No Fear of Global Warming? Temporal - Spatial Biases and Response Engagement into Fear Environmental Appeal

An Exploratory Experimental Study


Master's Thesis, 2013
50 Pages

Free online reading

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Theoretical framework

Method

Experiment

Conclusion and Discussion

References

APPENDIX

Abstract

This Master’s Thesis explores Spatial and Temporal dimensions of psychological distance into fear environmental campaigns. In order to examine factors, which may increase individual’s engagement in climate change issue, different levels of spatial (Local - Global) and temporal (Near Future - Future) dimensions of psychological distance are analyzed into fear campaigns, using EPPM (Witte, 1992; 1994; 1998) principles. In particular, it was supposed that individual’s perceived vulnerability and perceived severity of the threat mediate this relationship. In the study, three main assumption were examined. The first one proposed that Local messages, compared to G lobal, were more effective in increasing individual’s perceived vulnerability, and that this would increase individual’s engagement with the climate issue. The second conjecture started with an inquisition concerning whether Local or Global message lead to more severity, assuming that the level of increased perceived severity would increase individual’s engagement with climate change. The third hypothesis supposed that the use of a Near Future temporal representation, in comparison to a distant Future representation, was more effective in increasing individual’s perceived vulnerability and severity, and this would lead to a higher engagement with the issue. An online experiment with a 2 (Space perspectives: Local - Global) x 2 (Time perspective: Near Future - Future) within subjects design, was performed in order to explore the effects of the different conditions on individual’s perceived Vulnerability, Severity and Engagement. The overall analysis of the model revealed that only Vulnerability and Severity have a significant effect on the Engagement. Concerning Spatial and Temporal dimensions the analysis was not significant. Thus, Temporal and Spatial differences had no significant effects in influencing individual’s perceived Vulnerability, Severity and Engagement. Limitations, suggestions and further conclusions are given in the final discussion.

Introduction

The way in which climate change is often reported usually uses catastrophic scenarios that threaten us into environmental ruin. It is often described as a “terrible, immense, apocalyptic problem, beyond human control” (Ereaut & Signit, 2009). The image of polar bears stranded on ice floes has become iconic (O’Neill, 2008) and even children’s storybooks appear with environmental disaster narratives (Sedgwick, 2001). Briefly, climate changes are commonly shared in the context of dramatic climate related events (Carvalho & Burges, 2005) and campaigns based on fear appeals and are prevalent in the public domain (O’Neil & Cole, 2009). However, some researches (BBC, 2006; Lowe et al., 2006), which investigated into the matter, have started to examine the utility of this approach, questioning whether it may lead to instigate a range of unintended effects, from fatalism and apathy to rejection and anger (Rogers, 1983). Hence, exploring these mechanisms is important in order to understand when they may not work.

With the present research, it is assumed that part of the problem may be attributed to bias perceptions of psychological distance: the degree to which objects, people, places and events are removed from an individual’s direct experience (Liberman, Trope & Stephan, 2007). According to these studies, different levels of perceiving distances influence people’s prediction, evaluation, and action (Trope & Liberman, 2010). That is, different levels of spatial and temporal representations may influences individual’s affective, cognitive and behavioral responses. For this reason, in the present study, temporal and spatial biases of psychological distance are inspected when examining individual’s climate change threat perception and consequential engagement responses into fear environmental appeals.

The context in which climate changes is often represented, uses distant representation; for instance, global instead of local. Moreover, a lot of campaigns utilize futuristic approach, showing what may happen in the following decades or even centuries. It is predicted that the use of a closer representation of the issue, not only in terms of space, but also in terms of time, contrarily to the critiqued fear environmental campaigns that portray distant scenarios, can reduce the perceived distance of the problem making individuals feel consequently more engaged with climate changing issues. In other words, fear appeal campaigns that use global and future images may obstacle individual’s engagement with climate change because they enable a more spatial and temporal distant psychological perception, while a more specific local and in the near future representation, should reduce the perceived spatial and temporal distance of climate change, fostering a closer perception and engagement with it.

Two variables that may mediate this effect are analyzed in the study: perceived vulnerability and perceived severity. According to the EPPM, Witte (1992; 1994; 1998), in order to emphasize the fear arousing from the risk, individuals should be susceptible to the threat (i.e. vulnerability) and it should be severe enough to continue the fear-induced process (i.e. severity). Concerning the vulnerability dimension, it is predicted that the more the threat is perceived as close in respect of space and time, the more individuals would perceive themselves vulnerable to it, and as a consequence they will be more engaged. This logic and liner relationship was supposed also concerning the severity variable. However, the literature exploring it (Bonnes, Caruso & Passafaro, 2006; Hatfield & Job, 2001; Musson, 1974; Stern, 1992) revealed the tendency for environmental problems to be rated as more severe at the global than at the local level, suggesting that people should be more engaged when they face a global representation instead of local.

Due that no existing literature inspected temporal and spatial biases into fear environmental campaign, with this research we are going to explore first, which spatial and temporal dimension is more effective in increasing the perceived vulnerability and severity of the issue and, more in depth, which one is more effective in increasing individual’s engagement with the matter.

Theoretical framework

Climate change engagement

Many areas of research are struggling with the question of how to increase citizen’s engagement in climate change issue (Scannel & Gifford, 2011). According to O’Neil and Cole (2009), this is important because there is a lack of clarity in the literature about the impacts that fearful messages in climate change communications have on people’s engagement with the issue.

Individual’s engagement in climate change goes beyond simple awareness of the problem: it includes caring, motivation, willingness to act, and behavioral action itself (Lorenzoni, Nicholson-Cole, & Whitmarsh, 2007). Engaging people in the issue is a challenging endeavor because the impacts of global warming are often perceived to be uncertain and in the distant future (Gifford, 2008; Lorenzoni et al., 2007). One research conducted by Leiserowitz (2007) suggested illustrating the local and the regional impact of the message because these may be more captivating than global impacts. Another study conducted by Scannel et al. (2011), confirmed that climate change engagement was greater among those who received a local message, as opposed to receiving no message at all.

According to Scannel et al. (2011), individuals tend to think about climate changes in terms of global and future images. For this reason, messages that focus on climate changes in term of local and present images might reduce the perceived distance of the problem and thereby increase individual’s engagement.

No study analyzed the occurrence of psychological distance into fear strategies, which are the most widely employed into environmental campaigns against global warming (O’Neil et al., 2009); therefore, it is important to test and apply these theories into a campaign based on fear environmental appeal, exploring whether the use of different levels of spatial (Local - Global) and temporal (Near Future - Future) dimensions affects individual’s engagement in climate change.

Fear appeal

According to the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM) (Witte, 1992; 1998; Witte & Allen, 2000), following Leventhal’s principles (1970), the evaluation of a fear appeal comprehends two phases. First, individuals appraise the threat of the climate issue from the message. The more they perceive the danger as serious and the more they feel vulnerable to it, the more motivated they are to process and engage with the message. In fact, when the threat is perceived as irrelevant or insignificant (i.e., low vulnerability - low severity) there is no motivation to process and engage with the message, with the result that people ignore the fear appeal (e.g., Witte & Allen, 2000). Yet, when a threat is portrayed to be severe and people feel vulnerable enough, individuals become scared and “their fear motivates them to take some sort of action - any action - that will reduce their fear” (Witte et al., 2000, p. 594). Second, beyond the analysis of threat perception, fear models consider the perceived efficacy variable, which is composed of two dimensions: perceived self-efficacy (i.e., one’s beliefs about his or her ability to perform the recommended response) and perceived response efficacy (i.e., one’s beliefs about whether the recommended response works in averting the threat) (e.g., Witte et al., 2000). This variable is important because it determines how people react to the fearful message. That is, whether individuals will control the danger or control their fear about the threat. When “they believe they are able to perform actions against the threat” (p. 594) because high level of self- efficacy and response efficacy is perceived, they are motivated to control the global warming danger, and to adopt proactive measures against it. However, when the level of perceived efficacy is low, individuals cannot control the potential danger and they will attempt to control the internal fear through denial (e.g., “I’m not at risk for global warming, it won’t happen”), defensive avoidance (e.g., “This is too scary, I am not going to think about it”), or reactance (e.g., “They’re just trying to manipulate me, I’m going to ignore the global warming information”) (e.g., Witte et al., 2000).

