Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) could play a crucial role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions around the world. Much research has examined the practical barriers to large-scale BEV uptake, but very little has examined the psychological barriers. The current study addresses this gap in the literature by investigating the effects of stereotype threat on BEV drivers. This psychological predicament occurs when an individual imagines or experiences being judged in terms of negative stereotypes about their social group. Qualitative thematic analysis of interview data revealed three distinct stereotypes that the BEV drivers imagined or reported other people to hold: eccentric, low-status environmentalists; hypocritical, highstatus environmentalists; and geeky technophiles. With regard to the first and second stereotypes, drivers tended to use individualist defence strategies by downplaying their proenvironmental attitudes and dissociating themselves from the undesirable environmentalist groups. With regard to the third stereotype, they tended to use more constructive, group-level defence strategies by perceiving their BEV driver ingroup as superior on the innovative technology adopter dimension compared to their non-BEV driver outgroup. Suggestions are made for countering the psychological barrier of stereotype threat, such as promoting images of BEV drivers as future-shaping market leaders and treating them as members of an influential and desirable consumer group.
King, NaomiBurgess, MarkHarris, Margaret
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development
Year of publication: 2018Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-11-15