Are We Creatures of Logic or Emotions? Investigating the Role of Attitudes, Worldviews, Emotions, and Knowledge Gain from Environmental Interpretation on Behavioural Intentions of Park Visitors


  • Clara-Jane Blye University of Alberta
  • Glen Hvenegaard
  • Elizabeth Halpenny



Environmental interpretation, parks, attitudes,, emotions, behavioural intentions


Environmental interpretation can improve sustainability by mitigating the negative impacts of nature-based recreation. However, we do not fully understand the psychological factors that influence interpretation’s efficacy in changing human behaviours. Specifically, the role of emotions has been understudied within environmental psychology and nature-based recreation. This study, therefore, provides further insight into the psychological processes driving pro-environmental behavioural intentions among overnight visitors attending personal interpretation programs in provincial parks in Alberta, Canada. In 2018 and 2019, we surveyed 763 attendees of personal interpretation events. We used latent variable structural regression modeling to test the hypothesized relationships between ecological worldview, attitudes, emotions, and pro-environmental behaviours. As predicted, there were positive relationships between worldviews, affective and cognitive attitudes, and emotions; these variables and knowledge gain were positively associated with pro-environmental behaviours. Findings suggest that interpretation should focus programming on the affective elements of communication, target personal meaning such as responsibility to act, and continue to transmit knowledge.






Special Issue: Fostering a Culture of Sustainability through Outdoor Recreation