As it was previously mentioned, no past research can be found focusing on perception’s biases due to psychological distance that may influence individual’s responses to the fear appeal; therefore, with the present research it was decided to begin a basic and starting exploration of the issue, focusing only on the first perceptive threat part of the model. For this reason, before proceeding and following the fear appeal criterions, it is necessary to understand that, when examining individual’s severity and vulnerability perception, and consequential engagement responses effects, the present study takes into account the various effects of psychological distance that may obstacle people’s engagement with climate change.

Optimistic biases and psychological distance

Researches (Kirscht et al., 1966; Weinstein, 1980; Kulik & Mahler, 1987; Weinstein, 1989) proved that individuals not only tend to perceive themselves less likely to be at risks in comparison to the average of the population to whom they belong, but they also believe to have minor possibilities to fall victims of negative events and major possibilities to experiment positive events. Also for environmental problems, people seem to believe that they are safer than others (Gifford et al., 2009) because these biases lead the people to underestimate the seriousness of danger and consequently to not adapt pro ecological behavior (Hartfield & Job, 2001).

Previous studies already demonstrated that different levels of spatial and temporal distances may influence this optimistic self-favoring perception. (Dunlap et al., 1993; Gifford et al., 2009; Musson, 1974; Schultz et al., 2005; Uzzell, 2000).

For this study, it means that the underestimation of environmental problems could be adjusted by different spatial and temporal depiction in the fear appeal. In other words, different spatial (Local versus Global) and temporal (Near Future versus Future) dimensions could influence the way fearful representation are perceived and processed. For instance, a fear environmental appeal showing the Netherlands (Local) in 2013 (Near Future), compared to one showing Florida (Global) in 2038 (Future), would provoke a different reaction in individual’s perception: when the appeal shows Florida - 2038, individuals would consider environmental changes as a danger distant to them, while the Netherlands - 2013 representation should reduce the optimistic bias making individual’s feeling directly engaged to the climate changing issue.

In order to explain the effects of spatial and temporal bias due to psychological distance on fear environmental appeal, and the influence they are expected to provoke on individual’s threat perception and consequential engagement, a brief explanation of the phenomenon is given in the following paragraph.

Psychological distance. Spatial bias

Psychological distance is a subjective experience that something is close or far away from a person. People experience only here and now and it is not possible to directly experience past, future or other alternatives to reality (Trope et al., 2010). The construal level theory (CLT), (Trope & et al., 2010) explains that the more distant a situation is from the individual, the more abstract it will be thought of, while the closer a situation is from the individual, the more concrete individual’s will think about it. In other words, the CLT connects psychological distance with individual’s modality of reasoning. Giving an example, moving from a close representation, as the Netherlands-2013, to a more far distant one, such as Florida-2038, the modality of thinking about it would be more general and abstract when the Florida in 2038 is represented, compared to a more concrete and tangible representation as the Netherlands. That is, when individuals encounter the Florida in the future, the level of thought evoked will be more general and abstruse, compared to the Netherlands representations, which contrarily will evoke a more precise and accurate thought.

Considering that different levels of perceiving distances influence people’s prediction, evaluation, and action (Trope at al, 2010) it is possible that they own this influence also in fear environmental campaign. Therefore, it may be that when the fear context in which the climate change is represented shows global and future images, psychological distance that enables abstractness will influence “individual’s prediction, evaluation, and action” (p. 440), making individual’s climate change threat perception (severity and vulnerability) altered, for the reason that climate change danger perception is not detected in a concrete form. In other words, fear environmental appeals, which use global and future images, may obstacle engaging with the climate change issues because their abstract and transcendental representation of the issue makes the climate change to be perceived as danger far away distant from them, while local and near future representations should enable a more concrete mental representation of the danger.

Following this opinion, the effects of psychological distance upon severity and vulnerability should be the following: when the situation focuses on the local and in the near future representation, the concrete mental representation of the issue should make individuals feel more vulnerable and perceive the matter as more severe; while when the representation shows the global and future situation, the abstract mental representation of the issue should make individual perceive less vulnerable and perceive the matter as less severe.

In the next pages, the relationship between spatial psychological distance and threat perception, and the effect it may provoke on individual’s engagement, is explained. As mentioned above, the analysis of the threat perception involves two variables: severity and vulnerability. Here, they are defined and inspected separately on account of the possibility that spatial psychological distances can impact them in a divergent way.

Vulnerability

Climate change vulnerability is defined by the IPCC third Assessment Report (TAR) as “the degree to which a system is susceptible, or unable to cope with adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes”. (IPCC, 2002, p. 95). Most of the time when this term is used in climate change issues, it refers to the system (earth) itself; however, this study is going to particularly analyse individual’s perceived vulnerability, which is the level that the risk is perceived (Witte, 1996).

Empirical research exploring perceptions of vulnerability towards negative events such as natural disasters, demonstrates that individuals tend to systematically underestimate their own vulnerability, both in relation to others and in absolute terms (Weinstein, 1980; 1982; 1984). Even concerning environmental problems, individuals seem to believe that they are safer, thus less vulnerable, than others (Gifford et al., 2009). For instance, in one study in which college students judged their personal vulnerability to a number of different health problems, for most of the health problems, participants underestimated their own vulnerability (Weinstein, 1982).

According to Chaiken (1980) when a risk is trivial and individuals do not feel vulnerable, they are unlikely to invest much effort in thinking and caring about the contents of the communication. Contrarily, when individuals do feel vulnerable to a risk, this feeling should induce sufficient motivation to process communication components more in depth.

It comes natural to hypothesize that the level of perceived vulnerability might have an impact on the level of engagement with the climate change issue. Specifically, the more individuals would feel vulnerable to the climate change, the more they would be engaged with it and the less they feel vulnerable, the less they would feel engaged.

Moreover, following the spatial bias literature, it is proposed that when the message in the scary appeal shows the Netherlands, individuals would perceive themselves more vulnerable to global warming, compared to a far more global image such as Florida. This process is expected to happen because, according to the Constual Level Theory (Trope et al., 2010), psychological distance affects individual’s thinking modality. Thus, when the global frame is represented, individual’s will tend to enable abstract and decontextualized modality or reasoning, which may decrease the way they perceive vulnerable to climate change because it distances the issue from the direct individual’s engagement. Contrarily, when local frame is shown, a concrete and detailed perception of the occurrence of the climate change issue should increase the level of individual’s vulnerability perceived.

Hypothesis la: Local messages are more effective in increasing individual’s vulnerability to climate change issues, compared to global messages.

Hypothesis lb: The level of increased vulnerability will effectively increase individual’s engagement in climate change issues.

Severity

According to Witte (1994) perceived severity is defined as the beliefs about the significance or magnitude of the threat. As we stated before, the more individuals perceive the threat as serious and severe, the more they are motivated to process and engage with the message (Witte, 1994). In fact, when a threat is portrayed to be severe and relevant enough, individuals become scared and “their fear motivates them to take some sort of action that will reduce their fear”. (Witte et al., 2000, p. 594). When the effects of spatial bias in severity are analyzed, two contrasting views emerged.

As stated before, following the CTL (Trope & Liberman, 2010) psychological distance affects individual’s modality of reasoning. When the global frame is represented, individuals will tend to enable abstract and decontextualized modality or thinking, which may decrease the perceived severity with the climate change issue because it is perceived as a distant danger. Contrarily, when local frame is portrayed, a concrete and detailed perception of the occurrence of the climate danger should increase the level of perceived severity of the issue. In other words, local frame should higher the level of the severity perceived because they portray a more concrete and tangible modality of thinking about climate change, contrarily to global messages, which induce in more abstract and general perception of the issue.

