Greens or space invaders: Prominent utopian themes and effects on social change motivation

Julian W. Fernando, Léan V. O'Brien, Nicholas J. Burden, Madeline Judge, Yoshihisa Kashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


One way in which individuals can participate in action to change the society they live in is through the pursuit of an ideal society or “utopia”; however, the content of that utopia is a likely determinant of its motivational impact. Here we examined two predominant prototypes of utopia derived from previous research and theory—the Green and Sci-Fi utopias. When participants were primed with either of these utopias, the Green utopia was perceived to entail a range of other positive characteristics (e.g., warmth, positive emotions) and—provided it was positively evaluated—tended to elicit both motivation and behaviour for social change. In contrast, the Sci-Fi utopia was associated with low motivation, even when it was positively evaluated. Furthermore, the Green utopia was shown to elicit greater perceptions of participative efficacy, which in turn predicted the increase in social change motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-291
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


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