Interested, indifferent or active information avoiders of carbon labels: Cognitive dissonance and ascription of responsibility as motivating factors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Active avoidance of information is gaining attention in the behavioural sciences. We explore motivations for active avoidance of carbon emissions information. In the first stage of a stated preference survey, respondents indicated whether they wished to access carbon emissions information (info-takers) or not (info-decliners) when selecting a protein source. In the second stage, all respondents were provided with carbon emissions information. The info-takers reduced emissions from their food choices by 32%, while the info-decliners also reduced their emissions (by 12%). This indicates active information avoidance among at least some info-decliners. We explore how cognitive dissonance, responsibility feelings and personal norms affect a person's actions when information is imposed upon them, and their role as motivators for actively avoiding carbon emissions information on meat products. Individuals who experience climate-related cognitive dissonance and/or responsibility feelings change behaviour more following climate information, and it also increases choice task uncertainty mostly among these. These findings point to the potential of increasing impact from information by simultaneously increasing personal responsibility feelings and activating social norms.


External organisations
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Dalarna University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Psychology


  • Carbon emission reduction, Climate label, Cognitive dissonance, Consumer behaviour, Information avoidance, Strategic ignorance
Original languageEnglish
Article number102036
JournalFood Policy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021 Feb 22
Publication categoryResearch