However, a body of literature is in contrast with this idea. Researchers conducted by Leiserowitz (2007), Lowe et al. (2006), and O’Neill et al. (2008) found that individuals generally considered climate change “less serious” and “less dangerous” to themselves than to other people. According to Stern (1992), people perceive the local area, compared to the global one, as less exposed to environmental problems. This is because the perception of a serious danger diminishes at the increasing of the distance between the person and the element carrying out future risks (Bonnes et al., 2006). In other words, people have the tendency to evaluate the surrounding space in a more favorable way in comparison to a distant place. Optimistic environmental bias make individual’s perceive the environmental problem as less severe when the situation is perceive to be distant away, whereas when they evaluate the severity of danger close to them they underestimate it’s severity. Musson (1974) conducted a research in which it was shown that only 48% of the sample evaluated Great Britain as an overpopulated area, even though the level of overpopulation of the country was 74%. The study seems to confirm people’s tendency to move away, from them and from what is more familiar to them, the risks and the responsibilities connected to the environment. In fact, it has been noticed that optimistic biases related to specific environmental events, lead the people to underestimate the seriousness of danger and consequently do not adapt pro ecological behavior (Hartfield & Job, 2001). It was also demonstrated that this process happens because people consider environmental changes only as a danger towards nature and, because not feeling directly engaged, don’t act in defense of the environment. In fact, people evaluate potential danger events (e.g. water pollution, soil erosion ..) more threatening for the environment than for themselves (Hine & Gifford, 1991; Fridgen, 1994).

Concluding, many researches suggests that because of the existence of these spatial biases, the severity of the threat in exam should be higher when the message is framed with global message, compared to local messages. Therefore, advertising showing the Netherlands should be considered less severe than an advertising showing a faraway distant location, such as Florida. However, there is the probability that different level of spatial distance affect the level of perceived severity in the opposite way. In fact, the CLT suggests that when the threat is represented in a fearful appeal, that does not occur far away in Florida, yet here in the Netherland, then the level of perceived severity of the threat would be higher, because the concrete modality of thinking enabled by the proximity of the area would be higher, compared to the abstract level of thinking modality empowered by the exposure to global message.

Therefore, due that no study before examined the matter into specific fear appeal, it is interesting to analyze which one of these theories can be confirmed. Thus, a research question is formulated to answer this inquisition. Moreover, it is predicted, based on the EPPM principles, that the level of severity may have an impact on the engagement.

Research Question: Do local or global message lead to more perceived severity?

Hypothesis 2: The increased perceived severity increases individual’s engagement in climate change issues.

The last paragraph is going to exclusively inspect temporal psychological distance.

Its relationship with threat mediation and final engagement responses are descripted ensuing.

Temporal biases

As we stated before, engaging the public in climate change is a particularly challenging endeavor because the impacts of global warming are often perceived to be uncertain and in the distant future (Gifford, 2008; Lorenzoni et al., 2007). Furthermore, Temporal biases seem particularly important because ecological problems characteristically occur slowly and have long- lasting consequences (Gifford et al., 2009). The discounting theory evidenced that more temporal units from the perceiver increases, more the importance of the problem decreases (Gatting, 2002). Research, which demonstrates that individuals have difficulty visualizing future periods (Tonn, Hemrick & Conrad, 2006) or that individuals had difficulty imagining beyond 15 to 20 years into the future, confirms these theories. Drottz-Sjöberg (2006) also found that generally individuals’ imagination of the future limits to around 50 years. Similarly, Lorenzoni et al. (2007) found that individuals considered scenarios describing the 2050s to be so far into the future as to be almost completely hypothetical.

Regarding the global warming theme, one of the surveys has evidenced that the major part of the people feel that environmental problems can become a menace to their family only after 25 years from the arising of the cause (Dunlap et al., 1993). Moreover, a research conducted by Proshansky, Ittelson, and Rivlin (1970) revealed that only in occasion of unexpected changes, physical settings acquire salience in the awareness of human beings, suggesting that people tend to act in defense of the environment especially when they feel to be strongly in danger. When the danger is not perceived as it may happen in the near future, but it retained as it may occur forward in the future, it is possible that individual’s would tend to not engage in behaviors in defense of the environment.

All this body of literature, in line with the Construal Level Theory, creates the foundation to suppose that when the message shows a near future time, such as 2013, individuals should feel more in danger because the climate danger issue is seen as a problem more concrete than abstract. This will create high level of vulnerability and severity, compared to a message in the future time, such as 2038, and it will have an impact on individual’s engagement, considering that the temporal distance is perceived, more the level of engagement is felt and contrarily, the more the distance, the less would be the engagement. In other words, the treat should be perceived as more severe, and people should perceive themselves as more vulnerable to a scary situation that may happen in 2013, compared to something that can happen later in 2038 and this should affect individual’s engagement with the issue.

Hypothesis 3: The use of a close temporal representation (e.g. 2013 - Near Future) in fear warnings appeal is more effective in increasing individuals perceived vulnerability and severity, and this will lead to a higher engagement with climate change, in comparison to a far distant representation (e.g. 2038 - Future).

Method

Pre-test. Stimuli selection

A focus group was conducted in order to select the best stimuli to use in the experiment. It was first to test which one of the stimuli selected were more able to enhance the different local versus global conditions. The second objective concerned the inspection about which one of the two stimuli was more effective in arousing fear. The choice of selecting this method was made not only because it is appropriated to be used at the preliminary or exploratory stages of a study (Kreuger, 1988), but also because it elicits information in a way which allows researchers to find out salient elements of a certain issue (Morgan, 1988).

Participants and design

A number of seven university students (three female, 42% and four males, 58%), of age between 20 and 27 years old (M =23.28; SD =2.43), voluntarily participated in the study. In the light that small and purposeful samples may be used to provide important information (Reid, 1996), the number of participants was considered enough for the starting exploration of the study.

In the focus group, two different images were compared: one showing a highway overflowing and one presenting a specific geographic region under water. To re-create the four different conditions described below, the photograph and text written in the poster were manipulated. The first poster presenting an overflowed highway, contained road signs indicating Dutch locations (e.g. Eindhoven) for the local condition and an American location (e.g. City West) for the global conditions. Concerning time manipulation, the slogan “this is going to happen” was completed with “soon” for the Near Future or “in 25 years” for the far future conditions. The second set of stimuli was two different geographic locations representing a certain area under water: a Dutch map for the local conditions and a map of Florida for the global conditions, with specific places and names. Time was manipulated using the same modality of the first stimuli. Messages in both stimuli were constructed on a scheme in which the picture and the messages were written to be as similar as possible to each other, with only the necessary modification due to different space and time conditions.

Procedure and measures

The procedure followed Kitzinger’s (1994) conjecture, according to which focus groups use group interaction as part of the method. Therefore, all the participants were exposed to the two sets of stimuli. Following his statement, the researcher avoided to ask each person to respond to a question in turn, yet, people were encouraged to talk to one another by asking questions and commenting on each other's experiences and points of view (Kitzinger, 1994). The group were first asked which one of the sets of stimuli selected were more able to enhance the different local and global conditions. In order to measure it, questions such as “Which one of the images seems more close - familiar - near - proximal, to you?”. After, to measure which one of the two sets of stimuli they retained more effective in arousing fear, the group was asked “Which one of the images makes you more scary - timorous - nervous - in panic - in alarm - in dismay?”.

Results

Participants demonstrated a higher fear arousing for the second stimuli showing the Netherlands submerged, compared to the one depicting the highway, which was retained from the group as “not that scary”. It was also revealed that the specific map of Holland was not only found to be more effective in arousing fear, but also in eliciting interest and attention. Moreover, the focus group revealed that the image representing the Netherlands submerged seem to be better in representing the local condition, compared to the highway photograph, which without the specific places indication “could portray any road, anywhere in the world”. Finally, participants suggested making the image more realistic because the accentuated water’s color due to a graphic recreation of the map under water did not exactly reflect their mental image about the Netherlands map. They also suggested enlarging the size of the posters, to make them more impressive and prominent.

