Dr Chris Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Social and Environmental Psychology, with particular interests in attitudes and behaviours towards energy and environment.
He gained his first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the University of Birmingham (1999-2002) before moving to the University of Sheffield to complete a Master’s degree in Psychological Research (2002-2003) and a PhD in Social Psychology (2003-2007). His PhD, completed under the supervision of Prof. J. Richard Eiser, focused on understanding more about the nature and process of attitude formation in novel environments.
Upon completing his PhD, Chris completed a 4-year post-doctoral position on the ‘Understanding Risk: Climate change and energy choices’ project (2007-2010). It was this multi-centre (Cardiff, Sheffield & UEA), multi-disciplinary project that first stimulated Chris’s research interests in public attitudes towards environmental change.
Following his appointment as Lecturer in Social and Environmental Psychology at the University of Sheffield (2011), Chris continued to develop these interests and developed two key strands of research: (1) Assessing attitudes and behaviour towards energy supply and demand side technology options; and (2) Assessing the factors that facilitate and inhibit the promotion of more sustainable lifestyles. The applied relevance of these topics has led Chris to develop a number of fruitful collaborations with academics in other disciplines, as well as a number of non-academic stakeholder groups (e.g. business and industry).
Chris joined the University of Surrey in the summer of 2017.
Alongside his research and teaching roles, Chris is the Impact Lead and the Employability Lead for the School of Psychology.
Areas of specialism
University roles and responsibilities
- Impact Lead for School of Psychology
- Employability Lead for School of Psychology
Affiliations and memberships
My research focuses on public attitudes and responses to environmental change. The interdisciplinary and applied nature of my research has led to collaborations with a number of disciplines, including chemical engineering, town and regional planning, geography, landscape, computer science, management, journalism studies and sustainable fashion. I also have a number of historical and on-going collaborations with business and industry.
My research tends to cluster under two broad themes:
- Public Acceptance of Energy TechnologiesAssessing attitudes and behaviour towards established and emerging supply and demand side technology options (e.g. nuclear power, wind power, carbon dioxide storage and utilisation, smart metering). This includes understanding the implications for planning policy, public engagement and communication, etc.
- Sustainability and Pro-environmental BehaviourAssessing the factors that facilitate and inhibit action on environmental issues and the promotion of more sustainable lifestyles (e.g. compensatory beliefs and moral licensing). This includes studying the interface between business/industry operations and the public.
Indicators of esteem
Research grants (select)
2016 - 2021: JUNO: A network for Japan - UK nuclear opportunities. EPSRC (£547K). N. Hyatt (PI, Sheffield).
2014 - 2015: TRading Approaches to Nurturing Sustainable consumption in Fashion & Energy Retail (TRANSFER). ESRC Knowledge Exchange in the Retail Sector Initiative (£326,000 equivalent). C. R. Jones (PI, Sheffield)
2011 - 2012: Attitudes to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the US and Canada. Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) ($120,000). C. R. Jones (PI, Sheffield)
2011 - 2013: Energy Innovation for Deprived Communities (EIDC) AKA BIG Energy Upgrade. European Regional Development Fund (£1.5M equivalent - Psychology £108,000). S. C. L. Koh (PI, Sheffield)
I teach on the BSc (Hons) Psychology course.
I contribute to the PSY3109: Social Understanding of Science and Technology (SUST) module.
I teach on the following courses:
I contribute to the following modules:
- PSYM013: Social Change and Influence
- PSYM117: Social Understanding of Science and Technology (SUST).
