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Past-focused environmental comparisons promote pro-environmental outcomes for conservatives


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Significance Political polarization on important issues can have dire consequences for society, and divisions regarding the issue of climate change could be particularly catastrophic. Building on research in social cognition and psychology, we show that temporal comparison processes largely explain the political gap in respondents’ attitudes towards and behaviors regarding climate change. We found that conservatives’ proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors improved consistently and drastically when we presented messages that compared the environment today with that of the past. This research shows how ideological differences can arise from basic psychological processes, demonstrates how such differences can be overcome by framing a message consistent with these basic processes, and provides a way to market the science behind climate change more effectively.
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Past-focused environmental comparisons promote
proenvironmental outcomes for conservatives
Matthew Baldwin
and Joris Lammers
Social Cognition Center Cologne, University of Cologne, 50931 Cologne, Germany
Edited by Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, and approved October 31, 2016 (received for review July 2, 2016)
Conservatives appear more skeptical about climate change and
global warming and less willing to act against it than liberals. We
propose that this unwillingness could result from fundamental
differences in conservativesand liberalstemporal focus. Conser-
vatives tend to focus more on the past than do liberals. Across six
studies, we rely on this notion to demonstrate that conservatives
are positively affected by past- but not by future-focused environ-
mental comparisons. Past comparisons largely eliminated the po-
litical divide that separated liberal and conservative respondents
attitudes toward and behavior regarding climate change, so that
across these studies conservatives and liberals were nearly equally
likely to fight climate change. This research demonstrates how
psychological processes, such as temporal comparison, underlie
the prevalent ideological gap in addressing climate change. It
opens up a promising avenue to convince conservatives effectively
of the need to address climate change and global warming.
climate change
temporal comparison
political ideology
A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and
confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never
look backward to their ancestors.
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France,1790
Despite strong evidence that humans are causing global
warming (1), there is continuing debate surrounding the
issue. Political ideology has been shown to be the strongest
predictor of politiciansbeliefs regarding climate change (2), and
political polarization of beliefs regarding climate change in the
United States has increased in recent years (3). Generally, these
trends are characterized by relatively low and decreasing support
from conservatives (24). The link between conservatism and low
support for action addressing climate change can have negative
social and economic consequences. For instance, simply labeling
an energy-efficient product with a message mentioning climate
change can reduce the likelihood that politically conservative
individuals will purchase the product (5). What explains this
stark divide characterized by conservativesrelatively unfavor-
able attitudes and behaviors, and how can it be overcome?
We address this question using insights from research in psy-
chology and propose that the divide can be explained, in part, by
different tendencies in temporal comparisons made by liberals
and conservatives. In particular, conservatives tend to evaluate
the present relative to the way things were in the past. The
tendency for conservatives to be past-focused can be traced to
the origins of conservatism. Attitudes such as those expressed in
the introductory quotation from Edmund Burke, widely regarded
as the philosophical founder of political conservatism, emerged
as a reaction to revolutionary movements that sought to break
radically with tradition (68). Thus, conservative ideology can be
traced to the desire to defend the status quo against progressive
change, preferring regressive change instead, whereas liberals seek
to replace present society with a newer system (9).
Research has shown that conservatives more strongly endorse
tradition and conformity and prefer the certainty of the past to
the uncertainty of tomorrow (10). These tendencies play out in
the political arena as well: Republican presidents refer to the
past to a greater extent than Democratic ones in their State of
the Union addresses (11). Moreover, conservatives are said to
feel a romantic or nostalgic longing for the way society was (12,
13), suggesting that conservatives view progressive policies and
ideas as pushing society further away from the cherished past.
Indeed, in public opinion surveys in the United States conser-
vatives consistently show stronger beliefs that the state of society
is in decline (14, 15).
Against this backdrop, a potential problem becomes clear:
Appeals for addressing climate change often adopt a future-fo-
cused temporal perspective. Consider an example from United
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: The clear and present
danger of climate change means we cannot burn our way to
prosperity ...We need to find a new, sustainable path to the
future we want(16). Similar future-focused messages appear in
Al Gores documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which presents
viewers with images of a scorched and dry future earth (17).
What these messages have in common is that they compare the
current state of the Earth against a possible future. Simply put,
these appeals aim to convince the audience that drastic action
against climate change must be taken to create a better future
(or to avoid a worse future).
