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Cli-fi videos can increase charitable donations: experimental evidence from the United Kingdom

Shreedhar, Ganga ORCID: 0000-0003-2517-2485, Sabherwal, Anandita and Maldonado, Ricardo (2024) Cli-fi videos can increase charitable donations: experimental evidence from the United Kingdom. Frontiers in Psychology, 14. ISSN 1664-1078

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Identification Number: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1176077


Recent research has begun to investigate if climate fiction, or cli-fi, can increase people’s support for pro-climate initiatives. Emerging evidence focuses on whether cli-fi stories affect people’s self-reported emotions, attitudes, and intentions. Few studies, however, examine the effect of such stories on revealed behavior, and whether the cli-fi story medium, i.e., whether stories are presented in text, audio, or audio-visual format, matters. We investigate the causal effect of cli-fi stories, and the medium through which they are communicated (textual, audio, or audio-visual) on self-reported support for climate policy, individual and collective action intentions, and a revealed measure of charitable donations. In a pre-registered online experiment (n=1085 UK adults), participants were randomly assigned to one of 5 conditions– to read scientific information about climate change (scientific information condition), read a story unrelated to the environment (control), read a cli-fi story in which a protagonist took intentional pro-environmental actions (fiction text), listen to the same cli-fi story in audio format (fiction audio), or watch an animation of the cli-fi story (fiction video). When comparing the fiction-text, fact-text, and control conditions, we found that cli-fi stories are not always more effective than alternative climate communications: participants in the fact-text condition reported higher support for climate policies, and intentions of taking individual environmental actions, and negative feelings of sadness, disappointment, and guilt, compared to the text-based control and cli-fi text condition. When comparing the cli-fi media format, we found that cli-fi videos were most effective in increasing pro-environmental charitable donations in an incentivized choice task, and self-reported feelings of happiness, hope, and inspiration. The findings show that scientific information about the climate and climate-fiction have an important place in the climate communications toolkit and can offer distinct pathways to enhance support for policy and behavioral change. Communicators seeking to inspire individual pro-environmental actions can consider telling cli-fi stories in video, which may be more compelling. And communicators seeking to enhance public support for societal changes, via climate policies, may benefit from disseminating scientific information about climate change.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2023 10:18
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 17:51

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