Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change

Applying social influence insights to encourage climate resilient domestic water behavior: Bridging the theory‐practice gap

Journal Article

Water scarcity is one of the most pressing issues of our time and it is projected to increase as global demand surges and climate change limits fresh water availability. If we are to reduce water demand, it is essential that we draw on every tool in the box, including one that is underestimated and underutilized: social influence. Research from the psychological sciences demonstrates that behavior is strongly influenced by the behavior of others, and that social influence can be harnessed to develop cost‐effective strategies to encourage climate resilient behavior. Far less attention has been paid to investigate water‐related interventions in comparison to interventions surrounding energy. In this paper, we consider the application of three social influence strategies to encourage water conservation: social norms; social identity; and socially comparative feedback. We not only review their empirical evidence base, but also offer an example of their application in the residential sector with the aim of highlighting how theoretical insights can be translated into practice. We argue that collaborations between researchers and industry are essential if we are to maximize the potential of behavior change interventions to encourage climate resilient water behavior. This article is categorized under: Perceptions, Behavior, and Communication of Climate Change > Behavior Change and Responses

Related Topics

Related Publications

Related Content

Site Footer


This website is provided by John Wiley & Sons Limited, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ (Company No: 00641132, VAT No: 376766987)

Published features on StatisticsViews.com are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and StatisticsViews.com express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.