These future comparisons are speculative and often are ac-
companied by propositions to change the socioeconomic status
quo. Conservatives may find such propositions aversive because
they violate the tenants of conservative ideology. Furthermore, if
conservatives associate progressive change with decline (14, 15),
these future-focused messages are unlikely to be convincing. It
Political polarization on important issues can have dire conse-
quences for society, and divisions regarding the issue of climate
change could be particularly catastrophic. Building on research in
social cognition and psychology, we show that temporal com-
parison processes largely explain the political gap in respondents
attitudes towards and behaviors regarding climate change. We
found that conservativesproenvironmental attitudes and be-
haviors improved consistently and drastically when we presented
messages that compared the environment today with that of the
past. This research shows how ideological differences can arise
from basic psychological processes, demonstrates how such dif-
ferences can be overcome by framing a message consistent with
these basic processes, and provides a way to market the science
behind climate change more effectively.
Author contributions: M.B. and J.L. designed research; M.B. and J.L. performed research;
M.B. analyzed data; and M.B. and J.L. wrote the paper.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email:
This article contains supporting information online at
1073/pnas.1610834113/-/DCSupplemental. PNAS Early Edition
follows then that conservativesrelatively low support for action
addressing climate change may not result from an inherent dis-
belief in scientific evidence (18) but could be attributed to a lack
of fit between future-focused environmentalist appeals and
conservativesdominant past-focused temporal orientation.
Reframing the appeals for addressing climate change to fit
conservativesideology has proven successful in changing con-
servativesattitudes and behaviors. For instance, conservatives
expressed more proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors when
doing so was framed as an obligation to ones nation (19) or
when climate change was described in terms of contamination
and purityas opposed to harmand care(20). Conserva-
tivesskepticism about climate change science decreased if the
solution to climate change was described as supporting capital-
ism (21). In other words, conservatives can become more pro-
environmental when being so aligns with morals and values that
are consistent with their world view.
Our approach is similar: Conservatives can become more pro-
environmental when appeals to address climate change are framed
with a past-focused comparison. Conservatives view the past as better
than the present, so an argument that encourages returning to the
past will be appealing. Furthermore, any proposed changes to society
that are rooted in past comparisons should not be hindered by the
uncertainty and decline that conservatives associate with progressive,
or future-focused, changes. Altogether, a past-focused framing may
encourage conservatives to estimate a greater risk of climate change
because the evidence for climate change provided by a past-focused
comparison fits with their predominant cultural outlook. On the other
hand, future-focused messages may lead conservatives to un-
derestimate the risk of climate change because of a misfit between
the framing of evidence and their typical cultural outlook (22).
To test these hypotheses, we recruited participants online via
Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), a web-based tool for recruiting
and paying participants to perform tasks. MTurk samples tend to
produce results that are as valid and reliable as laboratory-based
samples (23) and have been shown to be as representative of the
United States population as other sampling methods used in po-
litical science research (2426). To avoid the most critical problem
with Mturk samplesnonnaiveté (27)participants were barred
from taking part in more than one of our studies. We predicted that
past-focused climate messages would be effective in promoting
proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors among conservatives. All
studies were covered under Institutional Review Board approval
from the Social Cognition Center Cologne, and participants pro-
vided consent by clicking a box on the first page of each study.
Methods and Results
Study 1.
Method. In study 1, participants were randomly assigned to read a
message about climate change that drew a comparison either be-
tween the present and the future (future-focused, e.g., Looking
forward to our nationsfuture... there is increasing traffic on the
road) or between the present and the past (past-focused; e.g.,
Looking back to our nationspast... there was less traffic on the
road). Participants were told that a previous participant wrote the
message in response to a prompt asking the participant to describe a
current social issue. We also randomly varied whether the ostensible
participant self-reported as a liberal or conservative and treated this
variable as a between-subjects factor in our analyses. After reading
Fig. 1. Study 1. (A) Conservatives dislike the future-focused but not past-focused environmental message. (B) Conservatives report more favorable envi-
ronmental attitudes after reading a past-focused message (blue line) than after reading a future-focused message (red line).
Fig. 2. Study 2. A past-focused message (white bars) is most effective in
improving conservativesproenvironmental attitudes. Temporal focus does
not affect liberalsattitudes. Error bars represent SEs.
| Baldwin and Lammers
the message, participants evaluated the message and reported their
attitudes about the environment and climate change.
Results.As expected, conservatives evaluated the future-focused
climate change message less positively (b=0.24, P=0.003),
whereas the opposite was true for the past-focused message (b=
0.19, P=0.026; interaction b=0.42, P<0.001) (Fig. 1A).
Reading a past-focused message also increased conservatives
proenvironmental attitudes. The association between conserva-
tism and less favorable environmental attitudes was reduced by
almost half in the past-focused condition (b=0.16, P=0.009)
compared with the future-focused condition (b=0.35, P<
0.0001; interaction b=0.19, P<0.03) (Fig. 1B). There was no
moderating effect of the ostensible participants political orien-
tation on these findings (P>0.47), suggesting that the temporal
framing was effective even when the source of the message was a
member of a political out-group (detailed methods and results
can be found in SI Methods and Results,Study 1).
