading
      • Lifestyles in transition; opportunities for sustainable lifestyles? (COI)
        • 2014: IAS: £ 4,000
        • With Sociology and CES at Surrey
      • Psychology of Sustainable Development BPS seminar series (COI)
        • 2010 – 2011: ESRC: £3,000 (£1,000 to Surrey)
        • With Cardiff University and University of Exeter
      • OHN: Outdoor Health Network (COI)
        • 2009 – 2010; ESRC: £13,859 to Surrey
        • With 26 researchers from 15 different institutions (e.g., University’s of Surrey, Brighton, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Natural England, Forestry commission, NHS Highland) participated in this project.
      • Environmental Socialisation within the European news media (PI)
        • 2000; ESF Term II: (total: around 300,00 FRF: 45,000 Euro)
        • With Copenhagen Business school (Denmark), University of Plymouth, University of Groningen, University of Hohenheim, l'Università di Parma.


      Postgraduate research supervision

      Completed postgraduate research projects I have supervised



      George Warren, Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben, Harry Marshall, Valentine Iona Seymour (2024)Benefits, drawbacks, barriers, and drivers of working with other disciplines and stakeholders: ACCESS literature review report University of Surrey
      George W. Warren, Birgitta Gatersleben, Valentine Seymour, Harry Marshall, Gerardo A. Torres Contreras (2024)Factors influencing Environmental Social Science inclusion in policy and practice University of Surrey

      Advancing Capacity for Climate and Environment Social Science (ACCESS) is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project, which aims to champion and coordinate social science research, to build capacity and promote and enhance the value of environmental social science in research and practice to address key environmental challenges. ACCESS’s first step is to learn from the past experiences of social scientists in climate and environment training, research, policy and practice through various research activities. This report summarises the key findings of one of these activities: exploratory interviews with participants from academic, governmental and non-governmental sectors to explore the impact of UK-based Environmental Social Science (ESS) into policy and practice. Specifically, this report focuses on participants’ experiences of the factors hindering or enhancing the integration of ESS into policy and practice. The aim of this research is to provide evidence to promote greater inclusion of ESS into policy and practice by outlining the key factors influencing its impact. To achieve these wider project aims, findings presented here will be combined with evidence emerging from other activities conducted within the ACCESS project to inform a broader set of recommendations to enhance the inclusion of ESS into research, training and policy and practice. This is with the wider ACCESS goal of supporting and building capacity for ESS in the UK. Findings presented in this report, and subsequent reports of this nature, can be applicable for those working in academia, the government agencies (intermediates), non-governmental organisations, and the policy makers wanting to understand current and future ways in which UK-based ESS can be integrated into research, training, and policy and practice. It is important to note that perceptions of enhancing and hindering factors were collected through the interviews; assessing the extent of their reality in practice would require other observatory methods that were not undertaken in this study (see Newman, 2023).

      Nicola Rieg, Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben, Ian P Christie, Rosemary Horry (2023)The Little Handbook of Change For Sustainability in Higher Education Institutions University of Surrey
      Valentine Seymour, M. Xenitidou, L. Timotijevic, C.E. Elena Hodgkins, E. Ratcliffe, B. Gatersleben, N. Gilbert, C.R. Robert Jones (2024)Exploring perceptions of smart, modular living in the UK: a think aloud study, In: Behaviour & Information Technology Routledge

      While there is growing interest in the design and deployment of smart and modular homes in the UK, there remain questions about the public’s readiness and willingness to live in them. Understanding what conditions prospective residents might place upon the decisions to live in such homes stands to improve their design, helping them to meet with the expectations, and requirements of their residents. Through direct interaction with a prototype of a smart and modular home within a university context, the current study investigated how people negotiate the prospect of smart and modular living, and the conditions they would place on doing so. The study explores the short observational experiences of 20 staff and students within a UK university context, using think aloud interviews. Findings indicate that whilst participants were able to identify the benefits of smart and modular homes, there were nuanced responses when they negotiated the challenges of living. Further, a framework of considerations and recommendations are presented which could support practitioners and policy makers in making more informed, citizen-led decisions on ways to adapt and improve these home solutions.

      Birgitta Gatersleben, Steve Guilbert, Sarah Hartley, Clive Mitchell (2023)ACCESS Scoping Report: Innovative Economic Solutions and Alternatives
      B. Gatersleben, E. White, K.J. Wyles, S.E. Golding, G. Murrell, C. Scarles, T. Xu, B.F.T. Brockett, C. Willis (2024)Everyday places to get away – Lessons learned from Covid-19 lockdowns, In: Landscape and urban planning246105026 Elsevier B.V

      •During Covid-19 people visited a wide range of nearby places to get away from everyday demands, without needing to travel.•People engaged with a wide range of activities in those places, but many activities were place dependent.•All place visits benefitted hedonic and eudemonic wellbeing, but outdoor activities were more beneficial than indoor activities.•Place and activity choices varied between people. Younger people and those living in urban areas visited less outdoor places.•To support wellbeing for all it is important to identify the variety of nearby places people visit and manage access and provision of such places. Being able to get away from everyday stressors and demands, even if close to home and just for a few minutes, is important for wellbeing. During the Covid-19 lockdown periods, people’s ability to get away changed significantly. An increase in visits to nearby natural places is well documented. Little is known about other types of places people visited to get away. An online UK survey was conducted in 2020 (N = 850) investigating what places people visited to get away during the pandemic, what they did in those places, how place and activity choices were related to each other and to demographic variables, and to recalled hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing during those visits. Participants visited a rich array of places and engaged in a variety of activities that supported their hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing needs. Responses were grouped into four types of places (at home outdoors, at home indoors, away from home outdoors, and away from home indoors) and seven activity types (cognitive, walks, nature engagement, social activities, technology use, relaxing, and exercise). Place and activity choices were strongly linked. Visiting outdoor places was most beneficial for wellbeing (and most common), especially when it involved mindful engagement with nature (bird watching, gardening) or exercise. Staying indoors, engaging with technologies (computers, television) was least beneficial and more common among those with no degree or job, living in urban areas, and identifying as male. The findings demonstrate the importance of understanding place-activity interactions to support the wellbeing benefits derived from visits to places to get away.

      Bethany Harries, Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui, Birgitta Gatersleben, Alistair Griffiths, Eleanor Ratcliffe (2024)Identifying features within a garden linked to emotional reactions and perceived restoration, In: Cities & health Routledge

      This study aimed to identify what specific plants and garden features in an intentionally designed wellbeing garden influence emotional reactions and perceived restoration. To test this 142 garden visitors were recruited and asked to complete a survey as they walked around the wellbeing garden. The survey guided participants around the garden instructing them to stop at four specific Zones. They were asked questions concerning how the different Zones of the garden made them feel (sad, happy, excited, calm, and perceived restoration). In addition, the survey included open-ended questions where participants were asked to identify the features such as water elements, plants, views, and structures (sculptures, seating, paving) they felt evoked their emotional response. Using a mixed methods approach with ANOVA and Content Analysis, results found key garden design features linked to emotional reactions and perceived restoration include sounds of flowing water, open seating areas, far-reaching views, and a variety of planting (colour, height, texture, scents, attracting wildlife). This evidence can be used to inform the design of gardens that optimise wellbeing outcomes.

      Birgitta Gatersleben, George William Warren, Valentine Seymour, Harry Marshall, Gerardo A. Torres Contreras (2024)What is Environmental Social Science? ACCESS interview report University of Surrey
      Nicola Andreij Rieg, Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben, Ian Christie (2023)Driving Change towards Sustainability in Public Bodies and Civil Society Organisations: Expert Interviews with UK Practitioners, In: Sustainability15(10)8292 MDPI

      While public bodies and civil society organisations play an important role in the transition towards a more sustainable society, there has been very limited research on how to make these institutions more sustainable. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to generate insights on processes and patterns of change towards sustainability, and to identify effective practices that might be transferred and adapted to different institutional contexts. The research followed an organisational change framework and a qualitative exploratory design. Six semi-structured interviews were conducted with experienced sustainability practitioners working at leading organisations in the UK. Thematic analysis of the data revealed three overarching themes: knowledge and reflection, support and engagement, and driving and enabling change. From this, a framework for effective practice was developed, highlighting the importance of (i) explicitly linking organisational understanding to working practices through frequent and deliberate reflection; (ii) developing a support base that provides expertise and legitimacy; and (iii) using context-specific strategies for implementing planned changes, as well as supporting emergent change throughout organisational sub-systems.

      Nicola Andreij Rieg, Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben, Ian P Christie (2021)Organizational Change Management for Sustainability in Higher Education Institutions: A Systematic Quantitative Literature Review, In: Sustainability13(13)7299 MDPI

      Higher education institutions (HEIs) have been urged to integrate sustainability across all their structural and organizational dimensions. A promising area of research and practice that can help to deliver this is organizational change management for sustainability. While this field has received increasing attention over the past decade, a comprehensive assessment is still lacking. Therefore, a systematic quantitative review was carried out to summarize and synthesize the academic literature on organizational change management approaches that aim to holistically embed sustainability in HEIs. Furthermore, this review aims to illustrate what change factors have been observed and how they have been analyzed, and from this highlight implications for practice and pathways for future research. The literature reviewed puts strong emphasis on change processes and human factors, as well as elements of the institutional framework, such as vision and strategy. The findings highlight the value of strategic and reflective actions, the importance of understanding and actively shaping change processes, and that change towards sustainability requires broad stakeholder input and commitment. This review serves as an important reference point for future research and practice.

      SHI XU, George Murrell, Beth F. T. Brockett, BIRGITTA CAROLINA MARIA GATERSLEBEN, CAROLINE ELIZABETH SCARLES, EMMA V WHITE, Cheryl Willis, KAYLEIGH WYLES, Sarah Elizabeth Golding (2021)Springwatch #WildMorningswithChris: Engaging With Nature via Social Media and Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Lockdown, In: Frontiers in Psychology12701769 Frontiers Media

      It is widely understood that nature engagement benefits human wellbeing. Such benefits have been found for real as well as virtual engagements. However, little is known about the role of nature-based videos in social media on wellbeing. With Covid-19 restrictions limiting people's direct engagement with natural environments, this study critically examined people's reactions to nature videos posted on Facebook during the first UK Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. Data consisted of comments on videos containing highlights from the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) Springwatch 2020 television series, and from a UK television presenter and naturalist's (Chris Packham) livestream videos, posted on Facebook from March to July 2020. Looking at the quantitative profile of a range of videos (i.e., views, likes and shares) and a detailed analysis of the 143,265 comments using thematic analysis, 3 major themes were generated: (1) engaging with nature via social media is emotionally complicated, (2) cognitive and reflective reactions are generated from social media nature engagement, and (3) engagement with nature-based social media as a mechanism for coping with stress during Covid-19. These findings inform understanding of how nature-related social media content and associated commentary have supported wellbeing 2 throughout the ongoing pandemic and their importance as a means of continued support for wellbeing.

