Changing minds about climate change policy can be done—sometimes

Jun 24, 2013 by Jeff Grabmeier

Some open-minded people can be swayed to support government intervention on climate change – but only if they are presented with both the benefits and the costs, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that those who were open-minded didn't change their view if they heard arguments for only one side of the issue.

People who are relatively more closed-minded did not change their mind regardless of the messages they received, or what their original views were. There was also no evidence of open-minded people becoming less supportive of government intervention, no matter if they heard both sides of the argument or only one.

" is such a polarizing issue that has received so much attention, so it is very difficult to influence people to change their opinion," said Erik Nisbet, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

"But our results suggest there are ways to approach the issue that may have some impact, at least for a segment of the public."

The study appears online in the Journal of Communication and will be published in a future print edition.

The study involved a nationally of people who participated online. First, filled out a asking a variety of questions and seeing where they stood on government intervention in climate change.

Four weeks later, the participants watched either one or two short videos that took sides on whether the government should take action to reduce the . Some saw only a video for or against government action, while others saw both pro and con videos.

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"In the real world, people are getting multiple competing messages on all kinds of important issues. We wanted to have an experiment where we could compare people who are exposed to one side of an argument to those who saw two sides in our videos," Nisbet said.

But it is not just the messages themselves that determine people's attitudes. Nisbet and his colleagues also measured a key individual difference in people – how open- or closed-minded they are when grappling with an issue like climate change.

The researchers used several questions from an often-used and validated psychological test to determine open-mindedness. Participants were asked how much they agreed with statements like "Even after I have made up my mind about something, I am always eager to consider a different opinion."

After viewing either one or two videos, the participants were asked again – as they were four weeks earlier – about their views on government intervention on climate change.

Nisbet said it wasn't surprising that there wasn't much change in most people's views on the issue. But there was that interesting interaction in which open-minded people became more supportive of – if they saw videos both for and against intervention.

"I think a lot of people would expect seeing both the pro and con videos would leave viewers unchanged in their views, because the messages would cancel each other out," Nisbet said.

"But that wasn't true for open-minded people. Seeing both videos seemed to stimulate them to think more about both sides of the issue, and lead them to the side they thought had the better argument."

The results suggest that climate change denialists may be less effective in swaying public opinion than many scientists and advocates fear, and may even hurt their own cause among those who are most open-minded, according to Nisbet.

"Some people, when they hear both sides, will more carefully deliberate the tradeoffs of climate change policies and actually become more supportive of government efforts to mitigate the problem."

However, some findings of the study suggest changing the minds of closed-minded people may not be hopeless, Nisbet said.

The researchers asked participants how they viewed the costs versus the benefits of government action on climate change, both before and after they watched the video or videos.

The results showed that open-minded people are willing to consider the benefits of changing the status quo, while closed-minded people focus on the dangers of changing and were more likely to support maintaining the status quo.

This suggests that closed-minded people may be influenced by messages that focus on how government approaches to climate change may preserve the status quo by, for instance, protecting our lifestyle or nation's economic status.

"That approach still needs to be tested, but there is promise there," he said.

Explore further: Coastal defences could contribute to flooding with sea-level rise

More information: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journa… 1111/(ISSN)1460-2466

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freethinking
1.8 / 5 (25) Jun 24, 2013
So believing in AGW you must be open minded, but not believing it means you are closed minded, unless you believe it when these unbiased so call scientists provide what they consider evidence that shows AGW is true.

All these so called scientist proved is that fools can believe in AGW IF they are lied to effectively. But then closed minded AGW proponents, even when presented with truth, never will believe anything other than what their High Priest Al Gore says.
Maggnus
4.1 / 5 (18) Jun 24, 2013
The results suggest that climate change denialists may be less effective in swaying public opinion than many scientists and advocates fear, and may even hurt their own cause among those who are most open-minded, according to Nisbet.


Seems about right. Those who come honestly looking for answers usually find themselves agreeing with the majority. It is only those who come with their mind already made up that continually debate the issue, usually with zombie arguments.

As more and more scientists find in their own experiments that global warming is real, happening right now, and likely to lead to devastating consequence, there is less and less credible science arguing the other way. That is partly why the zombie arguments remain; there is nothing new to use. The other part is those using such arguments are unable to see past what they've already decided.

Interesting study!
PeterParker
3.4 / 5 (21) Jun 24, 2013
"So believing in AGW you must be open minded, but not believing it means you are closed minded," - FreeTard

That isn't what the article says, but the closed minded will interpret it that way.

Closed minds can't be educated.

We have long noted that you are incapable of learning.
PeterParker
3.5 / 5 (20) Jun 24, 2013
"All these so called scientist proved is that fools can believe in AGW IF they are lied to effectively." - FreeTard

How sad it is that although you have been repeatedly told that "proof" has no place in science, you persist in using the term as if it did.

