Microplastics and Citizens: Identifying key psychological determinants and gamification strategies to encourage the adoption of protective behaviors

In their everyday life, people constantly breathe, ingest and get exposed to micro- and nano-plastic particles (MNP). By changing their behavior, people can reduce their MNP emission and protect themselves against MNP exposure. However, the majority of people are not aware of this MNP problem. Previous research showed that only providing information on the health issue will not make people change their behavior.


In order to address these problems, this project aims to better understand what psychological factors drive people to engage in MNP protective behaviors. This project also aims to develop innovative behavioral interventions to promote MNP protective behaviors. An example is communication materials with gamification elements. The researchers will develop a prototype that can be used during events, fairs and higher education classes. In this way, MNP awareness can be increased and MNP protective behavior promoted.


To identify key psychological determinants, the researchers will conduct interviews and focus group discussions. Participants will be representatives of the general public, MOMENTUM members, and a valorization panel with MNP experts and important stakeholders. Additionally, they will run a large-scale nationally representative survey. The intervention will be co-created in close collaboration with all stakeholders. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention, interviews and a psychological experiment will be conducted. Finally, a variety of activities (e.g., symposium, citizen’s science initiative) specifically aimed at knowledge will be held during this project.

Collaboration partners

This project is carried out by Josefine. Geiger, IreneMaltagliati and Barbro Melgert of Groningen University.

(Expected) results

This project will provide a better understanding on key psychological determinants of MNP protective behaviors that can be targeted in behavioral interventions, policy measures and communication materials. It will furthermore deliver a prototype of communication materials that can be used during events, fairs and higher-education classes to communicate the negative health effects of MNP.


Project number:
Duration: 38%
Duration: 38 %
Part of programme:
Project lead and secretary:
J.L. Geiger
Responsible organisation:
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen