Environmental messages that promote a return to a positive past found to be more effective in convincing conservatives

December 13, 2016 by Bob Yirka report
Credit: Tiago Fioreze / Wikipedia

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers with the University of Cologne in Germany has found that phrasing pro-environmental messages in past-focused ways was received more warmly by people who described themselves as conservatives than messages that warned of future problems. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Matthew Baldwin and Joris Lammers describe the study they carried out with online volunteers and why they believe their results could have a real-world impact.

The scientific community has very strongly embraced the notion that our planet is heating up due to . Prior research has shown that people who identify as liberals have also embraced this theory, whereas those who describe themselves as conservatives have tended to be less convinced. In this new effort, the research pair have conducted a study that they believe shows a path toward convincing conservatives to get onboard as well. Their idea is that conservatives tend to take a brighter view of the past than other groups; thus, they might be receptive to arguments regarding global warming couched in more pro-past oriented ways, e.g., "Times were better when you could count on snow for Christmas in northern towns," or "We planted bulbs in the garden on the same spring day every year."

To test this idea, the enlisted the assistance of 1,600 online volunteers who were asked about their political ideology and then to read an environmental statement that was followed by a questionnaire. Volunteers were given different environmental statements to read. Some had dire warnings about future environmental disasters, while others painted a rosy picture of the past and suggested that there might be ways to bring back the "good old days."

In analyzing the answers given, the researchers found that those who identified as liberals offered the same levels of environmental concern regardless of which message they received, while those who identified as conservatives and read the pro-past statement rated themselves as more environmentally concerned than those who read the future-oriented message. In another experiment, the researchers asked volunteers to donate virtual funds to various causes after reading similar statements and found that conservatives tended to give more to environmental causes after reading pro-past statements.

The researchers suggest that offering conservatives more pro-past messages regarding climate change might convince many of them that efforts to make environmental changes are desirable.

Explore further: Moral values influence level of climate change action

More information: Matthew Baldwin et al. Past-focused environmental comparisons promote proenvironmental outcomes for conservatives, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1610834113

Abstract
Conservatives appear more skeptical about climate change and global warming and less willing to act against it than liberals. We propose that this unwillingness could result from fundamental differences in conservatives' and liberals' temporal focus. Conservatives tend to focus more on the past than do liberals. Across six studies, we rely on this notion to demonstrate that conservatives are positively affected by past- but not by future-focused environmental comparisons. Past comparisons largely eliminated the political divide that separated liberal and conservative respondents' attitudes toward and behavior regarding climate change, so that across these studies conservatives and liberals were nearly equally likely to fight climate change. This research demonstrates how psychological processes, such as temporal comparison, underlie the prevalent ideological gap in addressing climate change. It opens up a promising avenue to convince conservatives effectively of the need to address climate change and global warming.

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20 comments

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Zzzzzzzz
4.6 / 5 (10) Dec 13, 2016
This makes sense - conservatives are fearful people. Fearful people are terrified by change. Couch environmentalism as a means of crawling back into the womb and you've got them hooked.
antigoracle
2 / 5 (8) Dec 13, 2016
As reality continue to defy the AGW Cult and their Pathological "science" of doom and gloom, what is a desperate cult to do?
Well, borrow from that other infamous cult; the Church, and try a new lie...er...sermon.
gkam
3 / 5 (10) Dec 13, 2016
Okay, let's let them take us back to the Golden Years of Eisenhower. Those are the days for which they pine.

We had two tax brackets above 90% in those Golden Days. And we still lynched blacks as desired. Yup, conservatism was in bloom in the South.

Eisenhower sent five vice-presidents of our biggest corporations to prison for price-fixing. Want to bet you will ever see that again?

Eisenhower never bragged about his love life, nor grabbed anybody by the Pu$$y.
dogbert
2.5 / 5 (8) Dec 13, 2016
When the left cannot sell their message, they never question the message. Instead they study how to market the message. This article is all about how the left can sell AGW. That is why they don't say anthropogenic global warming anymore. Instead they say climate change when they mean AGW because they think they can sell the product better in the shiny new package.
WhyQuestionScience
5 / 5 (7) Dec 13, 2016
@dogbert, I am truly curious. Do you think all scientists are liberal? Do you think that 97% (the percentage of scientists that believe climate change is real) of the world's (not just the US, but the world) scientists are in on some kind of charade to trick you into believing climate change is real? What benefit would this present for them?

