Beliefs about the environment: Moving from the egocentric towards the ecocentric perspective

Matija Svetina*, Andreja Istenič-Starčič, Matevž Juvančič, Tomaž Novljan, Maruška Šubic-Kovač, Špela Verovšek, Tadeja Zupančič

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Our behaviour towards the environment depends on our beliefs about the environment. Beliefs, however, are a subject of change, particularly during important life transitions such as the transition to adolescence, because this is a period when an individual develops the ability of complex and abstract reasoning. Understanding this transition is therefore crucial for understanding and predicting the attitudes and courses of action in terms of sustainable development later in life. Due to many methodological constraints, the number of empirical studies examining these issues is very limited; the current study aimed to collect empirical data to explore the origins of our beliefs about the environment-related issues. We devised a picture association test and used it to compare childrens and adolescents beliefs about our environment in the context of the means of transportation. A large sample of 2264 participants aged 6-18 years took part in the study. The data supported the claim that childrens beliefs about environment share egocentric properties. The findings represent an important puzzle into the whole picture of childrens thinking and offer us great insight into the origins of beliefs about environment-related questions in adults. Educational implications are addressed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)540-545
    Number of pages6
    JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2014


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