Extroverts are principally concerned with their fellow human beings and all matters outside of the “self”. But new research published in Futures suggests older extroverts may be “too busy” with social matters to adopt an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
The study was conducted by the University of Portsmouth Business School, and surveyed 204 older consumers in the UK. The study’s methodology included asking adults over 50 about their predilection toward “green” behavior, which includes simple energy conservation like turning the television off when not present, and more active measures like buying recycled products or taking their own bags to the grocery store. They found that although older extroverts may be “reasonably green”, the extroversion personality trait is negatively related with environmentally friendly behavior. The openness trait, described as an appreciation for new or unusual ideas and experiences, was the most positively related to green behavior.
Sianne Gordon-Wilson, Senior Lecturer at Portsmouth Business School, conducted the study along with Pratik Modi, Assistant Professor at India’s Institute of Rural Management Anand. Gordon-Wilson expressed surprise over their findings, stating:
“It isn’t surprising that people who we describe as open – those who are curious, imaginative and untraditional – are more likely to be green. But we were surprised that extroverts are less likely to be green. We had expected that of all the five main personality types, open and extrovert people would be the most green.”
The study coincides with the UK government’s announcement that they plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. Interest in environmental concerns has grown over the past two decades, as broad scientific consensus warns of climate change caused by human activity. ‘Going green’ has become trendy in the business world, with companies like Apple promoting goods and services aimed at living a more eco-conscious lifestyle.
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