Creating a climate for change: Interventions, efficacy and public discussion about climate change

Nathaniel Geiger, Janet K. Swim, John Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Interpersonal discussions about climate change among the public are important for creating positive social change to addressing the issue, yet a majority of the public does not regularly discuss the topic. Previous correlational research connects avoidance of climate change discussions to low efficacy about these discussions. The present research tests whether a knowledge-based intervention which 1) uses evidence-based communication techniques to increase science knowledge and 2) highlights community-level solutions can promote public discussion through improving efficacy beliefs. A lab experiment (N = 173) with university students and a field quasi-experiment with two nationally representative samples of visitors to informal science learning centers (e.g., aquariums, Na = 1068, Nb = 907) demonstrates that those that received a knowledge-based intervention (vs. those who do not receive this intervention) report higher efficacy beliefs, which subsequently enhance engagement in climate change discussion. Our results suggest the potential for national-level knowledge-based interventions which improve efficacy beliefs to catalyze public engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-116
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume51
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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