Does a gain or loss framing influence the motivations to save energy in the workplace? gain or loss framing influence the motivations to save energy in the workplace?


Closing date
Applications must be made by the 23rd of May 2014.


Proposed start date
This internship is available for the successful candidate to start late June to early July 2014. Please indicate your availability on the application form, where requested.
Reducing energy use is a key way in which we can help to reduce carbon emissions in the UK. In addition to domestic use, shared spaces in workplaces consume a huge amount of energy.
Saving energy at work can be described as an altruistic behaviour as most often the employee does not save any costs. We propose however that benevolent motivations exist for this behaviour, where both the individual and the others (e.g., the organisation, the planet) benefit. Results from our previous work reveal that benevolent motivations (e.g., feeling good about oneself) and altruism (towards the organisation and the planet) predict behavioural intentions and reactions to campaign messages to save energy at work.
We propose to extend this work by examining how people respond to campaigns and information about energy saving in the workplace that vary in terms of the motivations they target, and their framing (gain vs loss). In particular we know that people respond differently to communications framed in terms of gains (e.g. by saving energy you may help to promote the company image) or in terms of losses (e.g. if you don’t save energy, the company’s image may be damaged).
This will be done through an experimental study on the web. Design will both draw on and feed into simultaneous HCI research that focuses on how people might be engaged with games or interventions that encourage sustainable behaviour in the workplace. Findings will also contribute to the theoretical knowledge of altruistic behaviours and how they can be affected by framing.
This project involves Psychology but also HCI interests and skills: by (1) creating experiments that will inform the design of energy displays for the workplace, (2) seeing which type of motivations and frames are preferred and (3) studying their interaction, we will establish what is the most effective at encouraging sensible and fair use of energy in the workplace.
Clary, E. G., Snyder, M., Ridge, R. D., Copeland, J., Stukas, A. A., Haugen, J., & Miene, P. (1998). Understanding and assessing the motivations of volunteers: a functional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6), 1516.
Ferguson, E., Farrell, K., & Lawrence, C. (2008). Blood donation is an act of benevolence rather than altruism. Health Psychology, 27(3), 327.
Who should apply
Ideally applicants should be studying for a postgraduate degree in psychology or related discipline and a good background in quantitative behavioural research is essential. Exceptional undergraduates currently in the final or penultimate year of their course will also be considered. To confirm, undergraduates due to graduate in the summer are eligible to apply.

Required skills
Quantitative behavioural research experience.
Background in psychology or related area.
Ability to work independently as well as part of a team.

Desirable skills
Basic web programming skills are desirable (e.g., Qualtrics).
Knowledge of and / or interest in HCI.

Eligibility and financial aspects
This internship is for 10 weeks (full-time) and is aimed at current undergraduate or postgraduate students. For postgraduate students who receive a stipend from their home university during the internship, a bursary of £300 per week will be available. For postgraduate students who suspend their stipend, or undergraduate students working during the summer break, a casual wage of £350 per week will be available, and this may be subject to tax deductions depending on the successful candidate’s circumstances.
In general, postgraduate students from The University of Nottingham are not eligible to apply, due to the nature of the funding source. Undergraduate students from the University of Nottingham are eligible.
The internship will be based at The University of Nottingham, on the Jubilee Campus (NG7 2TU) – this internship may not be undertaken remotely.

Informal enquiries
Informal enquiries may be made to, however applications should be made using the following weblink. Applications to this email address will not be accepted.
To apply, please complete the Internships Application Form.

(from Horizon)