      Birgitta Gatersleben, Caroline Scarles, Shi Xu, Emma V White, Sarah Golding, George Murrell, Kayleigh Wyles, Beth Brockett, Cheryl Willis (2023)Trees and Wellbeing During The Covid-19 Pandemic
      BIRGITTA CAROLINA MARIA GATERSLEBEN (2020)Social-Symbolic and Affective Aspects of Car Ownership and Use, In: Encyclopedia of Transportation

      People buy and drive cars for many reasons. Instrumental factors such as cost and speed are important, but social-symbolic factors such as status and affective aspects such as driving pleasure and control also play a significant role in understanding car ownership and use. The (perceived) value of cars as symbols of personality or status influence car purchases and car use as well as social interactions. High-status cars (expensive, luxury and technologically advanced) can affect a driver’s attractiveness as well as levels of aggressive driving both by the car owner and others. Through car use, experience and symbolic factors people can become strongly attached to their cars, which affects response to travel demand management strategies.

      BIRGITTA CAROLINA MARIA GATERSLEBEN, Patrick Elf, AMY MADELEINE ISHAM (2020)Above and beyond? How businesses can drive sustainable development by promoting lasting pro-environmental behaviour change: An examination of the IKEA Live Lagom project, In: Business Strategy and the Environmentpp. 1-14 Wiley

      Current global changes require new business approaches driving sustainable development on all fronts. To date, most business approaches have focused on sustainable marketing and corporate social responsibility initiatives. In this field study, we examine IKEA's Live Lagom project, a 3‐year behaviour change initiative that aimed to explore how to go above and beyond conventional approaches demonstrating how businesses could support sustainable development by supporting their customers' attempts to live more sustainable lifestyles. We examined the effectiveness of the project involving multifaceted behaviour change interventions, testing for behavioural changes both during and after the project period. In addition, we explored changes in participants' attitudes towards the company. Findings show that the extensive set of interventions led to changes in pro‐environmental behaviours across all three participant groups with potentially positive impacts on the customer–company relationship. The article thus provides a call for further businesses to engage in similar behaviour change projects that would allow citizens to engage in more sustainable lifestyles and behaviours across contexts.

      Valentine Seymour, Maria Xenitidou, Lada Timotijevic, Charo Hodgkins, Eleanor Ratcliffe, Birgitta Gatersleben, Nigel Gilbert, Chris R. Jones (2022)Incorporating the Public Perspective into the Future Design of Smart Home Living’, In: HCI International 2022 Posters 24th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII 2022) Proceedings, Part IIpp. 362-367 Springer International Publishing

      User-Centred Design (UCD) researchers have been investigating smart homes for 20 years and have highlighted the approaches’ effectiveness in identifying the requirements of users. Despite the growing interest in smart homes, research has shown that its adoption remains low. This owes to the tendency for research to often use a technological-centred approach to improve a pre-existing product or tailor it to target users. Visions of smart homes may therefore not have been fully based on a clear understanding of users’ needs and sociotechnical issues of concern. Enabling the public to have a role in shaping the future of smart home technologies and related sociotechnical issues of concern in the early stages of the UCD process have been widely recommended. Specifically, there have been calls to engage the public in sharing responsibility for developing data privacy agreements, data governance frameworks, and effectively domesticating technologies into life and ‘home’ systems. This paper introduces the citizens’ jury method to enable the public to have a role in shaping the future of smart homes and related sociotechnical issues. This is an understudied area of research that would be considerably valuable for practitioners in the usability and smart technology sectors. Findings from this paper are based on a cross-section of UK citizens’, exploring their opinions on sociotechnical issues of data security, accessibility to and control over use of devices and technological appliances associated with smart homes. A set of recommendation are developed to provide guidance and suggested actions on approaching these issues in the future.

      Thomas Astell-Burt, J. Aaron Hipp, Birgitta Gatersleben, Deepti Adlakha, Melissa Marselle, Katarzyna Olcoń, Evangelos Pappas, Michelle Kondo, Gillian Booth, Simon Bacon, Melissa Lem, Monique Francois, Elizabeth Halcomb, Lorna Moxham, Patricia Davidson, Xiaoqi Feng (2023)Need and Interest in Nature Prescriptions to Protect Cardiovascular and Mental Health: A Nationally-Representative Study With Insights for Future Randomised Trials, In: Heart, Lung and Circulation32(1)pp. 114-123 Elsevier

      Objective “Nature prescriptions” are increasingly being adopted by health sectors as an adjunct to standard care to attend to health and social needs. We investigated levels of need and interest in nature prescriptions in adults with cardiovascular diseases, psychological distress and concomitants (e.g. physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, obesity, loneliness, burn-out). Methods A nationally-representative survey of 3,319 adults across all states and territories of Australia was completed in February 2021 (response 84.0%). Participants were classified across 15 target groups using validated health indicators and surveyed on (1) time and frequency of visits to green and blue spaces (nature spaces), (2) interest in a nature prescription, and (3) potential confounders (e.g. age, income). Analyses were done using weighted logistic regressions. Results The sample was 50.5% female, 52.0% were aged ≥45 years, 15.2% were living alone and 19.3% were born overseas in non-English-speaking countries. Two-thirds of the sample spent 2 hours or more a week in nature, but these levels were generally lower in target groups (e.g. 57.7% in adults with type 2 diabetes). Most participants (81.9%) were interested in a nature prescription, even among those spending fewer than 2 hours a week in nature (76.4%). For example, 2 hours a week or more in nature was lowest among sedentary adults (36.9%) yet interest in nature prescriptions in this group was still high (74.0%). Lower levels of nature contact in target groups was not explained by differences in access to or preference for local nature spaces. Conclusions High levels of interest in nature prescriptions amid low levels of nature contact in many target health groups provides impetus for developing randomised trials of interventions that enable people to spend more time in nature. These findings can inform intervention co-design processes with a wide range of community stakeholders, end-users in target health groups, and the health professionals who support them.

      Birgitta Gatersleben, Bertram Opitz, Andy Myers, Kayleigh Wyles (2020)Why are places so special? Uncovering how our brain reacts to meaningful places, In: Landscape and Urban Planning Elsevier

      People are drawn toward personally meaningful places. Seeing or remembering those places improves mood and supports wellbeing. But existing evidence relies on self-reports and comparisons with unpleasant places. Using brain imaging techniques, we examined reactions towards images of personally meaningful places, meaningful objects, neutral places and objects, and pre-validated (IAPS) images, among 19 volunteers (10 female) between 19 and 53 years old. A whole brain analysis showed that meaningful places and IAPS images elicited the largest response in the amygdala, associated with the processing of emotion. Similarly high activity was found for the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC),associated with self-referential processing, emotional appraisal, and memory processing. This was not found for meaningful objects or neutral places. The parahippocampal place area (PPA) showed enhanced activity only to personally meaningful places. Personally meaningful places clearly evoke distinctive neurological responses supporting the importance of this holistic and complex concept for human wellbeing.

      V. Seymour, M. Xenitidou, L. Timotijevic, C. E. Hodgkins, E. Ratcliffe, B. Gatersleben, N. Gilbert, C. R. Jones (2024)Public acceptance of smart home technologies in the UK: a citizens’ jury study, In: Journal of decision systems Taylor & Francis

      Despite growing interest, public uptake of 'smart home technologies' in the UK remains low. Barriers for accepting and opting to use smart home technologies have been linked to various socio-technical issues, including data governance. Understanding barriers for accepting to use smart home technologies is therefore important for improving their future design. Equally, enabling the public to help shape design features of these technologies from evidence-informed and deliberative approaches is also important. However, this remains an understudied area. This article reports a UK study exploring public opinion towards smart home technologies, using a Citizens' Jury method. Findings indicate that whilst participants identified the benefits of smart home technologies, participants' data sharing intentions and practices are contingent upon the condition of trust in technology developers. Study outcomes could support practitioners and policymakers in making informed, citizen-led decisions about how to adapt existing data governance frameworks pertaining to smart home technologies.

      Amy Isham, Caroline Verfuerth, Alison Armstrong, Patrick Elf, Birgitta Gatersleben, Tim Jackson (2022)The Problematic Role of Materialistic Values in the Pursuit of Sustainable Well-Being, In: International journal of environmental research and public health19(6) Mdpi

      Strong materialistic values help to maintain consumer capitalism, but they can have negative consequences for individual well-being, for social equity and for environmental sustainability. In this paper, we add to the existing literature on the adverse consequences of materialistic values by highlighting their negative association with engagement in attitudes and actions that support the achievement of sustainable well-being. To do this, we explore the links between materialistic values and attitudes towards sufficiency (consuming "just enough") as well as mindfulness (non-judgmental awareness of the present moment) and flow (total immersion in an activity), which have all been linked to increased well-being and more sustainable behaviours. We present results from three correlational studies that examine the association between materialistic values and sufficiency attitudes (Study 1, n = 310), a multi-faceted measure of mindfulness (Study 2, n = 468) and the tendency to experience flow (Study 3, n = 2000). Results show that materialistic values were negatively associated with sufficiency attitudes, mindfulness, and flow experiences. We conclude with practical considerations and suggest next steps for tackling the problematic aspects of materialism and encouraging the development of sustainable well-being.

      Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben (2023)Human experiences in dense and open woodland; the role of different danger threats, In: Trees, Forests and People100428 Elsevier

      Exposure to non-threatening natural environments promotes human wellbeing by supporting restoration of negative mood and mental fatigue. But many natural environments will harbour a threat at some point in time. Understanding if and how these threats affect human experiences in natural environments is important for land management and human wellbeing. In an on-line experiment participants (n = 300) rated how they would feel in two different types of woodland environments (dense and open) under 5 different conditions (control, an animal threat, a social threat, danger of tripping and falling and of getting lost). All dangers undermined positive experiences in the environment, in particular social dangers. The negative impact of an animal danger or the danger of tripping and falling on reported experiences was greater in dense woodlands. However, participants reported feeling more in control over a social danger in a dense woodland.

      Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben (2023)Environmental Psychology, In: Applied Psychology, 2nd editionpp. 617-636 Wiley

      This chapter provides an introduction to the field of environmental psychology. It starts with defining the field and discussing some of its key features (scope, social, applied). The chapter then provides a brief history of the field exploring how it has changed over time and discussing the research topics that have been examined. After that, it provides a more detailed overview of research and theory development in three specific topic areas that reflect recent developments and the scope of the field: (a) the well-being benefits of exposure to and engagement with natural environments, (b) privacy regulation in work settings, and (c) pro-environmental behaviour change.

      Clara Weber, Birgitta Gatersleben, Barbara Degenhardt, Lukas Windlinger (2021)Privacy Regulation Theory, In: Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek, Vitalija Danivska (eds.), A Handbook of Theories on Designing Alignment between People and the Office Environmentpp. 68-81 Routledge

      An extensive literature consistently identifies a lack of privacy as the key source of dissatisfaction among workers, particularly for those occupying open office structures. However, theoretical perspectives on work privacy vary greatly, and there is little agreement on what work privacy constitutes. As a result, the available evidence lacks comparability and undermines the ability to draw conclusions that could serve as a guide to workplace design and management. This chapter gives an overview on different conceptualisations of work privacy, highlighting inconsistencies, and introduces a new multidimensional conceptualisation and corresponding measure of work privacy fit. To highlight the relevance of the work privacy theory and its applicability to workplace research, the chapter discusses environmental and social predictors of privacy fit and privacy desires as well as health- and work-related consequences of poor privacy fit. Further, the chapter gives an overview on quantitative and qualitative methods to study work privacy, such as the new measure of privacy fit (PAW). Theoretical and methodological limitations are pointed out, and avenues of future research are suggested. The relevance of work privacy theory to practice is discussed.

