Communicating the Obvious: How Agents Against Power Waste Influenced the Attitudes of Players and their Families

Communicating the Obvious: How Agents Against Power Waste Influenced the Attitudes of Players and their Families

Mattias Svahn (Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden) and Annika Waern (University of Uppsala, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6206-3.ch010

Abstract

This chapter describes the game design and study of Agents Against Power Waste (AAPW), a large-scale field experiment where a persuasive pervasive game was put to use to influence households' attitudes towards electricity consumption. This game is particularly interesting as, although it was only the children of the family who were playing, the whole family was affected and to some extent forced to take part in the play activity. The style of game design has been called “social expansion” (Montola, Stenros, & Waern, 2009; Montola, 2011).The chapter focuses on how this impacted the psychological process of persuasion in responding families and individuals.
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2. Setting The Stage

It should not be difficult to persuade households to consume less electricity. If prices consistently rise over a longer period of time that ought according to any credo of the rational economic man lead to a decrease in consumption of said product. Still, consumption has remained more or less constant (The Swedish Energy Agency, 2012).

One issue may be that while there is a will to conserve electricity in the general population the knowledge of how to go about it is low. This was found by (van Houwelingen & van Raaij, 1989) A pre-study on Swedish households with teenage children (Torstensson, 2005) independently confirmed that. The situation seems ideal for a persuasive communications campaign. There are nevertheless difficulties.

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