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Experience of Persuasion Game at MSH

Prof. Dr. Junkichi SUGIURA (Keio University)

How to activate environmental protective behavior – this question has driven my research since two decades. Today I am a professor for social psychology at the Keio University in Tokyo. But almost twenty years ago I was a lecturer at the Aichi University of Education – that was when I met Prof. Gundula Hübner in Japan for the first time. Since then we exchanged ideas at several meetings in Japan, Germany and international conferences and collaborated on serval occasions. I am doing research in social psychology, on the topic of persuasive communication and consensus building. In many cases, some aspects of actions that deal with environmental risks entail conflict between benefits for individuals and the society as a whole. To solve this problem, I’ve developed educational games called »Persuasion Game« and »Stakeholders« as tools for risk communication. Currently I do research projects on »International Comparative Experiment on Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle« with my Japanese colleague, associate professor Kaori Ando (Nara Women's University).

This summer I had the great chance to visit Gundula Hübner at the MSH. Together with Aneta Woznica and the MSH students we conducted my »Settoku-Nattoku« game. The idea of this game is to promote energy saving behavior, based on the social psychological approaches of role taking and persuasive communication. Participants are asked to persuade others of a self-chosen energy saving behavior by addressing two types of outcome benefits: An individual benefit such as saving money due to reduced electricity bills, and an environmental protection benefit such as contributing to climate change solutions. In this game each student took over the roles as a »Persuader« – trying to convince as many others as possible – as well as being a »Persuadee« – who is tried to be persuaded but discusses the persuaders argument. The discussions among the participants are designed to stimulate cognitive elaboration as well as social comparison processes. To evaluate the games’ impact on attitudes towards and intentions to conduct energy saving behaviors we designed a pre-post design – that is, students estimated their attitudes and intentions before and after playing Settoku-Nattoku.

At the MSH I supervised the game as a whole, provided feedback, and awarded the most active persuaders with Japanese sweets – at least, that’s what I had planned. The MSH students welcomed me with a warm smile and I was very relaxed with an open atmosphere.  The game was advanced in the same procedure as I did at Keio University in Japan a month ago. I was surprised that they were communicating very enthusiastically – they were so very much involved that they hardly could stop. We all seemed to enjoy the situation very much. I am eager to inform you about the results as soon as we have finished our analyses.

My stay in Hamburg was only three days, but thanks to the friendly and welcoming MSH students, team and Ilona Renken-Olthoff I was able to spend a very intensive but relaxing time. Also, the maritime ambient of the MSH was something special to me – just close to the MSH I boarded the little boat going over the Landungsbrücken to Övelgönne. A nice place to be.

Regarding the visit to Hamburg, I arrived from Japan via Frankfurt to Hamburg Airport after a 15 hour journey and headed for MSH directly. Unfortunately, my luggage was lost – inclusive the Japanese sweets for the students. So instead of Japanese sweets (which were in the luggage) I had to give sweets bought at Hamburg airport to students on the day's game. I would like to visit Hamburg again in the near future and I hope to have a good time with the people of the MSH with Japanese sweets.