      Anne M. van Valkengoed, Linda Steg, Goda Perlaviciute, P. Wesley Schultz, Tobias Brosch, Birgitta Gatersleben, Annika Nordlund, Sabine Pahl, Lorraine Whitmarsh (2021)Theory enhances impact. Reply to: ‘The case for impact-focused environmental psychology’, In: Journal of environmental psychology75101597 Elsevier Ltd

      •We show that the tension between theory and impact as implied by Nielsen and colleagues (2021) is unwarranted.•Theory and impact in environmental psychology are intertwined and synergistic.•Theory is crucial to understanding the psychological and contextual determinants of both high- and lower impact behaviours.•More (rather than less) theorizing is necessary to understand and change high-impact behaviours.

      Clara Weber, Birgitta Gatersleben (2022)Office relocation: changes in privacy fit, satisfaction and fatigue, In: Journal of corporate real estate24(1)pp. 21-39 Emerald Group Publishing

      Purpose - The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of an office move (and associated changes in settings, protocols and autonomy) on changes in privacy fit, privacy-related coping appraisal as well as changes in satisfaction and fatigue. The study builds on Altman's (1975) privacy regulation model and the cognitive appraisal theory as a transactional model of stress. Design/methodology/approach - Data was collected over two points of measurement from 61 office workers who moved from a standard open-plan office to an office that is activity based. The first questionnaire was distributed six weeks prior to the office move and the follow-up questionnaire approximately eight months after. With its longitudinal design, this study extends past research by demonstrating the changing nature of privacy fit and revealing predictors of change in privacy fit and coping appraisal. Findings - Cross-lagged autoregression analysis of change confirmed suggested predictors such as increase in variety of settings and in adherence of others to protocols that positively influenced post-move privacy fit. Further, change in coping appraisal post move was predicted by an increase in perceived environmental and behavioural flexibility. Changes in privacy fit and appraisal were associated with increases in job and workplace satisfaction and decreases in emotional and mental work fatigue post move. Originality/value - Results could inform physical workplace design as well as cultural interventions in organisations. To the best of authors' knowledge, this is the first study investigating the psychological process of privacy experience by using a transactional model of stress.

      Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben, Bethany Harries, Eleanor Ratcliffe, Lauriane Chalmin-Pui, Griffiths Alistair (2023)‘Designing a wellbeing garden’ a systematic review of design recommendations, In: Design for Health Taylor & Francis

      Evidence demonstrates the benefits of gardens for promoting wellbeing. Some gardens are now being designed specifically to promote wellbeing; however, there are currently no evidence-based guidelines or recommendations available for designers to support such endeavours. The present study undertakes a systematic review of garden design literature to: (1) identify the defining characteristics of a garden that promotes wellbeing in non-clinical populations; and (2) summarize existing evaluations of garden designs into recommendations that can promote wellbeing. Online databases were used to identify papers published before October 2022, from which 17 publications were reviewed. This review was conducted following PRISMA and framework for scoping reviews. Results: The defining characteristics of wellbeing gardens centred around six design aspects: accessibility, wayfinding, fostering serenity, multisensory planting, spatial organization, and cultural artefacts. From these, recommendations were developed for garden designers to create wellbeing gardens.

      Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben, Patrick Devine-Wright, Lorraine Whitmarsh, Safron O'Neill, Sarah Hartley, Kate Burningham, Benjamin Sovacool, Stewart Barr, Jillian Anable (2022)Placing people at the heart of climate action, In: PLOS Climate1(5)e0000035 Public Library of Science

      Profound societal change along with continued technical improvements will be required to meet our climate goals, as well as to improve people's quality of life and ensure thriving economies and ecosystems. Achieving the urgent and necessary transformations laid out in the recently published IPCC report will require placing people at the heart of climate action. Tackling climate change cannot be achieved solely through technological breakthroughs or new climate models. We must build on the strong social science knowledge base and develop a more visible, responsive and interdisciplinary-oriented social science that engages with people and is valued in its diversity by decision-makers from government, industry, civil society and law. Further, we need to design interventions that are both effective at reducing emissions and achieve wider societal goals such as wellbeing, equity, and fairness. Given that all climate solutions will involve people in one way or another, the social sciences have a vital role to play.

      Birgitta Gatersleben, Niamh Murtagh (2023)Handbook on Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Edward Elgar

      This timely Handbook provides a state-of-the-art overview of research on changing behaviour to become less environmentally harmful. Exploring how well-designed, contextually appropriate behaviour change interventions can work, it charts a path for future research that challenges traditional assumptions to maximise pro-environmental impact. Drawing together work from diverse perspectives and disciplines, this Handbook makes six key recommendations for anyone working towards a more sustainable society. Giving a critical perspective on existing ways of thinking about research and policy, leading global scholars examine behavioural change in the public and private sphere. Through empirical analysis and theoretical reflection, they review key success stories and identify where new ideas and approaches are needed. Chapters discuss cutting-edge issues including citizen science, effectiveness of behavioural interventions, norm nudges, public participation in climate policy, and children’s pro-environmentalism. The Handbook on Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change will be an invaluable resource for researchers and students of sustainability, social psychology, cultural and human geography, environmental governance, and natural resource management. It will also prove an essential guide for practitioners and activists seeking evidence-based strategies to induce change.

      B Bratanova, S Loughnan, B Gatersleben (2012)The Moral Circle as a Common Motivational Cause of Cross-situational Proenvironmentalism, In: European Journal of Social Psychology42(5)pp. 539-545 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

      Public engagement in pro-environmental behavior and support for pro-environmental policy are essential for achieving sustainable living. We propose that the ‘moral circle’ is a common motivational source for engagement in environmentally beneficial activities across situations, and may be thus drawn upon to efficiently promote these activities. Study 1 established an association between chronic moral circle size and 9 pro-environmental activities from different domains. Via experimental manipulation of the moral circle size, studies 2a-d demonstrated its causal effect on intentions to engage in pro-environmental activities. Together, these studies offer an important initial demonstration of the beneficial consequences of more expansive moral circle in the domain of pro-environmentalism. Routes for expanding the moral circle and thus promoting pro-environmental activities are discussed.

      M Andrews, BCM Gatersleben (2010)Variations in perceptions of danger, fear and preference in a simulated natural environment, In: Journal of Environmental Psychology30(4)pp. 473-481 Elsevier

      Although natural environments can help promote health, they also contain a number of dangers. This study attempted to examine how variations in the physical structure of a simulated natural environment influenced perceptions of both overall and specific types of danger, fear and preference before exploring the relationships between these variables. Three simulated walks through a natural environment differing in levels of prospect-refuge were created for the study. Respondents were randomly assigned to one of the conditions and asked to imagine taking the walk for real. In support of the typology, the results found that the walks with higher levels of prospect-refuge (higher visibility, fewer hiding places and more accessibility) were perceived as less dangerous and fearful and more preferred than walks with lower levels of prospect-refuge. However despite levels of prospect-refuge appearing to impact on the perceived likelihood of encountering a physical danger or becoming lost, they were not found to impact on the perception of encountering a social danger.

      N Murtagh, Birgitta Gatersleben, David Uzzell (2012)Self-identity Threat and Resistance to Change: Evidence from Regular Travel Behaviour, In: Journal of Environmental Psychology32(4)pp. 318-326 Elsevier

      Despite widespread acceptance of the need to change individual behaviour towards sustainability, resistance to change remains a continuing challenge. Past behaviour or habit, and psychological reactance, have been explored as components of resistance. Growing evidence for the influence of self-identity on behaviour suggests self-identity as a further factor. The current study draws on Identity Process Theory (Breakwell, 1986) to propose that threat to self-identity contributes to resistance to change, over and above the influence of past behaviour. Using travel-related vignettes to trigger threat, a study with 295 working parents in England found evidence supporting the relationship between self-identity threat and resistance to change travel behaviour, controlling for past behaviour. The findings further suggest identity threat as an alternative theoretical perspective on reactance. The results build theoretical understanding of resistance as a barrier to behaviour change. The application of an identity theory to understanding resistance is argued to add potentially new ways to encourage change towards sustainable behaviour. In addition, the findings suggest rich avenues for future research on the theoretical and empirical implications of the relationship of identities and sustainable behaviours.

      Amy Isham, Birgitta Gatersleben, Tim Jackson (2018)Flow activities as a route to living well with less, In: Environment and Behavior SAGE Publications

      Research suggests that the excessive focus on the acquisition of material goods promoted by our consumer capitalist society may be detrimental to well-being. Current Western lifestyles, which promote unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, therefore risk failing to bring citizens the happiness they are striving for. Csikszentmihalyi (2004) suggested that engaging in challenging, flow-conducive activities is a means by which individuals can improve their well-being without substantially impacting the environment. In this paper we test this proposal by examining data concerning the daily experiences and well-being of 500 US families. We show that individuals who experience stronger characteristics of flow in their leisure activities tend to have greater momentary well-being and that those experiencing flow more frequently tend to report greater retrospective well-being. Moreover, a small negative relationship was found between an activity’s flow score and its environmental impact. The analysis allows us to identify a specific group of activities that are highly conducive to the experience of flow while having a low environmental impact.

      Birgitta Gatersleben, Emma White, W Abrahamse, Timothy Jackson, David Uzzell (2010)Values and sustainable lifestyles, In: Architectural Science Review53(1)pp. 37-50 Routledge, Taylor & Francis

      With ever-increasing concerns about the consequences of climate change, households are an important focus for change. There is increasing pressure on households to change lifestyles and adopt behaviours that require less energy and natural resources. At the same time, retailers and producers of consumer goods aim to persuade people to consume more through commercial advertisements. Social science research examining sustainable behaviours often fails to examine the relative influence of both environmental concern and materialism simultaneously. Moreover, most of this research focuses on explaining or promoting behaviours with pro-environmental intent, thereby ignoring many consumer behaviours that may have a significant environmental impact. This article aims to address some of these shortcomings by examining the relationships between materialistic and environmental values and different consumer behaviours. Survey data from 194 individuals from 99 households were analysed. The findings show that quite a number of people express both relatively high levels of environmental concern and relatively high levels of materialism simultaneously. Moreover, materialism and environmental concern appear to be related to different types of behaviours. This raises important questions for the promotion of sustainable lifestyles, which may need to address not only environmental concerns but also materialistic concerns.

      Birgitta Gatersleben, Mark Cropley, Sarah Elizabeth Golding (2018)An Experimental Exploration of the Effects of Exposure to Images of Nature on Rumination, In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health15(2) MDPI

      Exposure to natural environments has been shown to have beneficial effects on mood. Rumination is a thinking style associated with negative mood, and sometimes depression, and is characterized by repetitive, intrusive thoughts, often with a negative emotional element. This study investigated whether exposure to nature, operationalized using photographs presented as a slideshow, could aid reduction in levels of state rumination. An experimental, within-between (Time x Condition) participant design was used; participants (n = 58) undertook a presentation task designed to induce rumination and influence mood. Participants were then randomly allocated to either: watch a slideshow of a natural environment, watch a slideshow of an urban environment, or wait patiently with no distractions. Data were collected at baseline, after the presentation, and after the slideshow. Environmental exposure had no effect on levels of rumination or negative mood, but did have a significant effect on levels of positive mood, ‘being away’, and ‘fascination’. Positive mood declined in those who saw the urban slideshow, but remained the same in those who saw the nature slideshow, whilst levels of being away and fascination were highest in those who saw the nature slideshow. This study extends previous restorative environment research by exploring the effects of nature on rumination.