Stimuli pre-test

Based on the focus group, improvement upon the graphic of the advertisings was made as suggested: the equity of the images and of the informational content were refined, as the size, text and the color modification. Moreover, to increase the credibility of the posters, the “Greenpeace” logo was introduced with the aim to augment source credibility of the advertisement. (See APPENDIX A). This choice was made because, compared to the other green organizations, the graphic composition, the content communication and the compressively advertising appeal of the stimuli, reflected particularly the specific “Greenpeace” advertising’s style of communication, therefore it was retained to be the most appropriated logo to use.

Participants and design

Thirty-one subjects, 19 males (60%) and 13 (40%) female (two respondents did not specify their gender), of age between 21 and 56 years old (M =26.58; SD =6.7), were recruited by email and asked to voluntarily participate in an online experiment. Most of the respondents were highly educated: more than the majority pursued a Bachelor (39%) or Master degree (42%). Thirteen participants (42%) were Dutch, the rest (58%) were foreigners; however, all of them were currently living in the Netherlands. After being randomly exposed to a 2 (Space perspectives: Local - Global) x 2 (Time perspective: Near Future - 2013 - 2038) between subjects design, participants answered to an online questionnaire.

Procedure

Participants were invited to participate to an online experiment via e-mails. They were first briefed and then enabled to take part to the actual experiment. All participants were forcedly exposed to a fear environmental appeal. The final set of stimuli was composed by four different images. To indicate the Local conditions, a map of the over foamed Netherlands was used; to indicate the Global conditions, a map of Florida under water was adopted. Concerning time manipulation, the stimuli reported the year 2013 or 2038 next to the Netherlands or Florida text, to indicate respectively, the Near future condition and the Future conditions. Again, messages in both stimuli were constructed on a scheme in which the picture and the messages were written to be as similar as possible to each other, with only the necessary modification due to different space and time conditions. (see APPENDIX A). Respondents were exposed to the stimulus material being allowed to take as much time as they needed to look at it, respecting the characteristic of print media (Jacoby et al., 1983). After the stimuli expositions, respondents were asked to assess their level of perceived fear, advertisement and facts credibility, together with the manipulation check. Then, they compiled a section concerning demographics’ information. Finally, participants were debriefed and thanked. (See APPENDIX B)

Manipulation: In order to confirm the effectiveness of the stimuli in recreating the four conditions, participants were asked to evaluate the level of perceived distance (in terms of space - in terms of time) on a 8 point scale that ranged from 0 (Very close) to 7 (Very far) on items such as “according to your perception, how distant can the scene represented be considered…?”

Dependent measures: To test to what extent stimuli generated fear arousal, respondents were asked to rank on an 8 points sider-scale, which ranged from 0 to 70, the level of perceived fear on items like “scary, threatening and alarm”. The factorial analysis showed that all of the fear measuring variables lead into the same component (EV = 2.7; R! =.91) therefore the three items were effective in expressing fear; the Cronbach’s Alpha proved the high reliability level of the scale (" =.950) . Due that the mean value exceeded the scale mid-point (M= 46.9; SD = 22.6), the stimuli can be considered effective in measuring fear. Then, to check whether or not, the advertisements would be credible if faced in a real life setting, participants were asked to evaluate to which degree the advertisements can be considered “believable, credible and realistic” on a 8 points sider-scale, which ranged from 0 to 70. A factorial analysis revealed that all of them loaded on one component (EV = 2.8; R! = .96), that is, the items were able to measure the advertising credibility. The reliability of the scale was proved by the Cronbach’s Alpha (" = .980). Also here, the mean value (M =50.2; SD = 21.53) exceeded the scale mid-point; hence, the advertisements can be considered credible. Hereafter, participants were asked, whether the stimuli representing the over foaming in the print ads could “actually happen and occur in reality” on an 8-point sider-scale, which ranged from 0 to 70. A factorial analysis demonstrated that the items lead into the same component (EV = 1.85; R! = 92.6) and the Cronbach’s Alpha ("=.915 ) showed the reliability of the scale. Again, descriptive statistics showed that the mean value (M = 48.1; SD = 21.20) exceeded the scale midpoint, therefore participants rated the represented situation as credible.

Results

Time and Space. The manipulation check concerning the different spatial and time distance perception was conducted using a 2 (Space: local, global) x 2 (Time: near future, future) ANOVA with perceived spatial distance as a dependent variable, showed that participants in the Florida condition perceived the spatial distance to be larger (M =6.19; SD =1.04) than participants in the Netherlands condition (M =2.94; SD =2.64); as expected (F (20, 8) = 20.63, p = .000). The same analysis showed no effect of Time in the perceived space (F (1, 8) = 1.11, p = .303), entailing that different temporal conditions do not have influence on the way the spatial conditions were perceived. Also the interaction between Space and Time was revealed to be not significant (F (1, 28) = 2.77, p = .107). However, considering that the main effect of Space distance on the Perceived Space was significant, the experimental manipulation of space distances was successful. Regarding time perception, a 2 (Space: local, global) x 2 (Time: near future, future) ANOVA with perceived temporal distance as a dependent variable, showed that participants in the Near Future condition perceived the temporal distance to be larger (M =3.90; SD =2.81); than participants in the Future condition (M =5.84; SD =1.46), as expected (F (1, 29) = 30.57, p = .013). The effect of space in perceived time was not significant (F (1, 29) = 1.68; p = .205) which means that the different spatial conditions do not effects participant’s perception of time. However, the interaction effect was marginally significant (F (1, 29) = 4.29; p = .047): Time had an interaction with Space. In particular, the interaction between Space and Time demonstrated that when Space distance increases, the perceived temporal distance decreases; when Space decreases, participant’s perceived temporal distance increases.

Hence, also the manipulation of temporal distances was successful.

Fear. An Unianova linear model was performed again in order to test if there were significant differences in the level of fear arousing between the different level of space and time. Here the analysis did not demonstrate significant results between Fear and Spatial distance (F (1, 26) = .13; p > .05) nor Fear on Temporal distance (F (1, 26) = .37; p > .05). Concerning the interaction effect of Fear with Space and Time together, the analysis was not significant (F (1, 26) = .05; p > .05). These results indicate that different levels of Spatial and Temporal conditions do not affect the way participants experienced Fear. Moreover, due that descriptive statistics showed that the mean value (M= 46.9; SD = 22.6) is above the midpoint of the scale, the stimuli can be retained fear inducing.

Advertising Credibility and Probability of occurrence. Again, an Unianova linear model was conducted, in order to check, whether or not, there were significant differences in the level Advertising Credibility between the levels of Space and Time. The analysis didn’t show significant results between Advertising Credibility and Spatial distance (F (1, 26) = 1.44; p > .05), nor on Advertising Credibility on Temporal distance (F (1, 26) = .09; p > .05). Even concerning the interaction effect of Ad Credibility with Space and Time together, the analysis was not significant (F (1, 26) = .14; p > .05), entailing that all the advertising can be retained credible in the same way. Again, the mean value (M =50.2; SD = 21.53) exceeded the scale mid- point; hence, the advertisements can be considered credible. The last analysis was performed with the aim to test if there were significant differences in the level of the credibility of the occurrence of the fact represented in the stimuli. The linear model Unianova showed that again, there were no differences in the fact credibility among the Spatial (F (1, 28) = .128; p > .05), Temporal (F (1, 28) = 1.72; p > .05) and Spatial and Temporal (F (1, 26) = .07; p > .05) conditions. Descriptive statistics indicated that the mean value (M = 48.1; SD = 21.20) exceed the midpoint.

These are sufficient evidence to confirm our manipulation check.

Thus, according to the analysis results, the stimuli can be considered effective.

