Pictorial and mental arid landscape images reduce the motivation to change negative habits

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Recent research has demonstrated that physical or environmental cues may signal the availability of resources for goal pursuit. However, the effects that pictorial and mental arid environments may have on one's estimated levels of resources for habit change are not known. Three studies examined the idea that an arid landscape is associated with reduced subjective vitality and, consequently, low motivation for change. Consistent with our prediction, the first two studies indicated that viewing pictorial images or visualizing mental images of a desert (versus a landscape with water or a control) reduced participant confidence in their ability to change negative habits. The relations between the type of environment and the motivation for change were mediated by subjective vitality. The third study supported these findings, suggesting pictorial images of arid landscapes were perceived as more depleting and stressful than images of landscapes with water but less stressful and more attractive than urban environment images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Depletion
  • Embodied cognition
  • Environment
  • Motivation
  • Self regulation
  • Subjective vitality


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