Study 2.
Method.To isolate further the effect of temporal comparison on
conservativesattitudes, study 2 exposed participants to the past
and future comparisons from study 1 or to a nonenvironmental
control message about the ISIS terrorist organization. Again the
message was communicated by a participant ostensibly from a
previous study, but in this study all messages were from a self-
reported political moderate. After reading the message, partici-
pants completed the environmental attitude measure from study 1.
Results.As predicted, and in accordance with study 1, we found
that conservatives expressed more favorable attitudes in the past-
focused condition than in the control condition (P=0.007, d=
0.44) or in the future-focused condition although the effect was
not statistically significant (P=0.21). Conservativesattitudes
were more favorable in the future-focused condition than in the
control condition, but this simple effect also was not significant
(P=0.14). However, conservativesattitudes increased linearly
across the control, future, and past-focused conditions (b=0.37,
SE =0.14, P=0.007); the past-focused condition was most ef-
fective in bolstering conservativesproenvironmental attitudes
(Fig. 2). Liberalsattitudes did not differ as a function of tem-
poral comparison (P=0.97). Detailed methods and results can
be found in SI Methods and Results,Study 2).
Study 3.
Method.In study 3 we used a more controlled manipulation of
temporal comparisons by presenting participants with 14 pairs of
photographs said to demonstrate the influence of climate change on
the earth. For example, one set of pictures showed a satellite image
of a river basin either full of water or dried up (Fig. S1). We ma-
nipulated temporal comparisons by describing the photographs as
reflecting changes in the environment from the past to the present
(past-focused condition) or reflecting expected changes in the en-
vironment from the present to the future (future-focused condi-
tion). Participants then reported their proenvironmental attitudes.
Results.As expected, conservatives expressed less favorable attitudes
in the future-focused comparison (b=0.015, P<0.0001), but this
association was greatly attenuated in the past-focused comparison
(b=0.007, P=0.011; interaction b=0.008, P=0.03) (Fig. 3).
Importantly, these results remained significant when controlling
for feelings of uncertainty and personal need for closure (e.g.,
intolerance of ambiguity) measured after the manipulation.
Neither of these variables moderated the effect of condition on
environmental attitudes over and above political orientation.
Our findings are not likely explained by any uncertainty caused
by the speculative future-focused images or an aversion to such
speculation. Detailed methods and results can be found in SI
Methods and Results,Study 3.
Proenvironmental Behaviors
Study 4a.
Method.Study 4a was a pilot test that aimed to determine whether
real environmental charities tend to make past- or future-focused
comparisons, on average. Based on these data, we also aimed to
use some of the charities as stimuli in subsequent studies. We
collected links to websites for 46 existing environmental charities
and asked participants to rate the extent to which a random set of
five charities were past- or future-focused.
Results.Overall, the environmental charities were rated as signifi-
cantly future-focused (P<0.0001, d=2.58), underscoring our
general claim that conservativeslack of support for action
addressing climate change could be caused by real-world trends in
the temporal framing of the appeals to address climate change.
Detailed methods and results can be found in SI Methods and Re-
sults,Study 4a.
Fig. 3. Study 3. Conservatives report more positive environmental attitudes
after viewing past-focused environmental comparisons (blue line) than after
viewing future-focused environmental comparisons (red line).
Fig. 4. Study 4b. Conservatives donate more to the past-focused charity
than the future-focused charity, while this is not the case for liberals. Error
bars represent SEs.
Baldwin and Lammers PNAS Early Edition
Study 4b.
Method.In study 4b we used two charities from study 4a as stimuli to
demonstrate that temporal focus can influence liberalsand con-
servativesdonation behaviors. Participants were offered $2 windfall
money and were provided with links to the most past-focused and
most future-focused charities from study 4a. They were asked to
visit the two websites and decide how much of the money to donate
to those charities and how much to keep for themselves.
Results.As expected, conservatives gave less than liberals to the
future-focused charity (P=0.0002, d=0.60) (Fig. 4). However, this
difference was attenuated and was not statistically significant for the
past-focused charity (P=0.17). Moreover, conservatives gave more
to the past-focused charity than to the future-focused charity (P=
0.03, d=0.31) whereas liberals gave equally to each charity [P=
0.90; interaction F(1, 157) =2.51, P=0.12]; detailed methods and
results can be found in SI Methods and Results,Study 4b).
Study 5.
Method.The aim of study 5 was to isolate further the effects of
temporal comparisons on donation behavior by using the pro-
cedure in study 5 but randomly presenting participants with only
one website, either the past-focused charity or the future-focused
charity from study 4b or a nonenvironmental control charity
(cancer research). Participants were given $2 windfall money and
were asked to donate as much or as little to the charity as they chose,
while keeping the rest for themselves.