Experiment

Participants and design

A number of 144 (N=144) individuals were recruited by email to voluntarily participate in the experiment. After being randomly exposed to a 2 (Space perspectives: Local - Global) x 2 (Time perspective: Present - Future) within subjects design, participants answered to an online questionnaire. Eighteen participants were not currently living in the Netherlands; therefore they were excluded by the analysis. The choice to select only individuals who were currently living in the Netherlands was made with the aim to recreate, among the final sample, the same reference point, which is related to the level of perceiving proximal or distal distances or also local or global condition from the same point of view. Including into the analysis also individuals who were living abroad could have created bias concerning the different level of perceived distance by these subjects. For instance, one person living in Spain does not perceive the Netherlands as his local and proximal condition, even if the perception of Florida, which is the “global” condition, may be considered as distant and proximal as the actual sample evaluated it. Thus, a total of 126 people (N=126), 72 (57%) men and 54 (47%) women of age between 16 to 64 years old (M=26,48;SD=6,65) who were living in the Netherlands, were selected for the analysis. Most of participants (48%) were from Italy, followed by 34 Dutch people (24%); the rest (28%) was from other various nationalities (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greek, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia, U.S.A., U.K., Zambia).

Procedure

The procedure was similar to the pretest. It consisted of an online experiment. After participation agreement, participants were forcedly exposed to one of the four conditions descripted above (Netherlands 2013, Netherlands 2038, Florida 2013 and Florida 2038), (see APPENDIX A). Then, all of participants answered the same questionnaire composed by four parts: the first one was about the level of perceived vulnerability, the second part of the questionnaire regarded the perceived severity and the last set of questions concerned individual’s engagement. The final part was about the demographic characteristics of the respondents. After that, they were debriefed and thanked. (see APPENDIX C)

Measures

To measure the vulnerability variable, items from the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) scale (Dunlap et al., 2000) were used. The NEP scale can be considered as a worldview on the vulnerability of the human-environment relationship (Poortinga, Steg, & Vlek, 2002). In fact, it contains a set of questions on resource scarcity, the intrinsic value of nature, and human dominion over the environment (see Dunlap et al. 2000), which are proper to measure the level of individual’s perceived vulnerability. One example of items used can be “If things continue on their present course, we will soon experience a major ecological catastrophe”. The response set here was a 7 - point scale, which ranged from 1 (Totally Agree) to 7 (Totally disagree). In order to compute the variable, a factorial analysis was performed showing that all the items used to measure individual’s perceived vulnerability lied into the same component. The Cronbach’s Alpha (" = .92) tested the high reliability of the scale with no improvement if items were deleted. Therefore, a new variable called Vulnerability was computed.

Perceived severity was measured by a re-adaption of the Environmental Future Scale (Gifford et al., 2009), which was used to evidence the severity perception of the environmental conditions. Only some items of the scale were used to measure the severity. For instance, participants were asked to evaluate “the state of rivers and lakes, the degree of biodiversity, the quality of air..” in a 7 - point scale with the same response format (Not at all to Very much) of the vulnerability variable. This was made not only with the aim to create the same response set for all the items, but also because a greater range of response options is thought to improve reliability and validity (e.g., Reiss & Judd, 2000). The factorial analysis revealed that all the items lied into the only component extracted, and the Cronbach’s Alpha of " = .96 assured the reliability of the scale with no improvement if any item was deleted. Thus, the new Severity variable was computed.

The last set of questions concerned individual’s engagement. Following the Lorenzoni et al. (2007) definition of climate change engagement, and the influence that spatial and temporal biases may have on individual’s predictions, evaluations and actions, the items reflected the affective, cognitive and behavioral components of climate change engagement. For instance, items concerning the affective dimensions asked “To what degree do you feel responsible about climate change?”, items referring to the cognitive dimension demanded “To what degree do you feel informed about climate change?”. Moreover, the Behavioral Intention Scale, by Minton and Rose (1997), were integrated into the scale expanding the behavioral items, in order to have a major focus on concrete actions, such as “sign a petition, joining a group, stop buying certain products” to reduce climate change. The response set was again, a 7 - point scale for all the items, which ranged from 1 (Not at all) to (Very much). The factorial analysis revealed two principal components for Engagement, which indicates the differences between the affective- cognitive component, and the behavioural-intentional component. Due that the Cronbach’s Alpha analysis revealed that the overall scale was reliable (" =.89) with no improvement if any item was deleted, it was decided to compute only one variable because of its completeness in measuring all the different components of engagement.

Results

The analysis began by examining whether spatial and temporal bias would affect individual’s perceived vulnerability and severity of the threat. Thus, in order to test the influence of the two (Space: local vs. global) x 2 (Time: present, future) conditions upon the mediators, a MANOVA was performed. Looking at Pillai’s trace, following Field (2009), the overall analysis showed to be not significant V = .005 ; F (2,121) = .33; p = .721. According to these results, the effect of spatial and temporal bias on perceived Severity and Vulnerability cannot be confirmed. In particular, concerning H1a, according to which Local messages were more effective in increasing individual’s vulnerability to climate change issues, compared to Global messages, the analysis showed that Space did not have any significant effect on Vulnerability (F (1,122) = 2.08; p = .152). Participants exposed to Local condition felt slightly more vulnerable (M = 5.25; SD = 1.58) than the group exposed to Global conditions (M = 4.91; SD = 1.44). It was interesting to notice that when the vulnerability variable was expected, the minimum level for the local condition was 3, while the global condition includes 1, which means that respondents exposed to the local condition never felt it as not vulnerable to climate change. In order to test H1b a correlation analysis was performed between Vulnerability and Engagement, showing that there is a strong correlation between the two variables (r = .61) and it is significant (p < .001). However, the overall hypothesis H1 cannot be confirmed because the lack of statistical significance regarding the influence of Space on Vulnerability.

The research question exploring which one between Local or Global message lead to more perceived severity, showed no significant influence of Space on Severity (F (1,122) = .37; p = .546), where the differences between Local (M = 4.61; SD = 1.47) and Global (M = 4.43; SD = 1.70) conditions were very close. Therefore, it cannot be answered. In order test H2b, according to which the increased perceived severity increases individual’s engagement, a correlation analysis between Severity and Engagement was run, showing a significant (p < .001) and strong correlation (r = .56). However, H2 have to be rejected because the influence of Space on Severity is not significant.

Concerning H3, exploring whether the use of a close temporal representation is more effective in increasing individuals perceived vulnerability and severity, the analysis showed that Time did not have a significant effect on Vulnerability (F (1,122) = 1.07; p = .302) nor on Severity (F (1,122) = .10; p = .844). Comparison of means revealed that participant exposed to a present condition felt lightly more vulnerable (M = 5.20; SD = 1.18) than the group who visualize the future condition (M = 4.96; SD = 1.44); the level of severity between the present (M = 4.49; SD = 1.67) and the future (M = 4.53; SD = 1.54) conditions was, also for the spatial condition, very similar. Even if the interaction between Vulnerability (r = .61) and Severity (r = .56) on Engagement was strong and significant, H3 has to be rejected because Time did not have significant influence on Vulnerability, nor on Severity.

Finally, with the aim to analyze the overall model, a regression analysis with Engagement as dependent variable and Space, Time, Vulnerability and Severity as independent variables was performed. The analysis showed to be significant (p < . 001) and it explains 42.1% of the total variance. However, as shown in Table 1 on the following page, only Vulnerability and Severity have a significant main effect on Engagement, while for the different levels of Space and Time conditions the analysis is not significant. Therefore, according to the analysis results, Temporal and Spatial differences have no significant influences in individual’s perceived Vulnerability, Severity and Engagement.