You are incapable of learning.
watch_closely
1.8 / 5 (20) Jun 24, 2013
Is this a joke? This editor puts up such unvalidated conjecture and FAILS to place the questions asked of the participants in this "win the hearts and minds" babble.

LETS SEE THE QUESTIONS ASKED. What's that? Yea, I thought so.....
Maggnus
3.9 / 5 (15) Jun 24, 2013
LETS SEE THE QUESTIONS ASKED. What's that? Yea, I thought so.....


Is this a joke? What difference does it make what questions were asked? Do you understand this study has nothing to do with climate?
ekim
3.4 / 5 (13) Jun 25, 2013
My insurance company certainly believes in climate change. That's what people believe when cold hard cash is on the line.
deepsand
3 / 5 (22) Jun 25, 2013
So believing in AGW you must be open minded, but not believing it means you are closed minded, unless you believe it when these unbiased so call scientists provide what they consider evidence that shows AGW is true.

All these so called scientist proved is that fools can believe in AGW IF they are lied to effectively. But then closed minded AGW proponents, even when presented with truth, never will believe anything other than what their High Priest Al Gore says.

free_of_thinking is like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.
ScooterG
1.9 / 5 (22) Jun 25, 2013
So believing in AGW you must be open minded, but not believing it means you are closed minded, unless you believe it when these unbiased so call scientists provide what they consider evidence that shows AGW is true.

All these so called scientist proved is that fools can believe in AGW IF they are lied to effectively. But then closed minded AGW proponents, even when presented with truth, never will believe anything other than what their High Priest Al Gore says.

free_of_thinking is like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.


Isn't this the fourth or fifth time you've used this same stupid line?? Please give it a rest.
pantsonfire
1.8 / 5 (19) Jun 25, 2013
It seems authors here have picked a side which is "government intervention" whatever that means.

"Researchers found that those who were open-minded didn't change their view if they heard arguments for only one side of the issue."

Isn't that the definition of open-minded?

This isn't a study about the behavior of people. It's about how to sway the opinion of people. And worse than that, it's about how to sway opinion to a particular side. And the implicit jab is that if you can come to the "good" side, we'll call you open-minded and if you can't then you're closed minded.

"Climate change is such a polarizing issue..."

The irony here is that polarization in climate change issue occurs as the result articles/studies just like this one. It picks sides; a good side and a bad side.

This is not a good sign of the state of the higher level educational system.
freethinking
1.8 / 5 (21) Jun 25, 2013
DeepSand doesn't like the truth.
ScooterG
1.8 / 5 (23) Jun 25, 2013
Who can blame Big AGW for conducting this market/consumer study? Big AGW is simply trying to sell their wares and protect their industry - two vital tenets of capitalism.

But Big AGW, and Big Environmentalism in general, is discovering the marketplace is fickle and the competition brutal.

Gone are the days when you could ram a spotted owl-like hoax through uncontested.
geokstr
1.9 / 5 (22) Jun 25, 2013
free_of_thinking is like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.

Deepsand, I read every post here with a significant number of comments, and have done so for many years. In all that time, ever since you showed up, I cannot remember a single instance that a comment of yours was anything but a one or two-line vile personal attack on anyone you disagree with.

Do you ever contribute anything here?
freethinking
1.6 / 5 (21) Jun 25, 2013
Scooter.... I never thought of it that way. But you are right. Radical Environmentalism is Big business and is competing for 1. Government Money, and 2. Guilt offerings.

Understanding it that way clarifies a lot. How could Al Gore, who isn't dumb, keep spouting claims he should know is false..... To make money.

Radical Environmentalism is BIG Money and BIG business. They need good advertising and need a product to sell.
hemitite
2.1 / 5 (18) Jun 25, 2013
This has long ceased to be a scientific debate. The anthropogenic "global warming" thing has taken on the aspects of a great religious crusade, and no amount of uncertainty or contrary evidence can deflect its course until that course has, for better or worse, run.

AGW is, as the saying goes, is big to fail. As for the scientific consensuses, the deck is now so stacked against any sort of successful opposition to this hypnosis, and the sanctions so punitive, that cognitive dissidence takes care of most potential doubts.
Maggnus
3.7 / 5 (16) Jun 25, 2013
Scooter.... I never thought of it that way. But you are right. Radical Environmentalism is Big business and is competing for 1. Government Money, and 2. Guilt offerings.

Understanding it that way clarifies a lot. How could Al Gore, who isn't dumb, keep spouting claims he should know is false..... To make money.

Radical Environmentalism is BIG Money and BIG business. They need good advertising and need a product to sell.