Results. When comparing donations among conservatives and liberals
separately, we found that conservatives gave more to the past-focused
charity than to the future-focused charity (P=0.03, d=0.38) and
more to the cancer research charity than to the future-focused charity
(P=0.03, d=0.60) (Fig. S2). Conservatives did not differ in their
donations to the past-focused and cancer research charities (P=
0.34). Liberalsdonations to each of the three charities did not differ
significantly (past- vs. future-focused, P=0.20; past-focused vs. can-
cer, P=0.10; future-focused vs. cancer, P=0.70).
When comparing conservatives and liberals within each charity
condition, we found that conservatives donated more than liberals
to the cancer charity (P=0.02, d=0.40) but less than liberals to
the future-focused charity (P=0.18, d=0.40), although this effect
did not reach conventional levels of significance. Conservatives
and liberals donated equally to the past-focused charity [P=0.72;
interaction F(2, 395) =3.40, P=0.03]. Detailed methods and
results can be found in SI Methods and Results,Study 5.
Study 6.
Method.To increase experimental control and overcome the issue
that the charities used in studies 4b and 5 inevitably differed in ways
other than their temporal focus, we created two ostensible charities
in study 6 and experimentally manipulated the temporal compari-
son. One charity communicated a past comparison (Restoring the
planet to its original state), and the other communicated a future
comparison (Creating a new earth for the future)(Fig. S3).
Participants were shown the logos and mission statements of each
charity and then were asked to allocate $0.50 to the charities.
Results.When comparing monetary allocations among conservatives
and liberals separately, we found that conservatives distributed more
to the past-focused charity than to the future-focused charity (P=
0.009, d=0.27). Conversely, liberals distributed more to the future-
focused charity than to the past-focused charity (P=0.002, d=0.31).
When comparing conservatives and liberalsallocation tendencies, we
found that conservatives distributed more than liberals to the past-
focused charity (P<0.0001, d=0.58). Conversely, liberals distributed
more than conservatives to the future-focused charity [P<0.0001,
d=0.58; interaction F(1, 192) =16.13, P<0.0001] (Fig. 5). Detailed
methods and results can be found in SI Methods and Results,Study 6.
Study 7: Meta-Analysis. We were interested in quantifying the size of
the effect of political orientation on proenvironmental attitudes and
behaviors as a function of temporal comparison across our studies.
To this end, we submitted effect sizes from all studies (with the ex-
ception of 4a) to a mixed-effects meta-analysis. Although conserva-
tives were less proenvironmental than liberals overall (d=0.54, P<
0.001), this difference was modified by temporal comparison (β=
0.64, P=0.01). Conservatives were less proenvironmental than lib-
erals in the future-focused and control conditions (d=0.82, P<
0.0001), but this difference was attenuated and was no longer statis-
tically significant in the past-focused conditions (d=0.19, P=0.35).
Past comparisons largely bridged the political divide in addressing
global warming and climate change observed in the future-focused
and control conditions.
Conservative ideology emerged from a resistance to progressive
change, and thus a central feature of conservativespsychology is a
preference for the past over the future. On this basis, we predicted
and found that past-focused environmental comparisons are more
effective in convincing conservatives of the need to act against climate
change. In fact, the meta-analysis showed that past comparisons
bridged the political gap in our studies by 77% on average. In some
cases, the political divide was even reversedconservatives liked
past-focused environmental appeals more than liberals did (study 1)
and allocated more money than liberals to past-focused environ-
mental charities (study 6). One limitation of this research is that we
relied on relatively small samples drawn from Amazon MTurk. We
welcome research to replicate these findings in a large-scale, na-
tionally representative sample. Doing so also would be helpful in
determining how large an impact a temporal-framing intervention
could have in a naturalistic setting.
Our findings align with a strong tradition in social psychology and
social cognition demonstrating the influence of framing on attitudes.
Even subtle differences in framing can mean the difference between
acceptance and rejection of a message (28). Messages that are sup-
ported by scientific evidence are especially effective when acceptance
of the message also means that ones personal values can be upheld
(29, 30). Messages concerning global warming and climate change are
no exception: They need to be tailored with great care (3133). In-
deed, over the last several years the message of climate change has
been framed in many waysfrom fatalistic predictions about the
future to calls for social progress (33). However, our research suggests
that these messages will not be as effective in bridging the political
divide if they continue to make future-focused comparisons. Para-
doxically, it is the past that may be critical in saving the future.
Fig. 5. Study 6. Conservatives donate more to the past-focused charity than
to the future-focused charity, while the opposite is the case for liberals. Error
bars represent SEs.
| Baldwin and Lammers
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. We thank the members of the Social Cognition Cen-
ter Cologne and in particular the Mussweiler laboratory for feedback on this
research. This research was funded by a Junior Start-Up Grant awarded by
the Center for Social and Economic Behavior, University of Cologne.
