Professor Geoff Beattie, from The University of Manchester, says mismatches between gestures and speech will allow us to identify ‘green fakers’, regardless of what they actually say.
His research for the Sustainable Consumption Institute used video recordings to examine the gestures and speech of people with differing views on the environment while they talked about carbon labeling, global warming and their lifestyles. By examining their gestures, each speaker showed a connection between what they were saying and what they actually believed, Beattie says.
In his book, Beattie doesn't hide his advocacy agenda, though it might damage his science claims, and urges leaders to pursue, understand and change the implicit attitudes which make us 'buy green'. He is clearly using pop culture appeal and his connections as psychologist on the "Big Brother" television show to get access to their inner workings.
For the book, he examined video footage of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Big Brother housemates Adele Roberts and Les Dennis to spot the difference between what they said and what they actually believed. “This material shows for the first time a behaviour clash between what people espouse openly and explicitly on green attitudes and what they hold unconsciously and implicitly.
“Explicitly, people may want to save the planet and appear green, but implicitly they may care a good deal less. Given it is these implicit attitudes that direct and control much of our behaviour in supermarkets and elsewhere, these are the attitudes that we have to pursue and understand and change. While speech can be consciously edited and controlled, gestures are difficult, if not impossible, to edit or control in real time, and so the true thoughts and feelings of the speaker may become manifest in the gesture.
”This research shows there are ‘green fakers’ out there, who say one thing but believe another. We need to work on the hearts and minds of such individuals to produce attitude change.”
"Why Aren’t We Saving The Planet? A Psychologist’s Perspective" is published by Routledge this week.
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