Jones, C. R., Olfe-Kraeutlein, B., Naims, H., & Armstrong, K. (2017). The social acceptance of carbon dioxide utilisation: A review and research agenda. Frontiers in Energy Research, 5, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fenrg.2017.00011
Hope, A. L., Jones, C. R., Webb, T. L., Watson, M. T., & Kaklamanou, D. (2017). The Role of Compensatory Beliefs in Rationalizing Environmentally Detrimental Behaviors. Environment and Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916517706730
Jones, C. R., Kaklamanou, D., & Lazuras, L. (2017). Public perceptions of energy security in Greece and Turkey: Exploring the relevance of pro-environmental and pro-cultural orientations. Energy Research and Social Science, 28, 17-28. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.04.002
Perdan, S., Jones, C. R., & Azapagic, A. (2017). Public awareness and acceptance of carbon capture and utilisation in the UK. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 10, 74-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spc.2017.01.001
Jones, C. R., & Jones, A. R. (2016). Two Blind Mice: It Is Time for Greater Collaboration between Engineers and Social Scientists around the RDD & D of Industrial Technologies. C, 2(2), 16. DOI:10.3390/c2020016
Jones, C. R., Kaklamanou, D., Stuttard, W., Radford, R., & Burley, J. (2015). FDCDU15-Investigating public perceptions of Carbon Dioxide Utilisation (CDU) technology: a mixed methods study. Faraday Discussions. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C5FD00063G
Jones, C.R., Elgueta, H., & Eiser, J. R. (2015). Reconciling nuclear risk: the impact of the Fukushima accident on comparative preferences for nuclear power in UK electricity generation. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12359
Kaklamanou, D., Jones, C. R., Webb, T. L., & Walker, S. R. (2015). Using Public Transport Can Make Up for Flying Abroad on Holiday Compensatory Green Beliefs and Environmentally Significant Behavior. Environment and Behavior, 47(2), 184-204.
Jones, C. R., Lange, E., Kang, J., Tsuchiya, A., Howell, R. et al. (2014). WindNet: Improving the impact assessment of wind power projects. AIMS Energy, 2(4), 461-484.
Jones, C. R., & Eiser, J. R. (2014). Attitude Formation Through Exploration The “Treasure Island” Paradigm and the Significance of Risk Predictability. SAGE Open, 4(3), 2158244014551927.
Jones, C. R., Radford, R. L., Armstrong, K., & Styring, P. (2014). What a waste! Assessing public perceptions of Carbon Dioxide Utilisation technology. Journal of CO2 Utilization, 7, 51-54.
Hope, A. L. B, & Jones, C. R. (2014). The impact of religious faith on attitudes to environmental issues and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies: A mixed methods study. Technology in Society, 38, 48-59.
Maidment, C. D., Jones, C. R., Webb, T. L., Hathway, E. A., & Gilbertson, J. M. (2014). The impact of household energy efficiency measures on health: A meta-analysis. Energy Policy, 65, 583-593.
Scott, F. L., Jones, C. R., & Webb, T. L. (2014). What do people living in deprived communities in the UK think about household energy efficiency interventions? Energy Policy, 66, 335-349.
Whittle, C., & Jones, C. R. (2013) User perceptions of energy consumption in university buildings: A University of Sheffield case study. Journal of Sustainability Education, 5. ISSN: 2151-7452.
Kaklamanou, D., Armitage, C., & Jones, C. R. (2013). A further look into compensatory health beliefs: A think aloud study. British Journal of Health Psychology, 18, 139-154.
2011 - 2012
Jones, C. R., Eiser, J. R., & Gamble, T. (2012) Assessing the impact of framing on the comparative favourability of nuclear power as an electricity generating option. Energy Policy, 40, 451-465.
Jones, C. R., Orr, B. J., & Eiser, J. R. (2011) Identifying predictors of capacity-estimates for onshore wind-power development in a region of the UK: When is enough, enough? Energy Policy, 39, 4563-4577
2009 - 2010
Eiser J. R., Aluchna, K., Jones, C. R. (2010). Local wind or Russian gas? Contextual influences on Polish attitudes to wind energy developments. Environment & Planning C: Government & Policy, 28, 595-608
Jones, C. R., Rennie, L., & Woolley, L. (2010). Local opposition to wind development: Dissecting the democratic deficit. Social Psychological Review, 12, 28-35.
