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

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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.

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APA

Geiger, N., Swim, J. K., & Fraser, J. (2017). Creating a climate for change: Interventions, efficacy and public discussion about climate change. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 51, 104–116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2017.03.010

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