Wokje Abrahamse

Dr Wokje Abrahamse profile picture

UG Programme Coordinator - Environmental Studies School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Teaching in 2020


  • PhD in Social and Behavioural Sciences - University of Groningen, The Netherlands (2007)
  • MSc in Social Psychology - University of Groningen, The Netherlands (2001)


  • Research Fellow; Research Group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment (RESOLVE) - University of Surrey, UK
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship; New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities - University of Otago, Wellington (2009 - 2011)
  • Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship - University of Victoria, Canada (2011 - 2013)


  • Early Career Teaching Excellence Award - Victoria University of Wellington (2016)
  • President's Award for Teaching in Geography - New Zealand Geographical Society (2016)


Publications from 2005 - Now

Research Interests

Why do people buy environmentally friendly products? How do we reduce littering behaviour in public places? What is the best way to reduce household energy consumption? I am an environmental psychologist, and my research focuses on the human dimensions of environmental change. I apply psychological theories to better understand the barriers and enablers of engagement in environmentally friendly behaviours, such as attitudes, social norms, and habits. I also examine the effectiveness of interventions (for example information campaigns, commitment making, feedback provision) to encourage the adoption of environmentally friendly behaviours, such as energy conservation and travel mode choice.

Current Research Projects

Social Influence and Behaviour Change

Our behaviour is often guided by what other people think and do; this is referred to as social influence. Insights from theories of social influence are increasingly being used to help inform interventions to encourage behaviour change, such as social norms and social comparison. My research explores questions such as: How effective is social influence? Under which conditions is it (most) effective? Does it ever backfire?

Spill-over in Environmentally-friendly Behaviours

The spill-over effect refers to the observation that engagement in one environmentally-friendly behaviour (recycling for example) may lead to other, similar changes (composing food waste for example). In this research, I examine whether encouraging people to engage in one pro-environmental behaviour “spills over” into other pro-environmental behaviours.


Teaching in 2020