Jones, C. R., & Eiser, J. R. (2010). Understanding 'local' opposition to wind development in the UK: How big is a backyard? Energy Policy, 38, 3106-3117.
Jones, C. R., & Eiser, J. R. (2009). Identifying predictors of attitudes towards local onshore wind development with reference to an English case study. Energy Policy, 37, 4604-4614.
Jones, C. R. (2014). Understanding and assessing public perceptions of Carbon Dioxide Utilization (CDU) technologies. In P. Styring, A. Quadrelli, K. Armstrong (Eds.) Carbon Dioxide Utilization: Closing the carbon cycle (1st edition), Elsevier.
With growing drives towards greater sustainability within the retail sector and growing requirement to conform to existing and emerging legislation, companies from ostensibly disparate sectors face the common challenge of encouraging the reduced consumption of saleable products, while simultaneously maintaining financial prosperity. Initially focused on knowledge exchange between the energy and water utilities and fashion retailers, TRANSFER (Trading Approaches to Nurturing Sustainable consumption in Fashion and Energy Retail) is now working together with a diverse group of large and SME (small- and medium-sized enterprises) retailers from a number of sectors, with the aim of successfully addressing this paradox. Combining the experiences of our commercial partners with academic expertise from a team of psychologists, fashion and management experts from the University of Sheffield and University of the Arts, London, TRANSFER is also investigating how efforts to promote sustainable consumption within retail are received and responded to by consumers. In fulfilling the project aims we hope to foster a more complete understanding of how retail sector initiatives can be successfully designed and implemented in order to have a positive impact on both retailers and their customers. This article provides a summary of the TRANSFER ‘Making it Real’ installation, held at Trinity Leeds shopping centre, (February 2015). This innovative, interactive exhibition was conceived of and developed upon the basis of discussions held with TRANSFER partners at a commercial partner workshop held in April 2014. TRANSFER is a knowledge exchange project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Retail Sector Initiative 2013 (ES/L005204/1).
Indonesian forest and peat fires have become global concern. Not only the fires have caused regional environmental and humanitarian crises, they also have exacerbated global climate change. Radical and rapid land use change couple with irresponsible practice of clearing land through burning are key contributing factors. In response, the Indonesian government issued a strict ban on the practice. While this policy outcome continues to shortfall, it implicates traditional farmers whose subsistence depends on such a practice. This reality necessitates effort to develop a more nuanced and targeted intervention. Thus, this study examines individual's intention to clear land using fire. We surveyed 151 Indonesian traditional farmers based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), the Norm Activation Model (NAM) and past behavior. We identified the TPB, which is augmented by the past behavior and awareness of consequences, as the optimal model for explaining variance in the intention. Implications for developing more effective educational campaigns are discussed.
Environmentally and ethically conscious food purchasing has traction with British consumers. We examined how broad environmental worldviews related to shoppers’ ratings of the importance of various shopping criteria, including recognition of eco-labels, by surveying 502 shoppers from the city of Sheffield, England. Environmental worldviews were measured using the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale. Responses to the scale split into two dimensions reflecting the scale’s origins: the Dominant Social Paradigm (DSP) and NEP subscales. Subscription to the NEP (ecocentric values) was associated with greater importance ratings of nutrition & health, animal welfare, the environment, Fairtrade, seasonal, local and organic criteria. Subscription to the DSP (anthropocentric values) was associated with greater importance ratings of quality, taste, safety, price and convenience criteria. Notably, subscription to DSP values was the only predictor of eco-label recognition score in a multivariate model. These results indicate that the NEP scale should be considered as two subscales. The results suggest that campaigns to increase consumers’ environmental awareness in order to encourage environmentally driven food shopping are likely to motivate only consumers disenchanted with technological and anthropocentric development.
