Oops, I forgot the light on! The cognitive mechanisms supporting the execution of energy saving behaviors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Research units

  • University of Padova
  • University of Helsinki
  • San Camillo Hospital


Energy conservation and related environmental issues are of increasing interest for psychological research and intervention. In the present study, we investigated the cognitive abilities that are necessary in order for people to implement energy saving behaviors in their everyday life routines. We explored the relation between sustained attention, processing speed, and working memory and the participants' involvement in cognitively effortful energy saving behaviors. Results showed that the efficiency of the aforementioned cognitive mechanisms was positively related to the frequency of saving behaviors that required monitoring, integration, and inhibition to be implemented in daily behaviors and routines. The efficiency of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie our ability to implement energy saving actions might explain part of the gap between energy saving intention and energy wasting behavior. Ergonomic design of domestic appliances - reducing the cognitive demands of energy saving behaviors' - and compensatory training of the cognitive functions moderating the execution of energy saving behaviors can contribute to reduce energy consumptions.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-96
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Attention, Cognitive failure, Executive functions, Household energy conservation, PASAT, Working memory

ID: 12762706