      Nick Grudgings, Alex Hagen-Zanker, Susan Hughes, Birgitta Gatersleben, Marc Woodall, Will Bryans (2018)Why don't more women cycle? An analysis of female and male commuter cycling mode-share in England and Wales, In: Journal of Transport and Health10pp. 272-283 Elsevier

      Women are under-represented in commuter cycling in England and Wales. Consequently, women miss out on the health benefits of active commuting over distances where walking is less practical. Similarly, where cycling could replace motorised forms of transport, society is missing out on the wider health benefits associated with reductions in air pollution, road noise and social severance. This paper uses aggregate (ecological) models to investigate the reasons behind the gender gap in cycling. The relative attractiveness of cycling in different areas is described using a set of 17 determinants of commuter cycling mode share: distance, population density, cycle paths, cycle lanes, traffic density, hilliness, temperature, sun, rain, wind, wealth, lower social status, children, green votes, bicycle performance, traffic risk and parking costs. The correlation between these determinants and census-recorded cycling mode share is examined in logit models for commuters who work 2-5 km from home. The models explain a large share of the variation in cycling levels. There are small but significant differences in the importance of individual determinants between men and women. However, the gender gap is largely explained by a differentiated response to the relative attractiveness of an area for cycling, the sum effect of all determinants. The ratio of male to female cycling rates is greatest in areas that are less attractive for cycling, whereas in the most attractive areas the ratio approaches parity. On average, women require a more conducive environment for cycling than men. Since the typical environment in England and Wales is not conducive for cycling, women are under-represented in commuter cycling rates and miss out on the health dividend. The results suggest improvements to the cycling environment may be moderated by the existing attractiveness of the environment for cycling, with improvements in less attractive areas having a smaller absolute effect on cycling rates.

      Steve Sorrell, Birgitta Gatersleben, Angela Druckman (2020)The limits of energy sufficiency: A review of the evidence for rebound effects and negative spillovers from behavioural change, In: Energy Research and Social Science Elsevier

      ‘Energy sufficiency’ involves reducing consumption of energy services in order to minimise the associated environmental impacts. This may either be through individual actions, such as reducing car travel, or through reducing working time, income and aggregate consumption (‘downshifting’). However, the environmental benefits of both strategies may be less than anticipated. First, people may save money that they can spend on other goods and services that also require energy to provide (rebounds). Second, people may feel they have ‘done her bit’ for the environment and can spend time and money on more energy-intensive goods and activities (spillovers). Third, people may save time that they can spend on other activities that also require energy to participate in (time-use rebounds). This paper reviews the current state of knowledge on rebounds and spillovers from sufficiency actions, and on time-use rebounds from downshifting. It concludes that: first, rebound effects can erode a significant proportion of the anticipated energy and emission savings from sufficiency actions; second, that such actions appear to have a very limited influence on aggregate energy use and emissions; and third, that downshifting should reduce energy use and emissions, but by proportionately less than the reduction in working hours and income.

      PE Canning, SJ Hughes, EE Hellawell, BCM Gatersleben, CJ Fairhead (2010)Reasons for participating in formal employer-led carpool schemes as perceived by their users, In: Transportation Planning and Technology33(8)pp. 733-745
      A Morten, Birgitta Gatersleben, D Jessop (2018)Staying grounded? Applying the theory of planned behaviour to explore motivations to reduce air travel, In: Transportation Research Part F55pp. 297-305 Elsevier

      Air travel has been highlighted as a key environmental behaviour contributing to climate change. Given this, there is a surprising lack of theory-based research aimed at identifying factors that underpin motivation to reduce the number of flights taken. This study explored whether an extended theory of planned behaviour (TPB) model could be usefully applied to identify significant predictors of intentions to reduce the number of flights taken for leisure, holidays or to visit family or friends. Results supported the predictive utility of the TPB; the extended model was able to account for 52% of the variance in intentions over and above past behaviour and socio-demographic variables. Attitudes, subjective norms and behaviour-specific self-identity emerged as significant linear predictors. Findings support the utility of applying the TPB to air travel and suggest key variables which could be targeted in interventions to promote motivation to reduce the number of flights taken.

      Eleanor Ratcliffe, Birgitta Gatersleben, Paul T. Sowden (2016)Associations with bird sounds: How do they relate to perceived restorative potential?, In: Journal of Environmental Psychology Elsevier

      Bird sounds are related to perceptions of attention restoration and stress recovery, but the role of associations in such perceptions is understudied. 174 adult residents of the United Kingdom rated 50 bird sounds on perceived restorative potential (PRP) and provided qualitative data on associations with each sound. Bird sounds were associated with imagined environments, birds and other animals, time and season, and activities within the environment. Bird sounds rated as high in PRP were associated with green spaces, spring and summer, daytime, and active behaviours in the environment. Low-PRP bird sounds were associated with exotic and marine environments, nonavian animals, and showed a non-significant trend towards associations with negative bird behaviour. These findings highlight connections between semantic values and restorative perceptions of natural stimuli. Such connections can inform top-down approaches to study of restorative environments and may benefit conservationists seeking to improve bonds between people and wildlife.

      PE Canning, EE Hellawell, SJ Hughes, BCM Gatersleben, CJ Fairhead (2010)'Devolution' of transport powers to Local Government: Impacts of the 2004 Traffic Management Act in England, In: TRANSPORT POLICY17(2)pp. 64-71 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
      Birgitta Gatersleben, A Greenwood (2016)Let’s go outside! Environmental restoration amongst adolescents and the impact of friends and phones, In: Journal of Environmental Psychology48pp. 131-139 Elsevier

      Adolescents are experiencing an increasing number of psychological difficulties due to mental fatigue and stress. Natural environments have been found to be beneficial to psychological wellbeing by reducing stress and improving mood and concentration for most people. However, a number of studies have suggested that this may not be the case for adolescents perhaps because they have different social and emotional needs (to be with friends, not to be bored), although evidence is lacking. In a field experiment with 120 16-18 year olds in the UK we tested restoration of stress and mental fatigue in an outdoor or indoor environment, alone, with a friend or while playing a game on a mobile phone. The findings showed greater restoration amongst adolescents who had been in an outdoor setting containing natural elements, compared with those who had been in an indoor one. Moreover, being with a friend considerably increased positive affect in nature for this age group. The findings indicated that spending short school breaks in a natural environment with a friend can have a significant positive impact on the psychological wellbeing of teenagers.

      Laura Cowen, Birgitta Gatersleben (2017)Testing for the size heuristic in householders' perceptions of energy consumption, In: Journal of Environmental Psychology54pp. 103-115 Elsevier

      Few householders have the time or motivation to systematically weigh up all the facts when judging the energy consumption of their household appliances. It is likely that they instead rely on simple heuristics such as the size heuristic, which has been reported in a small number of previous studies. The studies showed that people’s perceptions of the size and energy consumption of appliances were positively correlated but the studies differed in their methods and effect sizes. The present study re-tests the use of the size heuristic using two methods of data collection (between-participants and within-participants) and three methods of correlation. On average, correlations between size and energy estimates were moderately strong but they (and the accuracy of the energy estimates) varied greatly between individual participants. Understanding householders’ perceptions of energy is vital to designing more effective energy-saving policies. The findings highlight the importance of choosing and clearly reporting methods.

      B Gatersleben, N Murtagh, W Abrahamse (2012)Values, Identity and Pro-Environmental Behaviour, In: Contemporary Social Science: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences Routledge, Taylor & Francis

      The importance of understanding and promoting pro-environmental behaviour among individual consumers in modern Western Societies is generally accepted. Attitudes and attitude change are often examined to help reach this goal. But although attitudes are relatively good predictors of behaviour and are relatively easy to change they only help explain specific behaviours. More stable individual factors such as values and identities may affect a wider range of behaviours. In particular factors which are important to the self are likely to influence behaviour across contexts and situations. This paper examines the role of values and identities in explaining individual pro-environmental behaviours. Secondary analyses were conducted on data from three studies on UK residents, with a total of 2694 participants. Values and identities were good predictors of pro-environmental behaviour in each study and identities explain pro-environmental behaviours over and above specific attitudes. The link between values and behaviours was fully mediated by identities in two studies and partially mediated in one study supporting the idea that identities may be broader concepts which incorporate values. The findings lend support for the concept of identity campaigning to promote sustainable behaviour. Moreover, it suggests fruitful future research directions which should explore the development and maintenance of identities.

      Prashant Kumar, Angela Druckman, John Gallagher, Birgitta Gatersleben, Sarah Allison, Theodore S. Eisenman, Uy Hoang, Sarkawt Hama, Arvind Tiwari, Ashish Sharma, K V Abhijith, Deepti Adlakha, Aonghus McNabola, Thomas Astell-Burt, Xiaoqi Feng, Anne Skeldon, Simon de Lusignan, Lidia Morawska (2019)The Nexus between Air Pollution, Green Infrastructure and Human Health, In: Environment International133 A105181 Elsevier

      Cities are constantly evolving and so are the living conditions within and between them. Rapid urbanization and the ever-growing need for housing have turned large areas of many cities into concrete landscapes that lack greenery. Green infrastructure can support human health, provide socio-economic and environmental benefits, and bring color to an otherwise grey urban landscape. Sometimes, benefits come with downsides in relation to its impact on air quality and human health, requiring suitable data and guidelines to implement effective greening strategies. Air pollution and human health, as well as green infrastructure and human health, are often studied together. Linking green infrastructure with air quality and human health together is a unique aspect of this article. A holistic understanding of these links is key to enabling policymakers and urban planners to make informed decisions. By critically evaluating the link between green infrastructure and human health via air pollution mitigation, we also discuss if our existing understanding of such interventions is enabling their uptake in practice. Both the natural science and epidemiology approach the topic of green infrastructure and human health very differently. The pathways linking health benefits to pollution reduction by urban vegetation remain unclear and that the mode of green infrastructure deployment is critical to avoid unintended consequences. Strategic deployment of green infrastructure may reduce downwind pollution exposure. However, the development of bespoke design guidelines is vital to promote and optimize greening benefits and measuring green infrastructure’s socio-economic and health benefits are key for their uptake. Greening cities to mitigate pollution effects is on the rise and these needs to be matched by scientific evidence and appropriate guidelines. We conclude that urban vegetation can facilitate broad health benefits, but there is little empirical evidence linking these benefits to air pollution reduction by urban vegetation, and appreciable efforts are needed to establish the underlying policies, design and engineering guidelines governing its deployment.