Interesting take on the conspiracy. Imaginative, reactionary, with a lumping together of big business, government, environmentalism and "evil" scientific study.

And all totally in your head. Way to showcase the typical denialist mentality.
Maggnus
3.8 / 5 (16) Jun 25, 2013
It seems authors here have picked a side which is "government intervention" whatever that means.... blah blah blah......

No, that is not the definition of open minded. One who is open minded can listen to BOTH points of view. The only way you can so misinterpret an article is because you, yourself, are so closed-minded that you are only able to see the one side. You're exactly the type of person they are discussing.

Only you (and those like you) can read that article and come up with "they pick a good side and a bad side". Its a study about people, their attitudes and their ability to be swayed by reasoned argument from BOTH sides.

Jeepers give your head a shake, your eyes are stuck!!
Maggnus
3.8 / 5 (16) Jun 25, 2013
This has long ceased to be a scientific debate. The anthropogenic "global warming" thing has taken on the aspects of a great religious crusade, and no amount of uncertainty or contrary evidence can deflect its course until that course has, for better or worse, run.

This is simply not true. It can seem that way, I suppose, to someone who has not taken the time to actually study the issue, but even then I think it wold take someone who is as convinced the moon landings didn't happen or the towers were brought down by the Bush administration. There is nothing religious about it, and contrary evidence is WELCOMED!

AGW is, as the saying goes, is big to fail. As for the scientific consensuses, the deck is now so stacked against any sort of successful opposition to this hypnosis, and the sanctions so punitive, that cognitive dissidence takes care of most potential doubts.

And again, I call BS. Only someone who believes there is some conspiracy could take this position.
hemitite
2 / 5 (17) Jun 25, 2013
Maggnus,

You seem to make the same sort of assumptions as the folks that did the study referenced above: the opponents of the AGW faith are simply irrational and need to be brought into the light of truth. I am both an earth science guy and a history dwibe and thus may have some knowledge of both the scientific and social aspects of this phenomenon and am not an ideologue or an ignoramus with an agenda.

The point that I was trying to make didn't involve the truth or falsity of AGW, but that I see the social/institutional momentum of this crusade as being past the power of scientific falsifiability to in any way significantly influence its course.
pantsonfire
1.9 / 5 (18) Jun 25, 2013
@Magnuss: "Only you (and those like you) can read that article and come up with "they pick a good side and a bad side".

The use of "climate change denialists" is a clear indication one side is a "bad side". The use of "the side they thought had the better argument." is a clear indication one side is a "good side". Rational interpretation: skeptic case - "bad side", government intervention - "good side".

I'm not upset with the authors. Those instructions probably came stapled to the government grant cheque to write this study.
deepsand
3.1 / 5 (19) Jun 26, 2013
So believing in AGW you must be open minded, but not believing it means you are closed minded, unless you believe it when these unbiased so call scientists provide what they consider evidence that shows AGW is true.

All these so called scientist proved is that fools can believe in AGW IF they are lied to effectively. But then closed minded AGW proponents, even when presented with truth, never will believe anything other than what their High Priest Al Gore says.

free_of_thinking is like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.


Isn't this the fourth or fifth time you've used this same stupid line?? Please give it a rest.

I'll "give it a rest" when the idiots either learn to engage in rational discourse or shut up.

Deal with it.
deepsand
3 / 5 (18) Jun 26, 2013
DeepSand doesn't like the truth.

free_from_thinking doesn't know and/or can't tell the truth.
Maggnus
3.9 / 5 (15) Jun 26, 2013
@ Hemitite: Perhaps you are correct when you say I assume " the opponents of the AGW faith are simply irrational" in that I also assume the proponents of the Flat Earth Society or the opponents of evolution are simply irrational. To then suggest, however, that I wish to bring them "into the light of truth" is sophist; I could not possibly care less what they choose to believe. I will, however, take issue with any such poor deluded souls who have the audacity to come to a science site to spout their nonsense.

You say you are an Earth sciences guy and a history buff. There is less consensus among scientists that plate tectonics are an accurate description of earth processes than there is for the assertion that CO2 loading of the atmosphere by human caused processes is leading to warming of the planet. Do you agree that tectonics is a correct scientific theory?

Your very use of the terms "AGW faith" "light of truth" and "crusade" in your last post give proof to your actual agenda.
Maggnus
3.9 / 5 (15) Jun 26, 2013
@pantsonfire: The use of climate change and the attitudes of people on all sides of the debate is the perfect venue for a study like this one. You have a theory that some 97% of scientists of all disciplines agree is true that has been savaged by politicians and people with an agenda and the money to push their agenda. This has resulted in a gigantic disconnect for a good portion of the general public between what is scientifically accurate and what is ideologically presented.