Lastly, something I truly struggle with understanding with arguments such as you have presented, why do you believe in other science facts such as gravity and the world being round and also enjoy using technological advances made by scientists such as computers,mobile devices, cars, etc. but think that somehow when it comes to this, they are wrong?
dogbert
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 13, 2016
WhyQuestionScience,
Science should be questioned. That is part of the scientific method.

When a scientist or scientists say "Don't question this!", you should immediately severely question it.

A political agenda is not science even when scientists promote it.
BackBurner
2 / 5 (8) Dec 13, 2016
Do you think that 97% (the percentage of scientists that believe climate change is real)


Why do you people keep writing this junk? How many times do you need to have your nose rubbed in the complete idiocy this is?

Marketing isn't science. This article is about marketing, specifically how to most effectively persuade other people to adopt your worldview/opinion/theory/position/policy etc. It's about marketing, not science.

It's pitiful to see something that calls itself a science devolve into hucksterism and snake oil merchandising.

Lastly, something I truly struggle with understanding...


It seems you have difficulty understanding quite a few things. Don't expect other people to help you.
gkam
3 / 5 (8) Dec 13, 2016
How do you reach fearful and uneducated people?

These poor folk just assume scientists have the same ethics as businessmen and salesmen and real estate moguls. Not true. Unlike real estate, lying by hucksters is death in science.

Getting these folk to believe others have better character is not going to work.
Captain Stumpy
4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 13, 2016
@dog
Science should be questioned
it always is - that's how it progresses
When a scientist or scientists say "Don't question this!", you should immediately severely question it
scientists aren't saying "do'nt question this"... they're saying "you're stupid because you're ignoring the evidence"
A political agenda is not science even when scientists promote it
most climate scientists aren't promoting a political agenda, only the evidence
in fact, there is only the evidence (overwhelmingly so) that directly supports the conclusions of the AGW science

and the fact that you ignore it only in this particular topic specifically indicates a serious cognitive bias due to political motivations and nothing more

which is in itself rather interesting - why ignore climate science that is repeatedly validated when you don't ignore the physics which directly supports the claims?
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (9) Dec 13, 2016
@bb
Marketing isn't science
no one said it was
how to most effectively persuade other people to adopt your worldview/opinion/theory/position/policy etc
actually, no

its more about how to get people to actually open their eyes and see the evidence for themselves instead of clinging to their political, religious or other biases which are known to be wrong

there is empirical evidence that people ignore facts just to cling to beliefs: http://journals.p....0075637

any religion also demonstrates this simple fact

so how do you convince someone stuck in their delusion to open their eyes and see reality?

that is what the article is about

not about promoting propaganda or forcing a belief on someone

there is no "belief" in science - there is evidence
and the evidence says AGW and warming is real
period

Zzzzzzzz
5 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2016
BackBurner, I have a suggestion for you - READ THE ARTICLE. Your post shows that you did not read it. If you indeed insist that you did read it, then the sad fact is that you are delusional. As a delusional person, you maintain belief systems. Belief systems require constant vigilance. You must desperately search for any scrap that could possibly be misused to validate your delusion with every waking moment.

There was another study that concluded that the capacity for self delusion represents a survival benefit in humans. I'm sure that was marketing also......
Eikka
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 13, 2016
Do you think that 97% (the percentage of scientists that believe climate change is real) of the world's (not just the US, but the world) scientists are in on some kind of charade to trick you into believing climate change is real? What benefit would this present for them?


It's not the scientists who are pulling a trick, but the people who report on the science to the public. It's they who have the agenda.

Take for example your "97% of scientists" claim. That's a marketing trick, like 8 out of 10 dentists say chewing xylitol gum is good for your teeth. Of course they may say so, but how much good is never mentioned, nor is it mentioned that those 8 dentists differ in what they believe it does to your teeth. One may say simply that it does no harm, while another may claim it cures every possible disease of the mouth.

