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Exploring rebound effects from a psychological perspective

: Peters, Anja; Dütschke, Elisabeth


Santarius, Tilman (Ed.):
Rethinking Climate and Energy Policies : New Perspectives on the Rebound Phenomenon
Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016
ISBN: 978-3-319-38805-2 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-319-38807-6 (Online)
Aufsatz in Buch
Fraunhofer ISI ()
consumer behaviour; theory of planned behaviour; norm activation model; Focus groups

The analysis of energy efficiency rebound effects from a psychological perspective has just begun, and empirical studies analysing psychological factors in relation to the rebound effect are still scarce. In this chapter, we first identify possible psychological drivers to explain rebound effects based on psychological action theories. The outlined psychological framework suggests that energy efficiency improvements have different effects on behaviour depending on the interaction of psychological factors such as attitudes, personal and social norms and response efficacy. In a second step,we present results from an empirical study using focus group discussions to explore rebound effects and psychological drivers in the transport and residential sectors. The results are in line with the outlined psychological framework and indicate that need satiation, habits and mistaken beliefs about the optimal usage of a technology also seem to play a role. Finally, research questions are outlined to help further develop and test hypotheses on the psychological factors influencing rebound effects.