power generators into national electricity networks. Public perceptions of emerging technologies are known to affect the likelihood of their commercial success; however, there is a paucity of research into the nature and antecedents of lay-public perceptions of grid-scale ESTs. We report on the findings of an online survey distributed to a diverse sample of the UK (N=1,044) designed to address this gap. The focus was on four grid-scale options (i.e. pumped hydro storage, compressed air energy storage, flywheels and lithium-ion batteries). Broadly, respondents were favourable to all technologies, although there was a preference for pumped hydro storage. Regression analysis revealed that intentions to support ESTs were positively predicted by attitudes, positive affect, perceived benefits, trust in developers, self-claimed awareness of ESTs and a belief that financial expenditure on the technology is warranted. Pro-ecological values were a negative predictor. Possible explanations for and implications of the findings are discussed
Trials of technologies designed to promote residential demand-side energy management (DSM) have found aggregate levels of load-shifting behaviour and curtailment in energy use. These aggregate data, however, mask considerable differences in people's engagement in DSM at an individual household level. We present the findings of a quantitative exploration of people's intentions to use a home energy management system (HEMS) for residential DSM in the United Kingdom. The technology acceptance model (TAM) was used in conjunction with constructs measuring psychological empowerment and environmental attitudes to explore participants' acceptance of a HEMS to facilitate load-shifting. Findings from a mediation analysis showed perceptions of the usefulness of the HEMS and its ease of use were important predictors of people's intentions to use one. They also highlight a potential conflict between an individual's home energy consumption goals and national DSM goals. The implications of these findings for understanding end-user acceptance of HEMS are discussed. We conclude that seeking opportunities to promote shared, internalised goals for residential DSM may be an avenue for increasing the uptake and use of technologies designed to enable load-shifting (and other energy conservation behaviours) among end-users.
Carbon Dioxide Utilisation (CDU) technologies convert Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into carbon-based products. CDU technologies are viewed as a means of helping to address climate change while creating commodities that can be sold to generate financial revenue. While technical research and development into CDU options is accelerating, at present there has been little research into public acceptance of the technology. The current study presents the findings of a series of 28 exploratory interviews conducted with lay people in the United Kingdom and Germany. The results show that awareness of CDU is currently very low in both countries but that there is tentative support for the concept. This support is, however, caveated by considerations of the techno-economic feasibility of the technology and the societal consequences that might result from investment. While the thematic content of discussions was similar in both countries, where appropriate any notable differences are outlined and discussed. In addition to providing fresh insight into the emerging nature of public perceptions and acceptance of CDU, it is reasoned that the findings of this research could help to benefit the design of communication materials intended to engage lay-publics in debate about the nature and purpose of CDU technologies.
Scholars differ in the extent to which they regard the “yuck factor” as an important predictor of sustainable consumption decisions. In the present decision experiment we tested whether people’s disgust traits predicted relative willingness-to-pay (WTP) for sustainable product alternatives, including atypically-shaped fruit and vegetables; insect-based food products; and medicines/drinks with reclaimed ingredients from sewage. In a community sample of 510 participants (255 women), using path analyses we examined the extent to which effects of disgust traits on WTP were mediated by cognitive appraisals of perceived taste, health risk, naturalness, visual appeal, and nutritional/medicinal value. Further, we assessed whether these effects were moderated by the tendency to regulate disgust using reappraisal and suppression techniques. Across all product categories, when controlling for important covariates such as pro-environmental attitudes, we found a significant negative effect of trait disgust propensity on WTP. In total, a 1 SD increase in participants’ disgust propensity scores predicted between 6% and 11% decrease in WTP. Appraisals of perceived naturalness, taste, health risk, and visual appeal significantly mediated these effects, differing in importance across the product categories, and explaining approximately half of the total effect of disgust propensity on WTP. Little-to-no support was found for moderation of effects by trait reappraisal or suppression. Individual differences in disgust are likely to be a barrier for certain viable sustainable alternatives to prototypical products. Marketing interventions targeting consumer appraisals, including in particular the perceived naturalness and taste, of these kinds of products may be effective.