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Baldwin and Lammers PNAS Early Edition
... Relatedly, Baldwin and Lammers (2016) performed six studies to examine whether conservatives' unwillingness to act against climate change was possibly due to fundamental differences in conservatives' and liberals' temporal focus (focus relating to time). Through these studies, they demonstrated that conservatives were positively impacted by past-focused environmental comparisons and not by futurefocused comparisons. ...
... Both emphasized negative environmental damage over time; but the past-topresent frame depicted this issue as "already occurring" (it has happened in the past) and the present-to-future frame depicted this issue as something that might happen someday (it has not happened yet). These images were provided by researchers who successfully used them in related published work (Baldwin & Lammers, 2016). The four posts were identical in appearance, with only the changes to the captions and images differing between them. ...
... However, this is still a promising result, as it suggests that the framing of a message can indeed encourage non-liberals to demonstrate pro-environmental attitudes to some degree considering there was an effect on these variables. This result fits within the context of past literature as Baldwin and Lammers (2016) also found that conservatives were more positively impacted by past-focused environmental comparisons and not by future-focused comparisons. This may be because priming non-liberals to think about the past could be an approach that aligns with conservative values. ...
... Emerging research suggests that conventional message framing, i.e., advocating for climate policies in ways that mostly appeal to the liberal side of the political spectrum, may drive and exacerbate the political divide [Lammers & Baldwin, 2018;Graham et al., 2009;Baldwin & Lammers, 2016;Feinberg & Willer, 2013]. The lower support of conservatives for climate policies may partly stem from these differences in message framing rather than from fundamental differences in conviction about how to react to climate change [Van Boven et al., 2018]. ...
... In the present research, we revisit research on temporal message framing [i.e., past vs. future framing; Baldwin and Lammers, 2016;Lammers & Baldwin, 2018] which found past framings to selectively increase conservatives' environmentalism. However, these original findings were not replicated in several recent attempts [Stanley et al., 2021;Kim et al., 2021]. ...
... Research has suggested that temporal framings are another promising strategy of increasing conservatives' support of traditionally more liberal (climate) policies. Throughout a series of studies, conservatives more strongly endorsed liberal political goals as diverse as leniency in justice, gun control, immigration, social diversity, social justice, and climate change mitigation when the political goals were framed with references to the past rather than to the future [Lammers & Baldwin, 2018;Baldwin & Lammers, 2016]. For example, one study showed that conservatives reported higher attitudes towards protecting the environment after reading a message advocating to combat climate change to reestablish the past, as compared to a message advocating to combat climate change to build a better future [Baldwin & Lammers, 2016]. ...
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Bridging the political divide between liberals and conservatives is one of the biggest challenges in reaching broad public support of climate policies. Research has suggested that framing climate policies with respect to the past may reduce opposition by political conservatives, but recent attempts to replicate this effect have failed. A new perspective on these inconsistent findings may be offered by taking the influence of temporal framing on individuals' perception of the messenger into account. The present work investigated how implicit cues contained in temporal message framing as well as explicit political identity cues shape the perceived political orientation of a messenger and subsequent climate policy support by partisans. Across three experiments (Ntotal = 2012), we found that past (vs. future) framing and conservative (vs. liberal) party affiliation independently contributed to the messenger being perceived as more conservative. Past framing and conservative party affiliation increased endorsement of the messenger and the message by conservatives, but decreased endorsement by liberals. However, past framing and conservative party affiliation independently increased conservatives’ climate policy support, with mixed effects on liberals. Moreover, a temporal framing effect only emerged when messenger party affiliation was made explicit, suggesting that activating individuals' political identity facilitates the integration of implicit identity cues contained in temporal framings. We discuss the theoretical implications of our integrated account for the observation of partisan effects and reassess the potential of temporal framings to reduce the political divide on climate change.
... 6 yes yes 7) Comparisons and moral psychology Fleischmann et al. (2021) Exp. 2b/4b yes yes 8) Comparisons and political psychology Baldwin and Lammers (2016) no no No effects. People not only contrast a given judgement away from a standard but also assimilate judgements towards a standard (Simmons et al., 2010;Strack & Mussweiler, 1997). ...
... Figure 12 shows the comparison. Based on this insight, we explored whether conservatives' and liberals' support for political ideas depends on the temporal comparisons made in those ideas (Baldwin & Lammers, 2016). Any political plan can be framed as a return to the past. ...