      N Murtagh, B Gatersleben, David Uzzell (2014)20∶60∶20 - Differences in Energy Behaviour and Conservation between and within Households with Electricity Monitors, In: PLoS One9(3)pp. e92019-? Public Library of Science

      The introduction of electricity monitors (in-home displays; IHDs), which show accurate and up-to-the-minute energy usage, is expected to lead to reduction in consumption. Studies of feedback on domestic electricity use have generally supported this view. However, such studies also demonstrate wide variation between households. Examining the heterogeneity of responses is essential for understanding the actual and potential effectiveness of IHDs and in order to target interventions effectively. To explore differences between households’ responses to IHDs, we conducted a qualitative study with 21 households who had an IHD for more than six months. Of the 21, only four households continued to refer to the IHD and the findings suggest that attempts to reduce energy consumption were situated in wider social and physical contexts. Further, the participants demonstrated energy saving behaviour before and outside of IHD usage. The patterns of energy behaviours and attempts at electricity conservation could best be understood by categorising the households into three types: the Monitor Enthusiasts (20%), the Aspiring Energy Savers (60%) and the Energy Non-Engaged (20%). The factors of importance in energy behaviour differed between the categories. Financial savings contributed to efforts to reduce energy use but only up to boundaries which varied considerably between households. Social practices and social relationships appeared to constrain what actions households were prepared to undertake, illuminating aspects of inter-household variation. Within the household, all energy users were not equal and we found that women were particularly influential on energy use through their primary responsibility for domestic labour on behalf of the household. The implications of the findings for environmental campaigning are discussed. The research was funded by the Digital Economy Programme of the Research Councils UK, a cross-council initiative led by EPSRC ( and contributed to by AHRC, ESRC and MRC, under the REDUCE project grant (no EP/I000232/1). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

      N Murtagh, M Nati, WR Headley, Birgitta Gatersleben, A Gluhak, MA Imran, David Uzzell (2013)Individual energy use and feedback in an office setting: A field trial, In: Energy Policy62pp. 717-728 Elsevier

      Despite national plans to deploy smart meters in small and medium businesses in the UK, there is little knowledge of occupant energy use in offices. The objectives of the study were to investigate the effect of individual feedback on energy use at the workdesk, and to test the relationship between individual determinants, energy use and energy reduction. A field trial is presented, which monitored occupant energy use and provided individual feedback to 83 office workers in a university. The trial comprised pre- and post-intervention surveys, energy measurement and provision of feedback for 18 weeks post-baseline, and two participant focus groups. The main findings were: statistically significant energy reduction was found, but not for the entire measurement period; engagement with feedback diminished over time; no measured individual variables were related to energy reduction and only attitudes to energy conservation were related to energy use; an absence of motivation to undertake energy reduction actions was in evidence. The implications for energy use in offices are considered, including the need for motivations beyond energy reduction to be harnessed to realise the clear potential for reduced energy use at workdesks. © 2013 The Authors.

      N Murtagh, Birgitta Gatersleben, David Uzzell (2012)Multiple identities and travel mode choice for regular journeys, In: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour15(5)pp. 514-524 Elsevier

      Growing evidence supports a range of non-instrumental factors influencing travel mode. Amongst these, identity has been proposed. However, to date, the relationship has not been systematically investigated and few investigations have harnessed a theoretical framework for identity. Drawing on role theory (Stryker, S., 1980, Symbolic interactionism: A social structural version. CA: Benjamin Cummings), we hypothesised that multiple identities, of varying importance, are related to travel mode choice. The study of 248 UK urban/suburban, working, car-owning parents used survey-based data to test the influence of seven identities on travel mode choice in regular travel. Multiple and logistic regression analyses found multiple identities to be significantly related to travel mode to work, on escort education and on other regular journeys. The study demonstrated different patterns of relationship between identity on different types of journey and found evidence for travel mode choice as embedded within social identities. In addition to the study‟s contribution of new empirical findings, its application of a theoretical focus on identity offers additional strategies in attempting to change travel behaviours towards sustainability.

      B Gatersleben, M Andrews (2013)When walking in nature is not restorative - the role of prospect and refuge, In: Health and Place20pp. 91-101 Elsevier

      People tend to recover more quickly from stress and mental fatigue in natural than in urban environments. But natural environments may not always be restorative. Dense wooded areas may evoke fear and stress and require directed attention to avoid getting lost or tripping over. Little is known about the restorative potential of such environments. Two experiments were conducted to examine restoration in natural settings with different levels of accessibility, prospect (clear field of vision) and refuge (places to hide). An on-line survey (n=269) examined perceived restoration of environments presented in a slide show. An experiment examined actual restoration in response to walks in a real outdoor setting (n=17) and in response to videos of the same walks (in a laboratory; n=17). The findings demonstrate that exposure to natural environments with high levels of prospect and low levels of refuge, is indeed restorative. However, exposure to natural environments low in prospect and high in refuge is not, and may even further increase levels of stress and attention fatigue. These findings demonstrate that natural places may not always be restorative places.

      KA Burningham, S Venn, B Gatersleben, I Christie, T Jackson (2014)’New Motherhood: a moment of change in everyday shopping practices?’, In: Young Consumers15(3)pp. 211-226 Emerald

      The purpose of this paper is to draw on data from 16 interviews (two each with eight women) to explore some of the ways in which everyday shopping may change as women become mothers. The meanings, practices and implications of the transition to motherhood have long been a topic for sociological inquiry. Recently, interest has turned to the opportunities offered by this transition for the adoption of more sustainable lifestyles. Becoming a mother is likely to lead to changes in a variety of aspects of everyday life such as travel, leisure, cooking and purchase of consumer goods, all of which have environmental implications. The environmental impacts associated with such changes are complex, and positive moves toward more sustainable activities in one sphere may be offset by less environmentally positive changes elsewhere.

      E White, BCM Gatersleben (2011)Greenery on UK Residential Buildings: Does it affect preferences and perceptions of beauty?, In: Journal of Environmental Psychology31(1)pp. 89-98 Elsevier

      Recently there has been a surge in the number of green roofs and façades (vegetation on the roofs & walls of a building) installed in the UK, with advocation of their use by policy-makers and claims that they are aesthetically pleasing and promote restoration. But these claims rely on generalisations from different landscapes, raising concerns about validity. The present study examined whether houses with vegetation would be more preferred than those without, be perceived as more beautiful and restorative, and have a more positive affective quality. Differences between types of building-integrated vegetation were also examined. Two studies were conducted: an online survey in which participants (N = 188) rated photographs of houses with and without vegetation on each of these measures, and interviews (N = 8) which examined preference and installation concerns. Results showed that houses with (some types of) building-integrated vegetation were significantly more preferred, beautiful, restorative, and had a more positive affective quality than those without. The ivy façade and meadow roof rated highest on each. These findings are consistent with other areas of landscape research and the claims of those in the industry, and suggest that building-integrated vegetation would be a valuable addition to the urban environment.

      Birgitta Gatersleben, Tim Jackson, Jesse Meadows, Elena Soto, Ying (Lily) Yang (2018)Leisure, materialism, wellbeing and the environment, In: European Review of Applied Psychology / Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée68(3)pp. 131-139 Elsevier

      Introduction There are increasing concerns that people in modern societies spend too much of their leisure time on activities such as shopping and watching television and that this undermines human wellbeing and damages the environment. Objectives This paper explores the relationships between materialism, environmental values and life satisfaction on the one hand, and different forms of leisure activities on the other. In particular, it addresses the differences between serious or intrinsically motivating leisure activities and casual or extrinsically motivating activities. Method Three survey studies were conducted among 16 to 25 year olds in the UK (n = 338), Spain (n = 417) and China (n = 961). Results Reading books was negatively related to materialism and positively to environmental values and behaviours. Playing sports was associated with higher wellbeing. Moreover, materialism was negatively associated with environmental values and behaviour. Life satisfaction was higher among those with stronger environmental values and weaker materialism. Conclusion The findings suggest that sustainable lifestyles, characterised by higher wellbeing, higher environmental concern and behaviour and lower materialism can be found in each nation. Moreover, such lifestyles are associated with different kinds of leisure engagement. Examining the potentially positive role of reading books rather than being immersed in screen time deserves further attention.

      Niamh Murtagh, Birgitta Gatersleben, Chris Fife-Schaw (2019)Occupants’ motivation to protect residential building stock from climate-related overheating: A study in southern England, In: Journal of Cleaner Production226pp. 186-194 Elsevier

      Temperate zones including the UK and mainland Europe continue to be exposed to increasing temperatures and more frequent heatwaves as global warming continues. The built environment can mitigate the public health risk of overheating and recommendations for precautionary actions on homes have been published by government and industry. A key player in improving resilience is the householder, who can determine whether precautionary measures will be installed in their home. Previous research on flooding has applied Protection Motivation Theory to examine determinants of householder response to risk. However, flooding risks differ from those of overheating in several ways. The current study builds on this work to address the gap on understanding householder propensity to install precautionary measures against overheating. A large-scale survey (n = 1007) of householders was conducted in the south of England and regression analyses applied to the data. While threat appraisal (perception of threat risk and severity) had an influence on motivation to take action, coping appraisal (perception of ability to make changes, of the effectiveness of the changes and of convenience) was a stronger predictor, particularly for flat dwellers. Previous experience of overheating did not directly influence protection motivation. Age was negatively related to intentions to act but income was not a significant factor. Recommendations for policy and practice include focusing on enhancing coping appraisal, targeting older citizens, customising initiatives by type of property and occupancy, and framing mitigating actions in ways other than protection from overheating.

      B Gatersleben, KM Appleton (2007)Contemplating cycling to work: Attitudes and perceptions in different stages of change, In: Transportation Research Part a-Policy and Practice41(4)pp. 302-312

      In 1996 the UK government introduced the National Cycle Strategy which aimed to double the number of cycling trips by the end of 2002 and double them again by 2012. So far, however, these targets have not been met. The House of Commons ascribes this to 'a fundamental lack of commitment to cycling on an individual, regional and national level'. This paper addresses the individual level by examining the views of commuters in different stages of change as distinguished by Prochaska's model [Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C., 1984. The Transtheoretical Approach: Crossing Traditional Boundaries of Change. Dow Jones/Irwin, Homewood IL]. This model views behaviour change as a process rather than an event. Two studies were conducted amongst university staff and students: a survey study and an action study. The studies showed that as people progress front precontemplation to action their attitudes towards cycling become more positive and their perceptions of various personal and external barriers change. This suggests that different strategies are necessary to move people in different stages of change to action and maintenance. At the moment, it seems that regular cyclists form a very small minority of people who will cycle under most circumstances simply because they like cycling. The majority of people have never contemplated cycling. There is, however, also a group of people who would like to cycle and could be persuaded to cycle under the right circumstances. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

      K Gillis, Birgitta Gatersleben (2015)A Review of Psychological Literature on the Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Biophilic Design, In: Buildings5(3)pp. 948-963 MDPI AG

      Abstract: Biophilic design has received increasing attention as a design philosophy in recent years. This review paper focused on the three Biophilic design categories as proposed by Stephen Kellert and Elizabeth Calabrese in “The Practice of Biophilic Design”. Psychological, peer reviewed literature supporting the benefits of Biophilic design was searched for through the lens of restorative environments. Results indicate that there exists much evidence supporting certain attributes of Biophilic design (such as the presence of natural elements), while empirical evidence for other attributes (such as the use of natural materials or processes) is lacking. The review concludes with a call for more research on restorative environments and Biophilic design.

