With climate change looming, what must people hear to convince them to change their ways to stop harming the environment?
With climate change looming, what must people hear to convince them to change their ways to stop harming the environment? A new Johns Hopkins University study finds stories to be significantly more motivating than scientific facts—at least for some people.
After hearing a compelling pollution-related story in which a man died, the average person paid more for green products than after having heard scientific facts about water pollution. But the average person in the study was a Democrat. Republicans paid less after hearing the story rather than the simple facts.
The findings, published this week in the journal One Earth, suggest message framing makes a real difference in people's actions toward the environment. It also suggests there is no monolithic best way to motivate people and policymakers must work harder to tailor messages for specific audiences.
"Our findings suggest the power of storytelling may be more like preaching to the choir," said co-author Paul J. Ferraro, an evidence-based environmental policy expert and the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Human Behavior and Public Policy at Johns Hopkins. "For those who are not already leaning toward environmental action, stories might actually make things worse."
Read more at Johns Hopkins University
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