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Anger consensus messaging can enhance expectations for collective action and support for climate mitigation

Sabherwal, Anandita, Pearson, Adam and Sparkman, Gregg (2021) Anger consensus messaging can enhance expectations for collective action and support for climate mitigation. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 76. ISSN 0272-4944

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101640


Media coverage of climate protests within the United States and internationally has shown growing public frustration about governmental responses to climate change. But what are the effects of conveying that people are angry? And how do they contrast with more traditional norm messages about climate policy support? Here, we investigate whether social norm messaging about collective anger can impact perceptions of consensus and public support for climate mitigation. In a pilot study and two survey experiments (total N=1529), we find that relative to control messages, normative appeals that convey growing public anger about U.S. inaction on climate change (i.e., dynamic anger consensus messaging) can enhance Americans’ consensus estimates of other Americans’ climate-related beliefs and support for mitigation policy, and expectations for future climate-mitigating collective action. Moreover, exposure to a dynamic anger consensus message led to similar estimates of Americans’ policy support and belief in climate change as messages that explicitly conveyed public support for climate mitigation (Study 1) or consensus belief in anthropogenic climate change (Study 2). When tailored for a cross-partisan audience, anger consensus messaging was also effective in bolstering personal support for climate mitigation (Study 2). Notably, similar effects were observed across partisan groups. These findings suggest that, by signaling shared motivational states, emotion consensus appeals can enhance expectations for social change, with the potential to mobilize bipartisan support for climate mitigation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2021 13:54
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2024 17:06

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