      Angela Druckman, Birgitta Gatersleben (2019)A time-use approach: high subjective wellbeing, low carbon leisure., In: Journal of Public Mental Health18(2)pp. 85-93 Emerald Publishing Limited

      Purpose: This paper addresses the question: which leisure activities are relatively low carbon and conducive to high levels of subjective wellbeing? Underlying this question is the premise that to combat climate change, carbon emissions must be radically reduced. Technological change alone will not be sufficient: lifestyles must also change. Whereas mainstream strategies generally address the challenge of reducing carbon emissions through reviewing consumption, approaching it through the lens of how we use our time, in particular, leisure time, may be a promising complementary avenue. Design/methodology/approach: The paper brings together three areas of research that are hitherto largely unlinked: subjective wellbeing/happiness studies, studies on how we use our time, and studies on low-carbon lifestyles. Findings: The paper shows that low carbon leisure activities conducive to high subjective wellbeing include social activities such as spending time in the home with family and friends, and physical activities that involve challenge such as partaking in sports. However, depending how they are done, some such activities may induce high carbon emissions, especially through travel. Therefore appropriate local infrastructure, such as local sports and community centres are required, along with facilities for active travel. Policy-making developed from a time-use perspective would encourage investment to support this. Originality/value: Win-win opportunities for spending leisure time engaged in activities conducive to high subjective wellbeing in low carbon ways are identified. This is done by bringing three research topics together in a novel way.

      Eleanor Ratcliffe, Birgitta Gatersleben, Paul T. Sowden (2018)Predicting the perceived restorative potential of bird sounds through acoustics and aesthetics, In: Environment and Behavior SAGE Publications

      Some, but not all, bird sounds are associated with perceptions of restoration from stress and cognitive fatigue. The perceptual properties that might underpin these differences are understudied. In this online study, ratings of perceived restorative potential (PRP) and aesthetic properties of 50 bird sounds were provided by 174 residents of the United Kingdom. These were merged with data on objectively measured acoustic properties of the sounds. Regression analyses demonstrated that sound level, harmonics, and frequency, and perceptions of complexity, familiarity, and pattern, were significant predictors of PRP and cognitive and affective appraisals of bird sounds. These findings shed light on the structural and perceptual properties that may influence restorative potential of acoustic natural stimuli. Finally, through their potential associations with meaning, these findings highlight the importance of further study of semantic or meaning-based properties within the restorative environments literature.

      Birgitta Gatersleben, N Murtagh, M Cherry, M Watkins (2017)Moral, wasteful, frugal, or thrifty? Identifying consumer identities to understand and manage pro-environmental behavior, In: Environment and Behavior51(1)pp. 24-49 Sage Publications

      Moral motives are important for pro-environmental behavior. But such behavior is not only motivated by moral or environmental concerns. We examined what higher-order motives, other than morality, may be important for understanding pro-environmental behavior, by studying consumer identities. In three studies (N = 877) four consumer identities were distinguished: moral, wasteful, frugal, and thrifty. Frugal and moral consumer identities were most salient and were the strongest predictors of pro-environmental behaviors, but in different ways. Frugality, which is related to, but distinct from thriftiness, was particularly important for behaviors associated with waste reduction of any kind (including money). The findings suggest that people adopt the same behavior for different reasons, in ways consistent with their consumer identities. People manage multiple consumer identities simultaneously and environmental policy is likely to be more effective if it addresses these multiple identities.

      B Gatersleben, N Murtagh, E White (2013)Hoody, goody or buddy? How travel mode affects social perceptions in urban neighbourhoods, In: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour21pp. 219-230 Elsevier

      When travelling through a new environment people can and do make very quick judgements about the local conditions. This paper explores the idea that such judgements are affected by the travel mode they use. We hypothesise that drivers generate a more superficial impression of the things they observe than those who walk because they are exposed to less information. This prediction is based on social psychological research that demonstrates that information that becomes available in "thin slices" affects superficial judgements. A survey study (n = 644) demonstrated that perceptions of a less affluent area are indeed negatively related to more driving and positively related to more walking, but only for those who do not live there. Perceptions of a neighbouring affluent area are positively related to more driving. Two experimental studies (n = 245 and n = 91) demonstrated that explicit (but not implicit) attitudes towards a group of young people in an ambiguous social situation are more negative when they are viewed from the perspective of a car user in particular in relation to a pedestrian perspective. These findings suggest that mode use may affect communities by influencing social judgements. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

      N Murtagh, Birgitta Gatersleben, David Uzzell (2014)A qualitative study of perspectives on household and societal impacts of demand response, In: Technology Analysis & Strategic Management26(10)pp. 1131-1143 Taylor & Francis

      Despite the importance of demand response, there has been little exploration of its potential impact on the individual or society. To address this gap, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 households in the south of England, in which two demand response vignettes were presented: peak pricing and remote demand control during critical peaks. Peak pricing was seen as inequitable, burdening the less affluent, the less healthy, families and working mothers. Adverse societal outcomes may result from peak pricing, with potential for disruption of time-dependent household routines including the socially vital ritual of family mealtimes. Householders perceived their peak-time consumption to be determined by society’s temporal patterns and not within their control to change. Third-party control in demand side management was perceived to contravene householders’ rights of control inside their homes. Alternative approaches to shifting peak demand, which combine technological, economic and socio-psychological insights, are considered.

      Amy Isham, Birgitta Gatersleben, Tim Jackson (2020)Materialism and the Experience of Flow, In: Journal of Happiness Studies Springer

      The need to locate ways of living that can be both beneficial to personal well-being and ecologically sustainable is becoming increasingly important. Flow experiences show promise for the achievement of personal and ecological well-being. However, it is not yet understood how the materialistic values promoted by our consumer cultures may impact our ability to experience flow. A cross-sectional survey of 451 people demonstrated that materialistic values and an individual’s tendency to experience flow were negatively correlated (Study 1). Next we showed that experimentally priming a materialistic mind-set led to poorer quality flow experiences in a sample of students (Study 2) and British adults (Study 3). Our findings add to current understandings of the detrimental consequences of materialistic values and suggest that it is crucial to challenge the materialistic values present within our consumer societies if we are to provide opportunities for experiencing flow.

      J Anable, B Gatersleben (2005)All work and no play? The role of instrumental and affective factors in work and leisure journeys by different travel modes, In: Transportation Research Part a-Policy and Practice39(2-3)pp. 163-181

      This paper examines the relative importance that people attach to various instrumental and affective journey attributes when travelling either for work or for a leisure day trip and presents how journeys by various travel modes score on these attributes. Although not a comparative paper, data are presented for two studies which used some identical measurements: one on commuter journeys and one on leisure journeys. The results show that for work journeys, respondents tend to attach more importance to instrumental aspects, and especially to convenience than to affective factors. For leisure journeys, however, respondents appear to attach almost equal importance to instrumental and affective aspects, particularly flexibility, convenience, relaxation, a sense of freedom and 'no stress'. Each study also examines (i) how regular users' evaluate their own mode and (ii) how car users perceive the performance of alternative modes compared to their importance ratings. This 'gap' analysis reveals on which modes and for which attributes the greatest deficiencies in performance lie. The data for both the work and leisure studies shows that for car users, alternative transport modes are inferior on the salient attributes such as convenience and flexibility even though car users rate modes such as walking and cycling as performing well, if not, better, on less important attributes such as the environment, health and even excitement. Nevertheless, for those who cycle and walk regularly, satisfaction with their own travel mode as measured by the gap between importance and performance on salient attributes is better than for those who mostly use the car. Conclusions are made as to how greater attention to affective factors may improve our understanding of mode choice. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

      Niamh Murtagh, Birgitta Gatersleben, Laura Cowen, David Uzzell (2017)Does perception of automation undermine pro-environmental behaviour? Findings from three everyday settings, In: Journal of Environmental Psychology42pp. 139-148 Elsevier

      The global deployment of technology to aid mitigation of climate change has great potential but the realisation of much of this potential depends on behavioural response. A culturally pervasive reliance on and belief in technology raises the risk that dependence on technology will hamper human actions of mitigation. Theory suggests that ‘green’ behaviour may be undermined by automated technology but empirical investigation has been lacking. We examined the effect of automation on three everyday behaviours with environmental impact. Based on evidence from observational and experimental studies, we demonstrated that the prospect of automation can undermine even simple actions for sustainability. Further, we examined the process by which automated technology influences behaviour and found that automation may impair personal responsibility for action.

      Eleanor Ratcliffe, Birgitta Gatersleben, Paul T. Sowden (2013)Bird sounds and their contributions to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery, In: Journal of Environmental Psychology36pp. 221-228 Elsevier

      Natural environments, and particularly visual stimuli in nature, are usually perceived as restorative following stress and attention fatigue. Studies extending these findings to auditory natural stimuli have used soundscapes comprising multiple types of sound. Birdsong recurs as a type of sound used in such studies, but little is known about restorative perceptions of bird sounds on their own and how these may relate to existing theories of environmental restoration. Via semi-structured interviews with twenty adult participants, bird songs and calls were found to be the type of natural sound most commonly associated with perceived stress recovery and attention restoration. However, not all bird sounds were regarded as helpful for such processes. Three themes formed the basis of these perceived relationships: affective appraisals, cognitive appraisals, and relationships with nature. Sub-themes of the acoustic, aesthetic, and associative properties of bird sounds were also related to restorative perceptions. Future studies should quantitatively examine the potential of a variety of bird sounds to aid attention restoration and stress recovery, and how these might be predicted by acoustic, aesthetic, and associative properties, in order to better understand how and why sounds such as birdsong might provide restorative benefits. This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number ES/J500148/1]; the National Trust; and the Surrey Wildlife Trust.

      Patrick Elf, Birgitta Gatersleben, Ian Christie (2019)Facilitating Positive Spillover Effects: New Insights From a Mixed-Methods Approach Exploring Factors Enabling People to Live More Sustainable Lifestyles, In: Frontiers in Psychology92699 Frontiers Media

      Positive spillover occurs when changes in one behavior influence changes in subsequent behaviors. Evidence for such spillover and an understanding of when and how it may occur are still limited. This paper presents findings of a 1-year longitudinal behavior change project led by a commercial retailer in the United Kingdom and Ireland to examine behavior change and potential spillover of pro-environmental behavior, and how this may be associated with changes in environmental identity and perceptions of ease and affordability as well as perceptions of how participation in the project has helped support behavior change. We draw on both quantitative and qualitative data. Study 1 examines quantitative data from the experimental and a matched control group. Study 2 reports qualitative findings from a follow up interview study with participants of the experimental group. As expected, we found significant changes in reported pro-environmental behavior and identity in the experimental group as well as some indications of behavioral spillover. These changes were not significantly associated with changes in environmental identity. The interviews suggested that group dynamics played an important role in facilitating a sense of efficacy and promoting sustained behavior change and spillover. Moreover, the support by a trusted entity was deemed to be of crucial importance.