The study focuses on the much larger group of those who claim to "oppose" (which is akin to "opposing" chaos theory btw) global warming that have the ability to consider the actual evidence, versus those who cling to their belief in the face of ANY evidence.

And once again, your use of the term "stapled to the government grant cheque" says far more about your agenda than most anything you said precedent to that term.
antigoracle
1.7 / 5 (22) Jun 27, 2013
What a waste of time and money.
ClimateGate is only the tip of the iceberg of evidence that confirms the lie, that is AGW, from the cult. Seek out the publishings of real climate scientists if you want the truth.
Maggnus
4 / 5 (16) Jun 27, 2013
Seek out the publishings of real climate scientists if you want the truth.


I agree. Too bad you can't follow your own advice.
freethinking
1.6 / 5 (21) Jun 27, 2013
funny how Hezbollah progressives such as Deepsand call me a liar, when they vote early and often and are known to use sock-puppets.

It's just as funny to see Profit Al Gore, flying on private jets, living in multiple mansions, driving massive vehicles, eating endangered animals, who's video is proven to be false, making money hands over fists by global warming schemes, while claiming that he cares for the environment, that he speaks the truth, and that everyone who disagrees with him is out to destroy the world, lying, money grubbers.

Progressives and Hypocrisy go together like Progressives and sex scandals, Progressives and Terrorists, Progressives and Perverts.
Maggnus
4.1 / 5 (17) Jun 27, 2013
I can't speak for deepsand, but I, myself, think you're a nutjob conspiracist carrying a chip on your shoulder the size of the Hoover dam. Your take on the conspiracy isn't novel in any way, just the same old pile of parroted jargon you heard someone else say.

You should try living up to your handle. Might get you somewhere, once you've grown up.

deepsand
3.4 / 5 (20) Jun 28, 2013
funny how Hezbollah progressives such as Deepsand call me a liar, when they vote early and often and are known to use sock-puppets.

It's just as funny to see Profit Al Gore, flying on private jets, living in multiple mansions, driving massive vehicles, eating endangered animals, who's video is proven to be false, making money hands over fists by global warming schemes, while claiming that he cares for the environment, that he speaks the truth, and that everyone who disagrees with him is out to destroy the world, lying, money grubbers.

Progressives and Hypocrisy go together like Progressives and sex scandals, Progressives and Terrorists, Progressives and Perverts.

You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence.
deepsand
3.3 / 5 (19) Jun 28, 2013
What a waste of time and money.
ClimateGate is only the tip of the iceberg of evidence that confirms the lie, that is AGW, from the cult. Seek out the publishings of real climate scientists if you want the truth.

AO is like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete..
VENDItardE
1.2 / 5 (19) Jun 29, 2013
free_of_thinking is like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.

Deepsand, I read every post here with a significant number of comments, and have done so for many years. In all that time, ever since you showed up, I cannot remember a single instance that a comment of yours was anything but a one or two-line vile personal attack on anyone you disagree with.

Do you ever contribute anything here?


deepsand is just another of VendicarE's many sockpuppets...like peterparker,maggnus......
deepsand
3.3 / 5 (16) Jun 30, 2013
free_of_thinking is like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.

Deepsand, I read every post here with a significant number of comments, and have done so for many years. In all that time, ever since you showed up, I cannot remember a single instance that a comment of yours was anything but a one or two-line vile personal attack on anyone you disagree with.

Do you ever contribute anything here?


deepsand is just another of VendicarE's many sockpuppets...like peterparker,maggnus.

You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence.
Maggnus
4.3 / 5 (11) Jun 30, 2013
deepsand is just another of VendicarE's many sockpuppets...like peterparker,maggnus......


You wish! What a maroon!!

HAHAHAHA seriously what an idiot!
freethinking
1.3 / 5 (14) Jun 30, 2013
VD how many sockpuppets do you have.... It looks like you are a typical Progressive, you love to vote, vote, vote, vote, vote as many times as necessary to win. Also typical Progressive you cannot win an argument so you resort to lying about who you are...

A progressive, someone who has no issues with multiple voting, lying, cheating.....
deepsand
2.8 / 5 (13) Jun 30, 2013
VD how many sockpuppets do you have.... It looks like you are a typical Progressive, you love to vote, vote, vote, vote, vote as many times as necessary to win. Also typical Progressive you cannot win an argument so you resort to lying about who you are...

A progressive, someone who has no issues with multiple voting, lying, cheating.....

You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence.
deepsand
2.8 / 5 (13) Jun 30, 2013
deepsand is just another of VendicarE's many sockpuppets...like peterparker,maggnus......

You wish! What a maroon!!

HAHAHAHA seriously what an idiot!

free_from_thinking seeks solace by deluding himself into believing that he's sparring with phantoms.