What's your eco-attitude?

Sep 29, 2010

Academics at the University of Derby are using the virtual reality platform Second Life to gauge people's unconscious attitudes towards 'green' issues such as recycling.

Derby academics Simon Bignell (Psychology) and Rosemary Horry (Environmental Management) have created an 'Eco House' setting in Second Life where volunteers will be asked to take part in exercises which challenge their attitudes and beliefs towards environmental issues.

The pair have secured funding from the Higher Education Academy to run the Education for Sustainable Development project which will offer online tutorials and problem-based tasks for students to complete this academic year.

Using 3D virtual avatars and buildings, the project will help to highlight the motivational and behavioural factors that affect sustainability in areas such as recycling and .

Study participants' avatars will enter the Eco House in groups, where the avatars will complete the tasks. The house features , allotments, refuse and recycling areas and energy meters in each room.

Tasks include:

• Finding out which avatar has used the most water in the household and why
• Deciding if using the microwave is more energy efficient than the oven
• Trying to determine why one particular avatar is not recycling materials.

Simon said: "Second Life is an excellent platform for psychologists in particular, to assess people's attitudes and beliefs to different issues.

"Some people for example, say they recycle material but actually they don't, and we hope this technology can help discover what the barriers to change are."

The team will analyse the findings next year to see if there are any patterns in the research data for wider publication.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The Derby Telegraph has launched a 10:10 carbon reduction campaign to help encourage people in the city to reduce their .

As part of the campaign reporter Ed Hill was assigned his own avatar and tried out the Eco House in Second Life with Mr Bignell's own avatar Milton Broome. Simon previously developed a family house in featuring 'intelligent avatars' which replicated the social interactions and symptoms of people with psychological conditions. He has also worked on projects to see how people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome use virtual worlds to overcome communication difficulties.

Explore further: Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

More information: For more details about the project visit: www.previewpsych.org . Read more about the 10:10 campaign in the Derby Telegraph at: www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/featuresandsupplements.html

Provided by University of Derby

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New research: What does your avatar say about you?

Jul 26, 2010

Old or young, beautiful or sinister - the choices are endless when designing an avatar or a virtual alter ego. In the end, do people choose one that is really different from themselves? Usually not, according to new Concordia ...

Research shows avatars can negatively affect users

Nov 10, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Although often seen as an inconsequential feature of digital technologies, one's self-representation, or avatar, in a virtual environment can affect the user's thoughts, according to research by a University ...

Imagine Peace Tower lights in Second Life

Oct 11, 2009

Just hours after Friday's annual lighting of the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland, a virtual version of the tribute to late Beatle John Lennon opened in online world Second Life.

Recommended for you

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

4 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

7 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

19 hours ago

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ArtflDgr
not rated yet Sep 29, 2010
What's your eco-attitude? = How well is propaganda saturating

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Is Parkinson's an autoimmune disease?

The cause of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease is still unknown, but a new study proposes that neurons may be mistaken for foreign invaders and killed by the person's own immune system, similar to the ...