... To test this, we conducted a series of six studies focusing on proenvironmentalism -a stereotypically liberal issue in the USA. For example, in one study, we (Baldwin & Lammers, 2016, Study 6) created descriptions of two fictional charities and asked participants to distribute money (i.e., 50 US cents) between those charities. We recruited 194 Americans online (82 female, 112 male; M age = 37.76, SD age = 12.17; 55% self-identified liberal, 45% self-identified conservative). ...
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A key challenge for social psychology is to identify unifying principles that account for the complex dynamics of social behaviour. We propose psychological relativity and its core mechanism of comparison as one such unifying principle. To support our proposal, we review recent evidence investigating basic processes underlying and novel applications of social comparisons. Specifically, we clarify determinants of assimilation and contrast, evaluative consequences of comparing similarities vs. differences, attitudinal effects of spatial relativity, and how spatial arrangements determine perceived similarity, one of the antecedents of social comparisons. We then move to behavioural relativity effects on motivation and self-regulation, as well as imitation behaviour. Finally, we address relativity within the more applied areas of morality and political psychology. The reviewed research thereby illustrates how unifying principles of social cognition may be instrumental in answering old questions and discovering new phenomena and explanations.
... The narrative has been shown to be a vital component of eliciting emotion (Damasio 1994;Cooper and Nisbet 2016) by moving away from abstract concepts to immediate, personal effects and so removing 'psychological distance' and heightening character identification and 'transportation' while reducing counterarguing in abstract terms (van Laer et al., 2014;van der Linden, Maibach and Leiserowitz 2015;Dennison, 2021). Storytelling done by down-to-earth and relatable characters have been shown to be especially effective (Baldwin and Lammers 2016). When Gustafson et al. (2020) compared the effects of a North Carolina sportsman's personal account of how climate change has already affected the places he loves, it was shown to affect the climate change beliefs and risk perceptions of political moderates and conservatives, with the effect resulting from feelings of worry and compassion. ...
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Emotions are regularly cited as vital components of effective strategic communication. However, there is relatively little guidance about how emotions should be used. Eliciting emotions is key to persuasion because attitudes have a cognitive and emotive component, with predictable physiological outcomes that make messages more resonant and impactful on behaviour, supporting policy objectives. This article shows that communicators—in the field of migration and beyond—should choose their campaign’s emotional frame according to their desired physiological and behavioural reaction. This article applies the emotion schema of Plutchik to offer 32 separate emotions and their theorised physiological reactions, examples of stimuli, and behavioural societal effects. Furthermore, emotional outcomes can be altered via narratives, frames, personal-based messages, facial expressions and body language, aesthetics, ordering (‘emotional flow’), intensities, and combinations. Finally, the limits of emotion-based communication—not least the ‘appeal to emotion’ logical fallacy—and how to overcome those limits—grounding emotion-based communication in facts, values, identities, and efficacy—are considered. Emotion-based communication in the field of migration, although widely used, is largely untested so communicators should test different approaches but also can take lessons from fields such as corporate, health, and climate change communication.
... Can perspective taking between future of work actors with different individual difference profiles be increased through transdisciplinary collaboration? (Reinig & Borda, 2023) Narrative policy framework (Jones et al., 2014) Epistemic authority (Aytac & Rossi, 2022) Framing analysis (Cornelissen & Werner, 2014) Paradigmatic thinking (Béland & Cox, 2013) Biased assimilation (Jones & Crow, 2017) Distant-future inaction (Marshall, 2015) Emotions in science communication (Chapman et al., 2017) Motivated reasoning (Slothuus & De Vreese, 2010) Attraction-Selection-Attrition (Schneider et al., 2000) Identity cues (Hart & Nisbet, 2012) Perspective taking (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000) Polarization (Baldwin & Lammers, 2016) ...
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Across two datasets—a corpus of 485 print media articles and a multi-actor survey of Tech/Innovation experts, Authors/Journalists, Economy/Labor Market experts, Policy Makers/Public Administrators, and Engaged Citizens (N=570)—we build the case that the future of work is a fiction, not a fact; or better yet, a series of competing fictions prescribing what the future will or should look like. Using an abductive and curiosity-driven mixed-method analysis process we demonstrate that different narratives about the future of work stand in direct relation to specific actors in the public debate, both through framing tactics used by narrators in the media, and through political and dispositional processes of narrative subscription. From these findings, we infer that research on the future of work is in need of a paradigm shift: from ‘predictions’ to ‘imaginaries’. This, we argue, will help counter deterministic and depoliticized understandings of the future of work. We propose an integration of theory around framing contests, field frames, narrative subscription, and corresponsive mechanisms to offer a plausible account of our empirical discoveries and develop an agenda for further research. As the practical implications of our research show, the future of work does not need to be something that happens ‘to us’—instead, the future can be what we ‘make it’.