Table 1. Regression coefficients (n = 126)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Note: * p < . 001

Conclusion and Discussion

This study was the first one to investigate spatial and temporal biases into fear appeal research. Three different inquisitions were stated in this paper. The starting one was exploring the comparison of local and global message, concerning their effectiveness in increasing individual’s perceived vulnerability to climate change issues (H1a), and it was expected that this level of increased vulnerability would have an influence in raising individual’s engagement in climate change (H1b). According to our results, local frames lead to more vulnerability when compared to global frames, which consequently lead to an increased engagement. However, no statistical significance was found, therefore H1a could not be confirmed. The interaction between vulnerability and engagement showed a strong and significant correlation between the two variables. Nevertheless, when considering the effects of temporal and spatial biases into the analysis, the significance was not confirmed. Therefore, H1b have to be rejected.

With respect to the research question assuming spatial bias influence on severity (RQ), and the effect it may provoke on the engagement (H2), it was first inspected which one, between local and global condition would have an impact on individual’s level of perceived severity of the threat. A very small difference between the two Local and Global conditions, which was non- significant, was evidenced, giving no response to the RQ investigating about differences between the two conditions in increasing individual’s level of perceived severity of the fear environmental threat. Even if a strong significant correlation was shown between Severity and Engagement, H2 could not be accepted because of the lack of significant effects of Temporal and Spatial biases.

Even the final hypothesis, which was exploring the temporal biases influence, has to be rejected. In fact, according to the analysis, different temporal conditions do not have impacts on individual’s perceived vulnerability, perceived severity and consequential engagement (H3).

In sum, the analysis seems to suggest that when different levels of spatial and temporal psychological distance are examined into fear environmental campaigns they do not have an influence on individual’s perceived severity and vulnerability, and neither on their level of final engagement with the global warming issue.

When interpreting these results, we have to keep in mind that the present study speculated that spatial and temporal bias would affect engagement responses only by individual’s perceived vulnerability and severity of the treat mediation. Even though, it is necessary to recognize that beyond the analysis of the treat perception, which was debated in this study, fear models consider the perceived efficacy variable. Despite the lack of this variable cannot explain the findings that temporal and spatial bias did not affect individual’s level of severity and vulnerability, the missing of the efficacy dimension into the model could have interfered with our results. In fact, considering that “only when efficacy beliefs are strong, perceived threat mediates the relationship between the emotion of fear and behaviours” (Witte, 1994, p. 113), it is possible that in the experiment the threat perception did not mediate this relationship. In particular, even if spatial and temporal psychological biases could affect the threat perception of climate change in terms of severity and vulnerability, the effect would not have interacted with the expected engagement outcome, because of the absence of the perceived efficacy component, which has a fundamental role into the EPPM theoretical basis, and determinates the responses to the fearful message.

The absence of this dimension, which is essential for a positive individual’s responses to the appeal (Witte, 1994), is not only a limit for our study, but also a criticism for environmental campaigns that uses fear appeal without presenting messages based on concrete self and response efficacy. A lot of researches already demonstrated that fear appeal using high levels of threat (e.g. climate changing is a severe issue, and you are vulnerable to its consequences) and low level or even no level of self and response efficacy (e.g. I can’t do anything and it’s probably too late to prevent climate change) provoke message rejections and boomerang effects (e.g. Witte, 1994).

Hence, it is important for environmental campaign based on fear strategies to consider the effect that the lack of the self/response efficacy component may provoke on individual’s responses to the appeal. If the underlying processes that occur when people emotionally cope with their fear are not considered, they may risk provoking unintended and counter-productive responses. For this reason it would be interesting to explore, whether or not the use of a model comprehensive also of efficacy variables analysis, would have revealed different results concerning the impact of psychological spatial and temporal distance on individual’s engagement responses. However, it is important to know that the choice to explore spatial and temporal bias, focusing only on the first perceptive threat part of the model, was made in order to begin a basic and starting exploration of psychological distance into fear theories. For the same reason, it was decided to focus only on spatial and temporal dimensions of psychological distance analysis. In fact, another limit of the study probably is the fact that it did not consider the other dimensions of psychological distance, which are the social and the hypothetical distances.

The social distance refers to the distinctions from self and other’s prospective. From a CLT perspectives (Liberman et al., 2007), this means that the other’s perspective imposes more distance than a first-person perspective, inducing a higher level of abstractness of thought, while the direct self-perspective should induce a more concrete way of thinking about the issue. In our study there was no reference to self or other’s prospective, therefore, the dimension should not have had interference with the results.

The hypothetical distance investigates into the probability of the event. According to Liberman et al. (2007), a certain event is removed from one's direct experience when it is possible but not certain. As a consequence, improbable events would appear more distant, compared to probable events, which are seen in a more concrete and specific way. The lack of these psychological dimensions into the present study could be a weak point. In fact, it is possible that when participants were exposed to the environmental fearful advertising, the improbability to occurrences of the represented situation could have affected individual’s severity and vulnerability perception and ensuing responses. In other words, the use of unrealistic images such as the Netherlands and Florida under water, could have altered individual’s hypothetical dimension of psychological distance, even before the temporal and spatial dimensions, and this may created an impact with the final outcome. Please, note that a Pre-Test was conducted in order to check whether the fact represented was considered credible. However, the experiment did not report any data about individual’s credibility of the occurrence of the represented fact.

Further researches may investigate into these types of distances, in order to discover how and whether it could influences individual’s responses into fear environmental appeals.

Methodological limitations arise about the use of a not-only-Dutch sample. In fact, when responses were collected, participants who were living in the Netherlands belonging to different countries were selected. For as much as previous researches concerning place attachment when exploring the formation of emotion and cognition with a particular place, found that places perception is influenced by memories of them (Manzo, 2005; Twigger-Ross & Uzzell, 1996), their cultural or religious significance (Mazumdar & Mazumdar, 2004), their opportunities for belongingness and community (e.g., Fried, 1963; Woldoff, 2002), and last but not least, their provision of physical comfort and goal support (Kyle, Graefe, Manning, & Bacon, 2004; Stokols & Shumaker, 1981). More studies evidenced that when a place is incorporated into “one’s self- definition”, it is referred to as place identity (e.g., Proshansky, 1978; Proshansky & Fabian, 1987; Proshansky, Fabian, & Kaminoff, 1983). For this reason individuals, who were not Dutch, may have had a different (e.g. Chinese, Italian, Canadian…) place identity, and consequently an altered perception of the “local” condition, compared to Dutch participants, where the local place identity should comprehend and correspond to the place attachment agent. Maybe, the use of an only-Dutch sample would have generated different analysis results, because their place attachment correspond to their local dimensions, thus it would be interesting to explore the topic using a different and only Dutch sample.

Concluding, with this paper begins the exploration of psychological distance in fear appeal campaigns. In the study, it was revealed that when different levels of spatial and temporal psychological distance are examined into fear environmental campaigns they do not have an influence on individual’s perceived severity and vulnerability, and neither on their level of final engagement with the global warming issue. However, due that this was the first experiment analysing this matter, it voluntarily did not consider other fundamental dimensions of psychological distance (hypothetical and social) nor the self/response efficacy component.

It is undeniable that further researches and studies are essential in order to discover how the different dimensions of psychological distance interact when individual process the message into fearful environmental appeals.

References

BBC News Online. (2000). Shockvertising: Ads that divide. Retrieved August, 31st 2012, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/02/99/e-cyclopedia/611979.stm

Bonnes M., Carruss G., Passafaro P. (2006). Psicologia Ambientale, Sostenibilitàe comportamenti ecologici [Environmental psychology, sustainainability and ecological behaviours] , Roma, Carrocci.

Carvalho, A., & Burgess, J. (2005). Cultural circuits of climate change: An analysis of representations of "dangerous" climate change in the UK broadsheet press 1985-2003. Risk Analysis, 25, 1457-1469.

Chaiken, S. (1980). Heuristic versus systematic information processing and the use of source versus message cues in persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 752-766.

Dunlap R.E., Gallup G.H., Gallup A.M., (1993). Of global concern: results of the Health and Planet Survey. Environment, 35, 33-40

Dunlap, R. E., Van Liere, K. D., Mertig, A. G. and Jones, R. E. (2000). New Trends in Measuring Environmental Attitudes: Measuring Endorsement of the New Ecological Paradigm: A Revised NEP Scale. Journal of Social Issues, 56, 425-442

Drottz-Sjöberg, B.-M. (2006). Perceptions of time and long time intervals. Paper presented at the VALDOR Conference, Stockholm.

