How Framing Climate Change Influences Citizen Scientists’ Intentions to Do Something About It

January 1st, 2013 | RESEARCH

How we communicate the dangers of climate change may influence attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. Here we test two pairs of positive and negative framing statements with North American citizen scientists interested in gardening and birdwatching. Mentioning dangers for humans did not increase participants’ interest in taking personal action on climate change, but mentioning dangers for birds was highly effective. Highlighting the positive collective impacts of small behavioral changes also increased participants’ interest in taking personal action. These results suggest that while some dire messages are ineffective, those evoking concern for target species of significance to the learners may be as successful as positive messages.


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Team Members

Janis Dickinson, Author, Cornell University
Rhiannon Crain, Author, Cornell University
Steven Yalowitz, Author, Audience Viewpoints
Tammy Messick Cherry, Author, TMCherry Consulting


Identifier Type: issn
Identifier: 0095-8964
Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1080/00958964.2012.742032

Publication: Journal of Environmental Education
Volume: 44
Number: 3
Page(s): 145

Related URLs

EBSCO Full Text


Audience: General Public | Scientists
Discipline: Climate | Education and learning science
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Citizen Science Programs | Public Programs

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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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