      MARK NEWMAN, BIRGITTA CAROLINA MARIA GATERSLEBEN, ELEANOR RATCLIFFE, KAYLEIGH WYLES (2021)The Use of Virtual Reality in Environment Experiences and the Importance of Realism, In: Journal of environmental psychology Elsevier

      Introduction. Virtual reality (VR) can be extremely useful in simulating nature when physical presence is not possible. Additionally, it allows for environments to be customised (e.g., weather, or topography) and facilitates the design of controlled experimental settings. However, VR can involve the use of expensive equipment and complex software to create highly realistic immersive experiences. But is it necessary for experiences to rival the latest Hollywood blockbuster? This paper explores whether such investment can be valuable in research on nature experiences. Studies. Two studies were conducted to examine how realism of environmental presentations impact affective responses and participant perceptions. Study One (n = 16) explored perceptions of the same lake presented to participants in the real world, in VR and as a video. Study Two (n = 120) compared participant’s affective responses to one of four possible virtual environments differing in level of realism (high or low) and type (natural or built). Results. Study One showed that experiences of VR presentations fell between real and video presentations. Study Two found that more realistic VR environments evoked more positive affective and serenity responses, as well as a greater sense of presence. In both studies, participants stressed the importance of naturalistic interaction, sensory immersion, and graphical realism in the experiences, which may help explain these effects. Conclusion. The level of realism that can be attained with VR does impact affective responses and perceptions. Investment in VR for future research can be highly beneficial.

      EMMA V WHITE, BIRGITTA CAROLINA MARIA GATERSLEBEN, KAYLEIGH WYLES, George Murrell, Sarah Elizabeth Golding, CAROLINE ELIZABETH SCARLES, SHI XU (2021)Gardens & Wellbeing During the First UK Covid-19 Lockdown

      Research shows that gardens are important for wellbeing. To examine garden use and wellbeing during the first Covid-19 lockdown, a sample of 850 UK respondents were asked to recall their experiences and use of their home gardens between March and May 2020. Key findings include: • Gardens were used frequently during the lockdown, with around 60% visiting their garden at least once a day. • Gardens were used more frequently than other natural environments during lockdown. • More frequent garden visits were associated with better wellbeing. • But more than 1 in 10 either had no access to a garden, or found it difficult to access one. • Ethnic minorities and those with a low household income were more likely to have no garden access or find access difficult. • Younger respondents were more likely to have difficult or no garden access than older respondents, with those under 47 years of age reporting the greatest difficulties. • The more nature in the garden, the greater the wellbeing of respondents. • Certain aspects of nature were particularly associated with improved wellbeing: natural sounds and smells, and animals, birds and insects. • Respondents did multiple activities in their gardens, with 43% gardening, 27% spending time resting, sitting and lying down, 21% reading, 14% watching and feeding nature, 13% listening to music, radio and podcasts, and 11% enjoying the weather.

      N.L Yeo, M.P White, I Alcock, R Garside, S.G Dean, A Smalley, B Gatersleben (2020)What is the best way of delivering virtual nature for improving mood?: An experimental comparison of high definition TV, 360º video, and computer generated virtual reality, In: Journal of environmental psychology72 Elsevier Ltd

      Exposure to ‘real’ nature can increase positive affect and decrease negative affect, but direct access is not always possible, e.g. for people in health/care settings who often experience chronic boredom. In these settings ‘virtual’ forms of nature may also have mood-related benefits (e.g. reducing boredom) but it has been difficult to separate effects of nature content from those of delivery mode. The present laboratory-based study explored whether exposure to three different delivery modes of virtual nature could reduce negative affect (including boredom) and/or increase positive affect. Adult volunteer participants (n = 96) took part in a boredom induction task (to simulate the emotional state of many people in health/care settings) before being randomly assigned to view/interact with a virtual underwater coral reef in one of three experimental conditions: (a) 2D video viewed on a high-definition TV screen; (b) 3600 video VR (360-VR) viewed via a head mounted display (HMD); or (c) interactive computer-generated VR (CG-VR), also viewed via a HMD and interacted with using a hand-held controller. Visual and auditory content was closely matched across conditions with help from the BBC’s Blue Planet II series team. Supporting predictions, virtual exposure to a coral reef reduced boredom and negative affect and increased positive affect and nature connectedness. Although reductions in boredom and negative affect were similar across all three conditions, CG-VR was associated with significantly greater improvements in positive affect than TV, which were mediated by greater experienced presence and increases in nature connectedness. Results improve our understanding of the importance of virtual nature delivery mode and will inform studies in real care settings. •Virtual marine exposures reduced boredom and improve mood.•Computer-generated Virtual Reality more beneficial than 360º video and standard TV.•Virtual Reality induced presence and increased nature connectedness.•Presence and nature connectedness mediated wellbeing benefits.•Findings could have important implications for people in isolated confined settings.

      AMY MADELEINE ISHAM, Judith Geusen, Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben (2022)The Influence of Framing Plant-Based Products in Terms of Their Health vs. Environmental Benefits: Interactions with Individual Wellbeing, In: International journal of environmental research and public health19(19)11948 MDPI

      Significant reductions in the consumption of meat and dairy products are required to limit environmental damage and meet climate targets. However, individuals choosing to adopt plant-based diets still form a minority. Whilst different types of message framings have been suggested to be a potential means of encouraging the uptake of plant-based diets, recent findings have often failed to document any differences in people’s willingness to reduce their consumption of animal products based on whether messages emphasize the health or environmental benefits of plant-based diets. This research examined whether individual wellbeing might interact with health versus environmental message frames to determine people’s liking and willingness to pay for plant-based products. Across two experiments with a university (Study 1) and a non-student, adult sample (Study 2), participants were exposed to different hypothetical labels for plant-based foods and asked to rate their liking and willingness to pay for each. In line with existing findings, results demonstrated a trend whereby showing health (versus environmental) information on food labels did not in itself influence participants perceptions of the food products. Higher levels of positive wellbeing were associated with greater liking and willingness to pay for the plant-based foods (B values ranging from 0.04 to 0.45). Further, there was an interaction effect whereby levels of negative affect were differentially linked to liking and willingness to pay across the health and environmental framing conditions (B values ranging from 0.03 to 0.38). In particular, negative affect appears to have a greater negative impact on the product liking and willingness to pay when environmental label framings are used. This effect was most pronounced for the product liking dependent variable (B = −0.29 in the environmental framing condition). This research therefore extends understandings of the more specific instances in which message framings can impact perceptions of plant-based foods. The implications of the findings for understanding how best to promote uptake of plant-based diets are discussed.

      Eleanor Ratcliffe, Birgitta Carolina Maria Gatersleben, Paul T. Sowden, Kalevi Korpela (2021)Understanding the Perceived Benefits of Nature for Creativity, In: The Journal of creative behavior56(2)pp. 215-231 Wiley

      Experience of nature is widely linked to well-being, including psychological restoration. Benefits to creativity have been explored in a limited number of studies which refer to theories of restorative environments as frameworks, but it is unclear which aspects of the environment and person-nature transactions are implicated in these processes. In this study, N = 20 members of the British public were interviewed regarding the relevance of natural environments for their personal and professional creative activities. Thematic analysis of interview transcripts revealed that cognitive, affective, and aesthetic appraisals were reported as directly relevant to creativity in nature, while environmental properties, sensory experiences, and the self were reported as informing these appraisals. Similarities to theories of restorative environments were observed in terms of the relevance of affect, cognition, and aesthetics. However, divergences also occurred, especially with regard to perceptions of arousal as beneficial for creativity, the importance of change in the environment, and the relevance of the self. Studies and theoretical modeling of relationships between nature and creativity should include these concepts, as well as those from theories of restorative environments.

      E White, D Uzzell, N Räthzel, B Gatersleben (2010)Using life histories in psychology: A methodological guide, In: RESOLVE Working Paper Series(01-10)pp. 1-18 University of Surrey

      Life histories is an extremely rich qualitative methodology which is based on a tradition of storytelling and oral history which dates back thousands of years. It involves the telling of memories and experiences from right across the lifespan, from childhood, through key life events such as marriage and parenthood, to the present day. Its ability to highlight various attitudes, values, and behaviours, as well as to chart their progress and change across the lifespan, makes it an extremely valuable tool for the social sciences. This paper examines some key principles and methodological assumptions of life histories, and suggests some ways in which these differ from those of the dominant discourse in psychology, in order to help social scientists to better understand and apply this methodology within their own research. The support of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is gratefully acknowledged. This work is part of the interdisciplinary research programme of RESOLVE - the ESRC Research Group on Lifestyles, Values and the Environment.

      The life histories methodology is a form of oral history which involves the recording of people’s memories and experiences across their lifespan. A life history interview typically examines the interviewee’s family background, memories and experiences of childhood, school, marriage, parenthood, and retirement (if older participants are recruited), as well as present day activities. In the past it has been used as an effective tool by historians to add personal narratives to the more traditional historical content of important events and dates in time (e.g. Portelli, 1991, 1997). But it is a tool which is also beginning to generate excitement within the social sciences, given the depth of data that it can generate. In particular, the historical context which it provides enables us to understand how and when certain behaviours and attitudes may have originated or changed, in addition to information about current practices and behaviours which more traditional psychological approaches provide. The present study was therefore conducted in order to evaluate the possibilities of using the life histories methodology to examine outdoor behaviours. Specifically, the Outdoors and Health Network identified the need to understand why people use greenspace regularly, in order to find ways in which to increase the use of those who seldom utilise these psychologically and physically beneficial areas (e.g. Maas, Verheeij, Groenewegen, de Vries, & Spreeuwenberg, 2006; Ulrich, 1984). Four women aged between 40-55 years were recruited, each of whom reported to regularly carry out one of the following outdoor activities: 1) Gardening / working on allotment; 2) Walking / hiking in areas of wild or spectacular landscapes; 3) Visiting outdoor sites / gardens; 4) Running or dog walking. A variety of activities were chosen in order to test the effectiveness of the methodology at examining different types of outdoor experiences and life histories. Additionally, a woman of the same age group, who reported to use greenspace infrequently, was selected. Participants then took part in a life history interview which lasted between 1-2 hours. The present paper presents results from the study and discusses experiences and applications of using this methodology. We would suggest that this methodology has potential to add to the existing body of knowledge which examines how people interact with their environment, as well as how these interactions may be formed and changed.

      Objectives: Theoretical linkage has been made between identity and transport-related behaviour but the extensive implications have yet to be explored empirically. The current research programme aims to provide evidence for the influence of identity on personal transportation, specifically how identity threats may affect the intention to resist or to engage with change to travel behaviour. As part of the larger research programme, this study focuses on resistance to change. Drawing on Identity Process Theory, it hypothesises that identity threat is related to resistance to change travel behaviour, over and above psychological reactance. Design: In order to evoke threat while complying with ethical guidelines, participants were asked to rate their intention to change their travel behaviour in response to 12 vignettes. Each vignette presented a short description of a travel-related situation. Half of the vignettes were designed to invoke identity threat and half were designed as neutral. Method: The study was administered nationally to 300 urban working parents. Baseline measures included intention to change travel behaviour, trait reactance, affect, salience and centrality of identities. Analyses tested for significant differences between neutral and threat-inducing vignettes and between threat-inducing vignettes that tap or do not tap reactance. In addition, intention to change was regressed onto identity salience, identity centrality and trait reactance. Results: Pilot data and initial results from the full study data are presented. Conclusions: Recommendations are suggested, based on Identity Process Theory, for reducing resistance to change travel behaviour.

