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Doctoral Research:

To merge my interests in tropical forest conservation and behavioral sciences, my research focuses on honing the design of Payment for Ecosystem service programs which leverage financial incentives to foster engagement in forest conservation behaviors. In particular, I use Mexico's flagship agroforestry program Sembrando Vida [Sowing life] to investigate how leveraging insights from psychology, namely the influence of habits and social norms, can increase the long-term conservation impact of short-term financial incentive programs. My research is located in the state of Yucatan in Mexico. 

Past research:

 Changing Behavior to Protect Nature:  

How to Design & Implement Behavior Change Campaigns Grounded in Conservation Psychology & Marketing 

Suggested Citation: Winkler-Schor, S. & Mahajan, S. (2020). Changing Behavior to Protect Nature: How to Design & Implement Behavior Change Campaigns Grounded in Conservation Psychology & Marketing.  

Master's Research/Defense

Values are the fundamental reasons why people engage in pro-environmental behavior. Recent research has called for a more refined approach to measuring environmental values to include the concepts of eudaimonia and hedonia; however, the empirical properties for a survey scale are not yet evaluated. On-site survey data collected in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, and respondents were segmented by five dimensions of environmental values using latent profile analysis. Pro-environmental behaviors and socio-demographics were then examined between the four distinct classes. Consistent with previous research, we observed that younger, more educated individuals held stronger environmental values and pro-environmental behavioral intentions. We also found that across all classes, individuals were most willing to engage in conservation lifestyle behaviors, regardless of values. Our findings advance the conceptualization of values as motivators for pro-environmental behavior and provide new insight for decision-makers to help align park management with user value structures.

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