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Spatial framing, existing associations, and climate change

Brügger, Adrian and Pidgeon, Nicholas ORCID: 2018. Spatial framing, existing associations, and climate change. Environmental Values 27 (5) , pp. 559-584. 10.3197/096327118X15321668325966

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Tailoring climate change messages to a particular spatial scale (e.g. a specific country or region) is often seen as an effective way to frame communication about climate change. Yet the empirical evidence for the effectiveness of this strategy is scarce, and little is known about how recipients react to spatially-framed climate change messages. To learn more about the effects and usefulness of different spatial frames as a communication and engagement tool, we conducted a study in which we presented members of the general public with either a national or a global framing of climate change. In contrast to previous spatial-framing studies, the present research used semi-structured interviews - rather than survey questions - to obtain rich, in-depth information about participants' views of climate change. Irrespective of the framing, participants revealed associations that were located at various spatial scales. Moreover, when participants talked about climate change, they repeatedly switched between different spatial scales, revealing patterns that were consistent with seeking to preserve existing beliefs and preferences. These findings improve our understanding of how the public represents climate change, and provide a novel explanation as to why simple spatial framing often fails to achieve the anticipated effects.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: White Horse Press
ISSN: 0963-2719
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 August 2018
Date of Acceptance: 14 September 2017
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 10:04

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