And the same goes with climate change. Just because most believe something is going on doesn't mean your particular brand of it is true.
antigoracle
1.5 / 5 (8) Dec 13, 2016
The researchers suggest that offering conservatives more pro-past messages regarding climate change might convince many of them....

That's why AGW Cult lore begins in the 1950s. Only their hungry, ignorant Chicken Littles would ignore the fact that by the 1930s, the planet had warmed faster and hotter, with more extreme weather.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2016
It's not the scientists who are pulling a trick, but the people who report on the science to the public
@eikka
on one hand, this is true because the media give equal time to the dissenting *opinion* here in the US (which is stupid, because the science is fairly clear about a lot of things)

i specifically stated opinion because there is no refuting science to show that AGW isn't real

also note: there may be science that is unclear about certain topics (like the use of aerosols for geoengineering or the effectiveness of utilising magnetic fields to measure heat in the oceans) ...
but the science regarding things like CO2, the feedback and cycle with WV and more is very clear, repeatedly validated and there is overwhelming evidence

now, people's opinions about what to do may well be subjective, but the science isn't

Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 13, 2016
That's why bullsh*t bullsh*t blah blah Bullsh*t blah
of course, if you want to take the same tactic, the earth was also molten rock at one time, so obviously returning to that is a good thing!

better yet... there was a time when it was likely just no more than dust accumulated in a large cloud that didn't even have a star!

so why bother with actually doing anything when it's natural state is blown to it's constituent atomic particles, eh antig?

denier logic 101 - it doesn't matter that we can recognize a problem by examining all the overwhelming validated evidence
nor does it matter if we can find a solution that will help
we should all curl up and live with the damage because antig says so

just like the flu, vaccines or medical problems!
Don't actually try to live or make things better - why bother! it's nature!
LMFAO

[satirical hyperbole dripping with sarcasm]
antigoracle
1 / 5 (7) Dec 13, 2016
the earth was also molten rock at one time.....hee....haww....heee...haaawww

Cap'nStumpid brays with his donkey logic 101.
Hey Stumps, how much manmade CO2 caused the Dust Bowl of the 1930s?
MR166
1 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2016
"d, this is true because the media give equal time to the dissenting *opinion* here in the US (which is stupid, because the science is fairly clear about a lot of things)

i specifically stated opinion because there is no refuting science to show that AGW isn't real"

What planet do you live on Capt. ? The media is in lockstep with the government funded scientists! Dissenting views are pretty much career ending in the New World Order.
gkam
2.4 / 5 (7) Dec 13, 2016
Yeah, 166, you and Trump will make things better!

These folk are trying to give you folk the science education you apparently never had.

It reminds me of the discussion I heard today regarding how intelligence agencies are trying to find ways to brief Trump without him feeling like he already did not know it. He thinks folk telling him things he does not know are "talking down" to him. His ego is that fragile.

"Baited with a Tweet".

The end of us?

Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Dec 13, 2016
The media is in lockstep with the government funded scientists! Dissenting views are pretty much career ending in the New World Order
@mr166
and yet by simply by searching for "Climate Change debate" and limiting the results to 2016 only, you will find, that they give equal time to arguments against climate change even though they don't have evidence or even a valid scientific argument

I had links from PBS, guardian, NBC, CNN, Huffington post, the federalist, Fox, CBS, The New York Times and many more, and that was the first page only

so that point is debunked by using any search engine

.

or were you going for satire and hyperbole to ridicule the idiot holdout deniers who think there is a grand conspiracy?

if i missed that, let me know
Zzzzzzzz
5 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2016
Conservatives simply are the subgroup of humans who require are greater degree of delusional belief systems to survive. Logic and reason make no difference to a person when it comes to the delusional belief systems they require. There is also a lesson here for humans who have less of a need foe delusion - we are all humans, and all of us have some capacity for self delusion. It's just a matter of degree. For example, there are humans who are not conservarptives, who either require or otherwise maintain religious belief systems. Hence the need for scientific methodology - if we weren't all delusional to some degree, it wouldn't need a name. It would constitute our default mental state.

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