Examining the Effectiveness of Climate Change Frames in the Face of a Climate Change Denial Counter‐Frame

Topics in Cognitive Science 8 (1):76-97 (2016)
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Abstract

Prior research on the influence of various ways of framing anthropogenic climate change do not account for the organized ACC denial in the U.S. media and popular culture, and thus may overestimate these frames' influence in the general public. We conducted an experiment to examine how Americans' ACC views are influenced by four promising frames for urging action on ACC —when these frames appear with an ACC denial counter-frame. This is the first direct test of how exposure to an ACC denial message influences Americans' ACC views. Overall, these four positive frames have little to no effect on ACC beliefs. But exposure to an ACC denial counter-frame does significantly reduce respondents' belief in the reality of ACC, belief about the veracity of climate science, awareness of the consequences of ACC, and support for aggressively attempting to reduce our nation's GHG emissions in the near future. Furthermore, as expected by the Anti-Reflexivity Thesis, exposure to the ACC denial counter-frame has a disproportionate influence on the ACC views of conservatives, effectively activating conservatives' underlying propensity for anti-reflexivity

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