Extant communication and social movement theory suggests that sociopolitical actors can frame issues effectively via the realization of four functions: defining an issue as a problem, blaming a cause, suggesting solutions, and invoking a moral appeal. Though these functions are theorized to be necessary at the societal level, no prior research has tested directly the efficacy of these functions, when included in communicative messages, in affecting individuals' interpretations about a sociopolitical issue. The experiment described in this article indicated that the “blame” function was particularly influential when included in a strategic message from a pro-environmental social movement organization (SMO). Also, while there was a modest, though statistically insignificant, indication that the inclusion of all functions within a message could be beneficial, the inclusion of specific functions without others elicited a boomerang effect in which respondents actually demonstrated significantly lower alignment with the SMO's position.
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