Recent paper on the brain and everyday pro-environmental behaviour

Baumgartner, T.*, Langenbach, B.P.*, Gianotti, L.R.R., Müri, R.M. & Knoch, D. (*shared first co-authorship).

Humankind faces a plethora of environmental problems, many of which are directly influenced by individual human behaviour. To better understand pro-environmental behaviour, we here try to identify interindividual markers that explain variance in the frequency of everyday pro-environmental behaviour. So far, research on this topic has mainly relied on subjective self-report measures and has yielded mixed results. In this study, we applied a neural trait approach to assess stable, objective individual differences. Using source-localised electroencephalography, we measured cortical activation at rest and combined our neural task-independent data with an ecologically valid assessment of everyday pro-environmental behaviour. We find whole-brain-corrected evidence that task-independent baseline activation in the right lateral prefrontal cortex, a brain area known to be involved in cognitive control and self-control processes, explains individual differences in pro-environmental behaviour. The higher the cortical baseline activation in this area, the higher the frequency of everyday proenvironmental behaviour. Implications for the promotion of pro-environmental behaviour are discussed.

Link to article.