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In Frontiers in human neuroscience ; h5-index 79.0

Most consumers are aware that climate change is a growing problem and admit that action is needed. However, research shows that consumers' behavior often does not conform to their value and orientations. This value-behavior gap is due to contextual factors such as price, product design, and social norms as well as individual factors such as personal and hedonic values, environmental beliefs, and the workload capacity an individual can handle. Because of this conflict of interest, consumers have a hard time identifying the true drivers of their behavior, as they are either unaware of or unwilling to acknowledge the processes at play. Therefore, consumer neuroscience methods might provide a valuable tool to uncover the implicit measurements of pro-environmental behavior (PEB). Several studies have already defined neurophysiological differences between green and non-green individuals; however, a behavior change intervention must be developed to motivate PEB among consumers. Motivating behavior with reward or punishment will most likely get users engaged in climate change action via brain structures related to the reward system, such as the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and (pre)frontal cortex, where the reward information and subsequent affective responses are encoded. The intensity of the reward experience can be increased when the consumer is consciously considering the action to achieve it. This makes goal-directed behavior the potential aim of behavior change interventions. This article provides an extensive review of the neuroscientific evidence for consumer attitude, behavior, and decision-making processes in the light of sustainability incentives for behavior change interventions. Based on this review, we aim to unite the current theories and provide future research directions to exploit the power of affective conditioning and neuroscience methods for promoting PEB engagement.

Leeuwis Nikki, van Bommel Tom, Alimardani Maryam


cognitive dissonance, conditioning, consumer neuroscience, decision-making, intention-behavior gap, neuromarketing, pro-environmental behavior (PEB), sustainability