... A final method is to frame environmental messages with conservative worldviews, particularly manipulating temporal comparison and morals. Baldwin and Lammers (2016) found that past-focused messaging was more effective than future-focused messaging in promoting conservatives' pro-environmental ism, although other researchers recently failed to replicate some of their findings (Kim et al., 2021;Stanley et al., 2021). Also, a growing number of studies found that environ mental messages emphasising binding morals-loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and purity/degradation morals-were more effective in reducing the political polarisation on pro-environmentalism than environmental messages emphasising individualising morals -care/harm and fairness/cheating morals (Feinberg & Willer, 2013;Hurst & Stern, 2020;Wolsko et al., 2016). ...
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Past studies indicated that environmental messages incorporating binding morals (i.e., loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, purity/degradation) were effective in reducing the negative association between political conservatism and pro-environmentalism. We conceptually replicated and extended this finding through open science practices. In a pilot study, we constructed three environmental messages incorporating each binding moral based on previous relevant studies, and confirmed their validity (96 U.S. adults, 50% women). We then investigated the independent effects of these binding moral messages on pro-environmentalism across the political spectrum (705 U.S. adults, 56.6% women). Contrasting with our expectations and previous findings, we found no evidence that these environmental messages emphasising distinct binding morals were more effective than a control environmental message in attenuating the political polarisation on conservation intentions and willingness to receive more information about environmental protection. Simply adding binding morals content in environmental messaging may not be useful in promoting conservatives’ pro-environmental engagement. We further discuss future research as well as the limitations of this research.
A short‐term obstacle to united political action to fight climate change in various countries is opposition to pro‐environmental policies among conservatives. Three preregistered studies test the hypothesis that because conservatives have a higher need for closure than liberals (Hypothesis 1), framing pro‐environmental policies in a way that appeals to the need for closure, reduces conservatives’ opposition to these policies (Hypothesis 2). Study 1 confirms Hypothesis 1. Next, two studies test Hypothesis 2 and find that conservatives are less opposed to pro‐environmental policies proposed by a politician (Study 2) or an NGO (Study 3) if these policies are framed in a way that appeals to the need for closure, while the opposite is the case for liberals. Across these two studies, we also test the underlying process but find no evidence for the idea that differences in need for closure mediate the effect (Hypothesis 3a). Instead, the effect is primarily driven by inferences about group membership and ingroup bias (Hypothesis 3b, non‐preregistered). That is, these data suggest that framing policies to appeal to closure needs reduces conservatives’ opposition because they infer that the policy is proposed by a fellow conservative.
Collective nostalgia is a form of nostalgia that is contingent upon thinking of oneself in terms of a particular social identity. Research has focused in particular on collective nostalgia for a nation's past. Here, I propose that conservatives and others on the right side of the political spectrum experience stronger collective nostalgia for their nation's past than liberals and those on the left. I first explain the roots of this prediction in conservative political philosophy, review empirical evidence in favor of that idea, and summarize findings that show the significance of this link for policy support. Finally, I review and discuss evidence that qualifies the link between conservatism and collective nostalgia.
Western conservatives are more focused on the past than are liberals: They experience stronger cultural pessimism and nostalgically yearn back for past society. We test the hypothesis that this ideological difference reflects long-term national-historical developments, by comparing ideological differences in the United States and Türkiye. Using archival data, Study 1 confirms that whereas U.S. society over the last century moved in a liberal direction, Turkish society recently shifted toward greater conservatism. Consistent with predictions, Studies 2 and 3 show that the relationship between political ideology and cultural pessimism is reversed in Türkiye, compared with the United States. Partially consistent with predictions, in both studies, the link between ideology and a nostalgic yearning for the past is attenuated (and essentially blocked) in Türkiye, although not reversed, compared with the United States. Together, these findings suggest that ideological differences in pessimism and nostalgia reflect, at least partially, objective differences in national-historical development.
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Message matching refers to the design and distribution of persuasive messages such that message features (e.g., the themes emphasized) align with characteristics of the target audience (e.g., their personalities). Motivational message matching is a form of this technique that seeks to enhance persuasion by matching specifically to differences in motivational characteristics (e.g., salient goals, needs, values). Despite widespread use of motivational matching, there is little understanding of how and when to use it. We conducted a preregistered (PROSPERO CRD42019116688; systematic review and three-level meta-analysis of 702 experimental studies on motivational matching (synthesizing 5,251 effect sizes from N = 206,482). Studies were inclusive of publications until December 2018, and primarily identified using APA PsycInfo, MEDLINE, and Scopus. We evaluate moderation using meta-regressions, and provide bias assessments (sensitivity analyses, funnel plots). Motivational matching increases persuasion by an average of r = .20 (95% CI: .18, .22) as assessed by differences in attitudes, intentions, self-reported behavior, and observed behavior, relative to comparison conditions. This effect is larger than previously observed for other message matching approaches (e.g., message tailoring, message framing) which usually average r < .10. Although motivational matching can effectively improve persuasion, its effects are also marked by meaningful heterogeneity. Notably, motivational matching effects are largest when matching to contextual factors (than to individual differences), when compared to messages that conflict with people’s motivations, and when target characteristics are manipulated rather than assessed. Through this review, we develop and evaluate theoretical propositions that inform the optimization of motivational matching.