      NICOLA ANDREIJ RIEG, BIRGITTA CAROLINA MARIA GATERSLEBEN, Christie Ian, THOMAS PARROTT Database for: Organizational Change Management for Sustainability in Higher Education Institutions: A Systematic Quantitative Literature Review University of Surrey

      The database is the foundation for the article “Organizational Change Management for Sustainability in Higher Education Institutions: A Systematic Quantitative Literature Review” published in Sustainability ( The article summarizes and synthesizes the academic literature on organizational change management approaches that aim to holistically embed sustainability in HEIs. The database contains all papers included in and categories for analysis, as well as definitions of codes, and a list of full-text papers assessed. The theoretical framework underpinning the database and the methods for creating it can be found in the article.

      B Gatersleben, D Uzzell (2004)Perceptions of car users and policy makers on the effectiveness and acceptability of car travel reduction measures: An attribution theory approach, In: T Rothengatter, RD Huguenin (eds.), Traffic and Transport Psychology: Theory and Applicationspp. 469-479 Elsevier
      B Gatersleben (2004)Psychological theories for environmental issues, In: Environmental Values13(4)pp. 547-550
      BCM Gatersleben, L Steg, C Vlek (2002)The measurement and determinants of environmentally significant consumer behaviour, In: Environment and Behavior34(4)pp. 335-362
      Steve Sorrell, Birgitta Gatersleben, Angela Druckman (2018)Energy sufficiency and rebound effects European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE)

      This concept paper discusses how energy sufficiency and the rebound effect interact. Rebound effects can constrain the energy savings from energy efficiency improvements. The paper examines the nature of these effects, and ask the question: can greater use of sufficiency policies and actions help to tackle negative rebounds, or will it create rebounds itself?

      B Shaw, A Coyle, B Gatersleben, S Ungar (2014)Exploring nature experiences of people with visual impairments, In: Psyecology: Bilingual Journal of Environmental Psychology5 Fundacion Infancia y Aprendizaje

      The positive psychological and physical health effects associated with exposure to natural environments are well recognised. However, previous research in this field has focused almost exclusively upon the visual aspects of the environment, largely ignoring the role of the other senses. This paper reassesses these findings by examining the role senses other than sight play in blind people’s experiences of natural environments. Six people with visual impairments were interviewed regarding their experience of natural environments; interview transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. The analysis revealed that if the participants felt safe, they reported experiencing restorative effects in the majority of natural environments. Three main themes that contribute to an understanding of the processes involved in psychological restoration emerged: restoration, challenges, sources of experiences. Environmental restoration was reported by participants as being mostly experienced through sound and to a lesser extent through touch and smell.

      BCM Gatersleben (2001)Sustainable household consumption and quality of life: The acceptability of sustainable consumption patterns and consumer policy strategies., In: International Journal of Environment and Pollution15(2)pp. 200-216
      Birgitta Gatersleben, Isabelle Griffin (2016)Environmental Stress, In: G Fleury-Bahi, E Pol, O Navarro (eds.), Handbook of Environmental Psychology and Quality of Life Research1pp. 469-485 Springer

      The physical environment affects people in many ways, how they feel, what they think and how they act. When the demands of the physical environment outweigh an individual’s ability to deal with those demands, stress occurs. Environmental stress refers to a negative subjective psychological response to an environmental stimulus. It is important to note that an environmental stimulus that is stressful for one person in a particular situation may not be stressful for another or for the same person in a different situation. As such, environmental stress is an interaction between an individual and an external stimulus. This chapter gives an overview of theories and research on environmental stress in environmental psychology. After providing a definition of environmental stress, the chapter discusses the conditions under which stress may occur and then goes on to describe in more detail different environmental stressors that have been examined in the literature. Environmental stress has been studied in many different indoor, outdoor and virtual settings, including work and residential environments. It has been studied in the laboratory as well as in the field and has been an important area of research for many decades, which continues to this day.

      N Murtagh, Birgitta Gatersleben, David Uzzell (2014)Identity Threat and Resistance to Change: Evidence and Implications from Transport-Related Behaviour, In: G Breakwell, R Jaspal (eds.), Identity Process Theory: Identity, Social Action and Social Changepp. 335-356 Cambridge University Press
      BCM Gatersleben (2007)Affective and symbolic aspects of car use: a review, In: T Garling, L Steg (eds.), Threats to the Quality of Urban Life from Car Traffic: Problems, Causes, and Solutionspp. 219-234
      NATASHA ZOE PARKER, Tim Kasser, BIRGITTA CAROLINA MARIA GATERSLEBEN, ANGELA DRUCKMAN (2021)Associations of pro-environmental behaviours with hedonic and eudemonic well-being among young, working adults from three European nations, In: European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology National Wellbeing Service

      Background A growing body of research demonstrates that well-being is positively correlated with ecologically sustainable behaviours, yet there is still much to understand about the nature of this association. There is a lack of clarity in the extant research as to whether pro-environmental behaviours have a stronger or more consistent relationship with pleasure-based, hedonic well-being or with virtue-based, eudemonic well-being. It is also unclear if a third variable, materialism, which has consistently been linked to lower wellbeing and engagement in fewer pro-environmental behaviours, might explain the co-occurrence of these variables. Method The current study addresses these questions in a survey of young working adults across three European nations: the UK, Italy, and Hungary. Results The results showed that pro-environmental behaviours were positively associated with wellbeing in all three countries, including two nations (Italy and Hungary) where this relationship had not previously been studied. Pro-environmental behaviours were positively associated with both hedonic and eudemonic well-being, with no difference in the strengths of the associations. Hedonic well-being was more consistently associated with pro-environmental behaviours than was eudemonic well-being across the three nations. We found that materialism did not explain the relationship between pro-environmental behaviours and wellbeing. We also demonstrated that a range of demographic factors did not diminish the size of the relationship between pro-environmental behaviours and wellbeing. Conclusions Our findings suggest that pro-environmental behaviours are not only compatible with wellbeing due to a virtuous sense of “doing good,” but they may be inherently pleasurable. We discuss the implications of this finding for two explanations of why well-being and pro-environmental behaviours are related.

      N Murtagh, Birgitta Gatersleben, David Uzzell (2018)Workplace Energy Use Feedback in Context, In: V Wells, D Gregory-Smith, D Manika (eds.), Research Handbook on Employee Pro-Environmental Behaviour: Part IV Employee environmental behaviour, feedback and technologypp. 349-368 Edward Elgar
      B Gatersleben (2008)Humans and nature; Ten useful findings from Environmental Psychology research, In: Counselling Psychology Review23(2)pp. 24-34 The British Psychological Society

      It is now generally accepted that human activities are damaging the natural environment we live in and the natural resources that we depend upon. In the long run this development can have severe consequences for the quality of human life; indirectly, by depleting the natural resources necessary to sustain our material welfare, but also directly by damaging the quality of the natural environment (air, water, nature) in which we live. The presence of sustainability and global climate change on the political agenda has led to an increase in academic research on the relationship between people and their natural environment. Environmental psychologists study the interaction between people and their physical (built or natural) environment. This paper presents ten findings of environmental psychology research on people and their natural environment. Nature in this paper refers to any non-human living environmental features including plants, trees, water features, but also animals. However, the majority of research in this area focuses on green nature: i.e., the presence of plants and trees in the environment. This paper shows that most people are drawn towards natural environments and that passive as well as active exposure to the natural world has beneficial effects on the health and well-being of individuals (for overviews see Maller, Townsend, Pryor, Brown and St Leger (2005), Kahn (1997), Ulrich (1993) and Frumkin (2001). The paper will also show that although there is a lot we know, there is also a lot we don’t know, particularly in relation to the psychological processes which underlie the interaction between people and the natural 2 environment. This is just one of the potential areas wherein environmental and counselling psychologists might collaborate.

      PE Canning, EE Hellawell, SJ Hughes, CJ Fairhead, BCM Gatersleben, CA Brebbia (2007)The implementation of the Traffic Management Act in England: the role of technology, In: URBAN TRANSPORT XIII96pp. 381-390
      Birgitta Gatersleben, E White, W Abrahamse, T Jackson, D Uzzell (2010)Values and sustainable lifestyles, In: S Roaf (eds.), Transforming Markets in the Built Environmentpp. 37-50 Earthscan / James & James

      With ever-increasing concerns about the consequences of climate change, households are an important focus for change. There is increasing pressure on households to change lifestyles and adopt behaviours that require less energy and natural resources. At the same time, retailers and producers of consumer goods aim to persuade people to consume more through commercial advertisements. Social science research examining sustainable behaviours often fails to examine the relative influence of both environmental concern and materialism simultaneously. Moreover, most of this research focuses on explaining or promoting behaviours with pro-environmental intent, thereby ignoring many consumer behaviours that may have a significant environmental impact. This article aims to address some of these shortcomings by examining the relationships between materialistic and environmental values and different consumer behaviours. Survey data from 194 individuals from 99 households were analysed. The findings show that quite a number of people express both relatively high levels of environmental concern and relatively high levels of materialism simultaneously. Moreover, materialism and environmental concern appear to be related to different types of behaviours. This raises important questions for the promotion of sustainable lifestyles, which may need to address not only environmental concerns but also materialistic concerns.

      I Griffin, BCM Gatersleben (2016)Environmental Stress, In: G Fleury-Bahi, E Pol, O Navarro (eds.), Handbook of Environmental Psychology and Quality of Life Research(25)pp. 469-485 Springer

      The physical environment affects people in many ways, how they feel, what they think and how they act. When the demands of the physical environment outweigh an individual’s ability to deal with those demands, stress occurs. Environmental stress refers to a negative subjective psychological response to an environmental stimulus. It is important to note that an environmental stimulus that is stressful for one person in a particular situation may not be stressful for another or for the same person in a different situation. As such, environmental stress is an interaction between an individual and an external stimulus. This chapter gives an overview of theories and research on environmental stress in environmental psychology. After providing a definition of environmental stress, the chapter discusses the conditions under which stress may occur and then goes on to describe in more detail different environmental stressors that have been examined in the literature. Environmental stress has been studied in many different indoor, outdoor and virtual settings, including work and residential environments. It has been studied in laboratory studies as well as in the field and has been an important area of research for many decades which continues to this day.

      Natasha Parker, Tim Kasser, Anat Bardi, Angela Druckman, Birgitta Gatersleben (2020)Goals for Good: Testing an Intervention to Reduce Materialism in Three European Countries., In: Europen Journal of Applied Positive Psychology National Wellbeing Service

      Background Materialism is associated with a broad range of negative outcomes for individuals, societies, and the planet. We therefore experimentally tested whether a three-session intervention could cause sustained reductions in materialism. Methods Employed young adults (aged 18-30) in three European countries (UK, Italy, Hungary) were either encouraged to set intrinsic goals and reflect on self-transcendence values or were assigned to an active control group. We measured materialistic value and goal orientations, and we followed up two months after the completion of the intervention. Results Participants in the experimental group significantly decreased in their materialistic goal orientation by the end of the intervention and 2 months later, but showed no significant changes in their materialistic value orientation. Among the active control group, no changes in materialistic goal or value orientations were noted. Findings were independent of the cultures studied, of commitment to, self-concordance with, and progress made on chosen goals, and of engagement in the intervention. Conclusion This study demonstrated that encouraging and activating self-transcendence values and intrinsic goals is an effective strategy to reduce a materialistic goal orientation. This result was robust across a range of potential moderating factors, which suggests this intervention may be widely useful to reduce a materialistic goal orientations. We discuss why the intervention may have reduced materialistic goal orientations but not materialistic value orientations.