Ereaut, G. and Segnit, N. (2006) Warm words: how are we telling the climate story and can we tell it better? Institute for Public Policy Research, London, 32

Field, A. P. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS (2nd Ed.). London: SAGE

Fridgen, C., (1994). Human disposition toward hazards, testing the environmental appraisal inventory. Journal of Environmental Psychology14, 101-111.

Gifford, R. (2008). Psychology’s essential role in climate change. Canadian Psychology/ psychologie canadienne, 49, 273-280.

Gifford, R, Scannell, L, Kormos, C, Smolova, L, Biel, ABoncu, S. (2009). Temporal pessimism and spatial optimism in environmental assessments: An 18-nation study .Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29, 1-12.

Hatfield J., Job R.F.S., (2001), Optimism bias about environmental degradation: the role of the range of impact of precautions. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 21, 17-30

Hine, J.M., Gifford, R., (1991). Fear appeals, individual differences, and environmental concern. Journal of Environmental Education,23, 36-41.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) TAR (2001), Climate Change 2001:Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Third Assessment Report, Annex B: Glossary of Terms, 388.

Jacoby J, Hoyer W. D. & Zimmer M., R.(1983). To read, view, or listen? A cross-media comparison of comprehension. Current issues and research in advertising. Ann Arbor (MI): University of Michigan, 201- 217

Kitzinger, J. (1994). The methodology of focus groups: the importance of interactions between research participants .Sociology of Health and Illness, 16, 103-21.

Kirscht, J. P., Haefner, D. P., Kegeles, S. S., & Rosenstock, I. M. (1966). A national study of health beliefs. Journal of Health and Human Behavior, 7, 248-254.

Krueger RA. (1988). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research. Thou-sand Oaks, CA: Sage. 2nd ed.

Kulik, J. A., Mahler, H. I. M. (1987). Health status, perceptions of risk, and prevention interest for health and nonhealth problems. Health Psychology, 6, 15-27.

Kyle, G. T., Graefe, A., Manning, R. E., & Bacon, J. (2004). Effect of involvement and place attachment on recreationists’ perceptions of setting density. Journal of Leisure Research, 36, 209-231.

Leiserowitz, A. (2007). Communicating the risks of global warming: American risk perceptions, affective images, and interpretive communities. In S. C. Moser & L. Dilling (Eds.), Creating a climate for change: Communicating climate change and facilitating social change (pp. 44-63). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Leventhal H., (1970). Findings and theory in the study of fear communications, in Berkowitz L (ed.): Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 5). New York, Academic Press, 119-186.

Liberman, N., Trope, Y., & Stephan, E. (2007). Psychological distance. Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles, 353-381. New York, NY: Guilford.’

Lorenzoni, I., Nicholson-Cole, S., & Whitmarsh, L. (2007). Barriers perceived to engaging with climate change among the UK public and their policy implications. Global Environmental Change, 17, 445-459.

Lowe, T., Brown, K., Dessai, S., de Franca Doria, M., Haynes, K., & Vincent, K. (2006). Does tomorrow ever come? Disaster narrative and public perceptions of climate change Public Understanding of Science, 15, 435-457.

Lowe T., (2006) ‘Dangerous claims’: Is the way we perceive climate change leading to a precautionary approach or an irrational response? Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Norwich, UK

Manzo, L. C. (2005). For better or worse: Exploring multiple dimensions of place meaning. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 25, 67-86.

Mazumdar, S., & Mazumdar, S. (2004). Religion and place attachment: A study of sacred places. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24, 385-397.

Minton, A. P., & Rose, R. L. (1997). The effects of environmental concern on environmentally friendly consumer behavior: An exploratory study. Journal of Business Research,40, 37- 48.

Morgan D.L., (1988). Focus Groups as Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Musson C., (1974). Local attitudes to population growth in South Buckinghamshire. H.B. Perry, Population and its problems: A plain man's guide. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 392-393

O'Neill, S.J. ( 2008 ). An iconic approach to communicating climate change . Unpublished PhD thesis, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK .

O’Neill SJ, Nicholson-Cole S. (2009) “Fear won’t do it”: Promoting positive engagement with climate change through visual and iconic representations. Science Communication 30(3): 355-379

Proshansky, H. M. (1978). The city and self-identity. Environment & Behavior, 10, 147-169.

Proshansky, H. M., & Fabian, A. K. (1987). The development of place identity in the child. In C. S. Weinstein & T. G. David (Eds.), Spaces for children (pp. 21-40). New York, NY: Plenum.

Proshansky, H. M., Fabian, A. K., & Kaminoff, R. (1983). Place-identity. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 3, 57-83

Poortinga W., Steg L., Vlek Values C., (2004). Environmental concern and environmental behavior: A study into household energy use. Environment and Behaviour, 36, 70-93

Proshansky H. M., Ittelson, W., Rivlin, L. G., (1970). Environmental Psychology: Man and His Physical Setting, Holt, Rinealt, & Winson, New York.

Reid, A. J. (1996). What we want: Qualitative research. Canadian Family Physician 42: 387-389.

Reiss H. T., Judd C. M., (2000). Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press

Rogers, R.W. (1983). Cognitive and physiological processes in fear appeals and attitude change: A revised theory of protection motivation. In: Cacioppo, J. & Petty, R. (eds.): Social Psychophysiology. New York, Guilford Press, 15-176.

Scannell L.,Gifford R., (2011) Personally Relevant Climate Change: The Role of Place Attachment and Local Versus Global Message Framing in Engagement. Environment and Behavior published online 20 October 2011

Schultz P. W., Gouveia V. V., Cameroni D., Thanka G., Schmuck P., Franek M., (2005), Values and their relationship to environmental concern and conservation behavior. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 36, 357-475

Sedgwick, M. (2001). Floodland. London: Orion.

Stern P. C. (1992) Psychological Dimension of Global Environmental Change, in “Annual Rewiew of Psychology”, 43, pp. 269-302. ID. (1996), Paper presented at the 26th International Congress of Psychology, Montreal, Canada, unpublished. ID (2000), Toward a Choerent Theory of Environmentally Significant Behavior, Journal of Social Issues, 56, 407-24

Stokols, D., & Shumaker, S. A. (1981). People in places: A transactional view of settings. In J. Harvey (Ed.), Cognition, social behavior, and the environment (pp. 441- 488).Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Tonn, B. , Hemrick, A. , & Conrad, F. ( 2006 ). Cognitive representations of the future: Survey results . Futures, 38 , 810 - 829 .

Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2010). Construal-level theory of psychological distance. Psychological review, 117 (2), 440-463

Twigger-Ross, C. L., & Uzzell, D. L. (1996). Place and identity processes. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 16, 205-220.

Uzzell, D. L., (2000).The psycho-spatial dimension of global environmental problems. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 20, pp. 307-318

Weinstein, N. D. (1980). Unrealistic optimism about future life events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 806-820.

Weinstein, N. D. (1982). Unrealistic optimism about susceptibility to health problems. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 5: 441-460.

Weinstein, N. D. (1984) Why it won't happen to me: Perceptions of risk factors and illness susceptibility. Health Psychol. 3: 431-457.

Weinstein, N. D. (1989). Effects of personal experience on self-protective behavior. PsychologicalBulletin, 105, 31-50.

Witte, K. ( 1992 ). Putting the fear back into fear appeals: The extended parallel process model . Communication Monographs, 59 , 329 - 349 .

Witte, K. (1994). Fear control and danger control: A test of the extended parallel process model (EPPM). Communication Monographs, 61, 113-134

Witte, K. (1998) Fear as motivator, fear as inhibitor: Using the EPPM to explain fear appeal successes and failures, in Andersen PA, Guerrero LK (eds.): The Handbook of Communication and Emotion. New York, Academic Press, 423-450.