Spillover occurs when one environmentally sustainable behavior leads to another, often initiated by a behavior change intervention. A number of studies have investigated positive and negative spillover effects, but empirical evidence is mixed, showing evidence for both positive and negative spillover effects, and lack of spillover altogether. Environmental identity has been identified as an influential factor for spillover effects. Building on identity process theory the current framework proposes that positive, negative, and a lack of spillover are determined by perceived threat of initial behavior and identity process mechanisms evaluating the behavior. It is proposed, that an environmental behavior change intervention may threaten one's existing identities, leading to either (a) integration, (b) compartmentalization, or (c) conflict between one's environmental identity and non-environmental identities. Initial evidence for the proposed framework is based on a field intervention which included a meat reduction programme in a canteen of a medium size private sector company. Semi-structured interviews and an explorative visualization method that aimed at assessing identity change were implemented with thirteen employees (i.e., intervention participants) before and after the intervention. The qualitative data was analyzed by using thematic analysis via NVivo12. Results of the visualization task and interview method provided initial evidence of direct and indirect positive contextual spillover effects, with comparatively less evidence a lack of spillover and a relative absence of reported negative spillover. This paper provides a novel theoretical approach, centered on identity process theory to enhance understanding of positive spillover, negative spillover, and the lack of spillover.
The public acceptability of emerging industrial technologies can affect their chances of commercial success. In large, demographically diverse samples from the United Kingdom (N = 438) and Germany (N = 390), we show for the first time the stigmatizing impact that the proposed use of depleted uranium (DU) as a tritium fuel storage option for nuclear fusion has upon public attitudes towards nuclear fusion. Participants’ attitudes towards nuclear fusion in both cohorts were assessed at four time points within an online questionnaire-based survey: pre-information about nuclear fusion (Time 1); post-information about fusion (Time 2); pre-information about DU (Time 3); and post-information about DU (Time 4). Attitudes towards nuclear fusion were generally more positive in the UK; however, both the UK and German cohorts showed a similar ‘flip-flop’ pattern in opinions over time. Specifically, an initial improvement in attitudes (Time 1 – Time 2), which was taken as evidence of the value of delineating nuclear fusion from nuclear fission, was followed by a significant downturn (Time 2 – Time 3) upon the announcement that DU would be involved in fuel-storage. This downturn in attitudes was tied to participants’ initial negative cognitive and affective evaluations of DU. The stigmatizing impact was found to partially reverse (Time 3 – Time 4) following the provision of information about the nature and purpose of DU within fusion. The study findings have clear implications for public engagement and communication efforts relating to current and future nuclear fusion demonstration projects.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) involves trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) from power generation and heavy industrial processes and directing it into long-term geological storage (e.g., in depleted oil fields or saline aquifers). In doing so, CCS could facilitate global carbon abatement efforts. Yet, it remains controversial with high-profile public opposition to particular CCS developments. For instrumental, normative and substantive reasons, it is increasingly recognised that public acceptance of CCS as a vital precondition for its commercial-scale rollout. While much is known about factors influencing public support for CCS, relatively few cross-national studies have so far been undertaken. Here, we present findings from a large-scale international experimental study of public perceptions of CCS, to examine how individual, geographical and informational factors influence support for CCS. In particular, we compare the lens through which CCS is seen – as a ‘techno-fix’ climate change solution, as reusing a waste product (through Carbon Dioxide Utilisation [CDU]), or as part of a systemic approach to climate change mitigation. Pairing CCS with CDU led to higher support for CCS, although information frames interacted with national and individual-level factors. Depending on which CCS lens is chosen, different groups will be more or less likely to support CCS implementation. As with other issues, targeting CCS information to audience values is likely to be more effective than untargeted communication. Our findings also show mentioning (modest) costs of deploying CCS can lead to lower support. Discussing CCS costs should be done in the context of costs of broader energy system transformation and of not mitigating climate change so that the public can deliberate over the relative risks and benefits of CCS and alternatives in the context of broader sustainability pathways.