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Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is an increasingly popular tool for the recruitment of research subjects. While there has been much focus on the demographic differences between MTurk samples and the national public, we know little about whether liberals and conservatives recruited from MTurk share the same psychological dispositions as their counterparts in the mass public. In the absence of such evidence, some have argued that the selection process involved in joining MTurk invalidates the subject pool for studying questions central to political science. In this paper, we evaluate this claim by comparing a large MTurk sample to two benchmark national samples – one conducted online and one conducted face-to-face. We examine the personality and value-based motivations of political ideology across the three samples. All three samples produce substantively identical results with only minor variation in effect sizes. In short, liberals and conservatives in our MTurk sample closely mirror the psychological divisions of liberals and conservatives in the mass public, though MTurk liberals hold more characteristically liberal values and attitudes than liberals from representative samples. Overall, our results suggest that MTurk is a valid recruitment tool for psychological research on political ideology.
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As Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) has surged in popularity throughout political science, scholars have increasingly challenged the external validity of inferences made drawing upon MTurk samples. At workshops and conferences experimental and survey-based researchers hear questions about the demographic characteristics, political preferences, occupation, and geographic location of MTurk respondents. In this paper we answer these questions and present a number of novel results. By introducing a new benchmark comparison for MTurk surveys, the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, we compare the joint distributions of age, gender, and race among MTurk respondents within the United States. In addition, we compare political, occupational, and geographical information about respondents from MTurk and CCES. Throughout the paper we show several ways that political scientists can use the strengths of MTurk to attract respondents with specific characteristics of interest to best answer their substantive research questions.
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Dunlap and Van Liere's New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) Scale, published in 1978, has become a widely used measure of proenvironmental orientation. This article develops a revised NEP Scale designed to improve upon the original one in several respects: ( 1 ) It taps a wider range of facets of an ecological worldview, ( 2 ) It offers a balanced set of pro- and anti-NEP items, and ( 3 ) It avoids outmoded terminology. The new scale, termed the New Ecological Paradigm Scale, consists of 15 items. Results of a 1990 Washington State survey suggest that the items can be treated as an internally consistent summated rating scale and also indicate a modest growth in pro-NEP responses among Washington residents over the 14 years since the original study.
Widespread political polarization on issues related to environmental conservation may be partially explained by the chronic framing of persuasive messages in ideological and moral terms that hold greater appeal for liberals and egalitarians. A series of three experiments examined the extent to which variations in the moral framing of pro-environmental messaging affect liberals' vs. conservatives' conservation intentions, climate change attitudes, and donations to an environmental organization. While liberals did not generally differ across conditions, conservatives shifted substantially in the pro-environmental direction after exposure to a binding moral frame, in which protecting the natural environment was portrayed as a matter of obeying authority, defending the purity of nature, and demonstrating one's patriotism to the United States. This shift was pronounced when conservatives perceived the congruent appeal to be a stronger argument. Evidence of mediated moderation is also presented, in which the attitudinal and behavioral shifts for conservatives were a function of the degree to which the values present in the pro-environmental appeal were perceived as coming from the ingroup. Discussion focuses on future directions for more precisely specifying moral framing effects, and on considering the pros and cons of targeted messaging for the sustainability of environmental attitude change.
In our article entitled “The Social Bases of Environmental Concern: A Review of Hypotheses, Explanations and Empirical Evidence” (POQ 44:181–97), two rows of correlations were reversed in Table 1. Under the study by Van Liere and Dunlap, 1978, figures for the environmental funding scale appear where figures for the environmental regulations scale should be, and vice versa. We regret the error and hope it has not caused undue confusion for anyone using these data.
We examine the trade-offs associated with using's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) interface for subject recruitment. We first describe MTurk and its promise as a vehicle for performing low-cost and easy-to-field experiments. We then assess the internal and external validity of experiments performed using MTurk, employing a framework that can be used to evaluate other subject pools. We first investigate the characteristics of samples drawn from the MTurk population. We show that respondents recruited in this manner are often more representative of the U.S. population than in-person convenience samples-the modal sample in published experimental political science-but less representative than subjects in Internet-based panels or national probability samples. Finally, we replicate important published experimental work using MTurk samples. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology. All rights reserved.