Can behavioural attitudes really be changed?
At GreenSeas Trust, we know they can – this is why our #BinForGreenSeas is progressing at full speed. The striking design of our 1.5 metres high, bright orange, lifebuoy-shaped bin with the tagline “THROW MARINE LIFE A LIFELINE” acts on two levels – direct and subconscious.
And, there is scientific data to back this up. Much research has been done into what parts of our brain are activated through different stimuli. Think about how much information is presented in front of our eyes; colours, shapes, movement, lights, pictures, text and more. Each is vying for attention, yet our eyes can filter this vast amount of information, and bring the important parts to the forefront of our conscious mind.
Visual perception happens when the eye focuses light on the retina. Cells within the retina change light into a series of electrochemical signals which are then transmitted to the brain. The process can take a mere 13 milliseconds, according to a 2017 study at MIT.
Having an object like the BinForGreenSeas stick out like a sore thumb and stare you in the face as you walk by it, is definitely likely to trigger the conscious part of the mind. And from the photograph of the BinForGreenSeas (which is currently in manufacture), it can be clearly seen – it is certainly BIG enough to warrant a glance. But will it work on the subconscious level?
The subconscious mind responds to visual cues. It does not think or reason independently; it merely obeys the commands it receives from our conscious mind. We may not even notice that we are having these reactions, but they are strong enough to cause us to act.
As Freud put it, “The conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises.”
Since the subconscious mind is irrational, it does not know what benefits a person or an environment. It needs to be guided in the right direction. If we begin to ‘think’ in a different way, to become aware of the message being delivered by an object, then change is possible. In other words, beliefs held by the subconscious mind have physical reactions as well. So whatever is brought up by conscious and intently focused on, also brings up all the emotions and feelings that are associated with that image in your mind.
One of the very interesting facts about the way the subconscious mind works is that it will not only affect your behaviour but it will also affect your perception. This is why motivational speakers can have big impacts on people committed to making their lives better.
GreenSeas Trust is applying the same rationale to stop plastics getting into the sea, by helping people to make the connection between their own irresponsible littering and the harm it does to marine life.
The Trust is confident that the distinctive shape of the bin and its tagline “Throw Marine Life a Lifeline,” will work both on a conscious and subconscious level, so people will begin to associate using any bin with protecting marine life.
Our #BinForGreenSeas is currently being manufactured and the first one will be unveiled in Blackpool on the 5th June! If you would like to play your part and throw marine life a lifeline, you can make a big difference by donating to us. We are so grateful for every donation we receive. We put every penny towards our #BinForGreenSeas project, helping to get our bins onto more beaches.