Witte K, Allen M. (2000) A meta-analysis of fear appeals: implications for effective public health campaigns. Health Education and Behavior, 27, 591-615.

Woldoff, R. A. (2002). The effect of local stressors on neighborhood attachment. Social Forces, 81, 87-116.

APPENDIX A:

Condition one. Local - Near Future

Image removed for publication due to copyright.

This image shows a map of the Netherlands where the areas of Rotterdam, Leiden, Utrecht, Amsterdam and Alkmaar have been flooded.

The upper left cornber contains the Greenpeace logo and the slogan "Sea level is rising. Stop global warming." The lower right corner contains the caption "Netherlands, 2013"

Condition two: Local - Future

Image removed for publication due to copyright.

This image shows a map of the Netherlands where the areas of Rotterdam, Leiden, Utrecht, Amsterdam and Alkmaar have been flooded.

The upper left cornber contains the Greenpeace logo and the slogan "Sea level is rising. Stop global warming." The lower right corner contains the caption "Netherlands, 2038"

Condition three: Global - Near Future

Image removed for publication due to copyright.

This image shows a map of the Florida peninsula where the areas from Miami up to Cape Coral and Port St. Lucie have been flooded.

The lower right corner contains the Greenpeace logo and the slogan "Sea level is rising. Stop global warming." The upper left corner contains the caption "Florida, 2013"

Condition four: Global - Future

Image removed for publication due to copyright.

This image shows a map of the Florida peninsula where the areas from Miami up to Cape Coral and Port St. Lucie have been flooded.

The lower right corner contains the Greenpeace logo and the slogan "Sea level is rising. Stop global warming." The upper left corner contains the caption "Florida, 2038"

APPENDIX B:

PRE-TEST

Brief

Dear respondents,

First of all, I want to thank you for your participation in my study. This experiment is part of a research, which explores green marketing campaigns about climate changes. If you want to participate and proceed with the experiment, please read the information below carefully.

I agree to voluntarily participate in the study. If the results are used in scientific publications, or are published in any other way, the data will be completely anonymous. Your personal data will not be read by third parties without your explicit permission. If I want more information, now, or in the future, I can contact ___________________________ or/and ______________________. If there are any complaints I can contact the member of the Ethics board on behalf of ASCoR, per address: ASCoR secretariaat, Commissie Ethiek, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam; 020-525 3680; ascor-secr-fmg@uva.nl.

- I understand the above information and agree to participate

Introduction to the stimuli

Below you see a poster by Greenpeace. Please take a look and when you are ready please click continue to answer some questions concerning it. Please note that once you have observed the poster and clicked to continue, you will not be able to return back to the poster.

Presentation of the stimuli (see APPENDIX A)

Manipulation check. Time and space:

According to your perception, how distant can the scene represented be considered:

- In terms of space (very close - close - quite close - not far/not close - quite far - far - very far)
- In terms of time (very close - close - quite close - not far/not close - quite far - far - very far)

Fear. According to your perception, the advertisement was:

Scary (from 1 to 70) - Frightening (from 1 to 70) - Alarming (from 1 to 70)

Advertising credibility. To which extent do you believe the advertisement can be considered: Credible - (from 1 to 70) - Believable (from 1 to 70) - Realistic (from 1 to 70)

Credibility of the occurrence of the fact represented

To which degree do you think the fact represented in the advertising:

Can actually happen - (from 1 to 70) - May occur in reality - (from 1 to 70)

Demographics Details

Lastly, we would like to ask you to answer some questions about yourself.

- What is your age?
- What is your gender?
- What is your nationality?
- Do you live in The Netherlands? (Yes or No)
- What is your highest level of education?

Debrief

The image you have seen in the present experiment is not an original "Greenpeace" advertisement, but a poster made by myself with the aim to use them for the study. If you have any question, you are free to contact me:

If you have any remarks, please write them down here:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Conclusion

The experiment is finished! Thank you very much for your participation!

To submit your response click below.

APPENDIX C:

EXPERIMENT

Brief

Dear respondents,

First of all, I want to thank you for your participation in my study. This experiment is part of a research, which explores green marketing campaigns about climate changes. If you want to participate and proceed with the experiment, please read the information below carefully.

I agree to voluntarily participate in the study. If the results are used in scientific publications, or are published in any other way, the data will be completely anonymous. Your personal data will not be read by third parties without your explicit permission. If I want more information, now, or in the future, I can contact ________________________ or/and ________________________. If there are any complaints I can contact the member of the Ethics board on behalf of ASCoR, per address: ASCoR secretariaat, Commissie Ethiek, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam; 020-525 3680; ascor-secr-fmg@uva.nl.

- I understand the above information and agree to participate

Introduction to the stimuli

Below you see a poster by Greenpeace. Please take a look and when you are ready please click continue to answer some questions concerning it. Please note that once you have observed the poster and clicked to continue, you will not be able to return back to the poster.

Presentation of the stimuli (see APPENDIX A)

Vulnerability

Now, please indicate your degree of agreement with the following statements:

(Strongly disagree - Disagree - Somewhat Disagree - Neither agree nor Disagree - Somewhat agree - Agree - Strongly Agree)

- We are approaching the limit of the number of people the Earth can support
- When humans interfere with nature it often produces disastrous consequences
- Humans are seriously abusing the environment
- Plants and animals have much right as humans to exist
- Despite our special abilities, humans are still subject to the laws of nature
- The earth id like a spaceship with very limited room and resourches
- The balance of nature is very delicate and easy to upset
- If things continue on their present course, we will soon experience a major ecological catastrophe

Severity

How would you evaluate …

(Very Good - Good - Fair - Neither Good nor Bad - Poor - Bad - Very Bad)

- The state of rivers and lakes
- The degree of biodiversity
- The quality of the air
- The state of parks and green space
- The state of forest and wilderness
- The effects of greenhouse gasses
- The effects of human population on the environment

Engagement

- To what degree do you feel responsible for climate change?
- To what degree do you feel guilty for climate change?
- To what degree do you feel informed about the climate change issue?
- To what degree do you feel concerned about climate change?
- To what degree are you willing to help to stop climate change?
- Would you be willing to sign a petition to support an environmental cause?
- Would you consider joining a group or club, which is concerned with the environment?
- Would you be willing to pay more taxes to support greater government control of pollution?
- Would you be willing to pay more each month for electricity if it meant cleaner air?
- Would you be willing to stop buying products from companies guilty of polluting the environment even though it might be inconvenient for you?
- Would you be willing to make personal sacrifices for the sake of slowing down pollution even though the immediate results may not seem significant?

Demographics Details

Lastly, we would like to ask you to answer some questions about yourself.

- What is your age?
- What is your gender?
- What is your nationality?
- Do you live in The Netherlands? (Yes or No)
- What is your highest level of education?

Debrief

The image you have seen in the present experiment is not an original "Greenpeace"

advertisement, but a poster made by myself with the aim to use them for the study. If you have any question, you are free to contact me:

If you have any remarks, please write them down here:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Conclusion

The experiment is finished! Thank you very much for your participation! To submit your response click below.

50 of 50 pages

Details

Title
No Fear of Global Warming? Temporal - Spatial Biases and Response Engagement into Fear Environmental Appeal
Subtitle
An Exploratory Experimental Study
College
University of Amsterdam  (Graduated School of Communication)
Author
Year
2013
Pages
50
Catalog Number
V354822
ISBN (Book)
9783668441705
File size
736 KB
Language
English
Tags
fear, global, warming, temporal, spatial, biases, response, engagement, environmental, appeal, exploratory, experimental, study
Quote paper
Ilaria Patulli (Author), 2013, No Fear of Global Warming? Temporal - Spatial Biases and Response Engagement into Fear Environmental Appeal, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/354822

Comments

  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: No Fear of Global Warming? Temporal - Spatial Biases and Response Engagement into Fear Environmental Appeal


Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free