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How to communicate the scientific consensus on climate change: plain facts, pie charts or metaphors?

van der Linden, Sander, Leiserowitz, Anthony A., Feinberg, Geoffrey D. and Maibach, Edward W. (2014) How to communicate the scientific consensus on climate change: plain facts, pie charts or metaphors? Climatic Change, online. ISSN 0165-0009

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10584-014-1190-4

Abstract

Previous research has identified public perceptions of the scientific consensus on climate change as an important gateway belief. Yet, little research to date has examined how to effectively communicate the scientific consensus on climate change. In this study, we conducted an online experiment using a national quota sample to compare three approaches to communicating the scientific consensus, namely: (a) descriptive text, (b) a pie chart and (c) metaphorical representations. Results indicate that while all three approaches can significantly increase public understanding of the degree of scientific consensus, the pie chart and simple text have superior recall and are most effective across political party lines. We conclude that the scientific consensus on climate change is most effectively communicated as a short, simple message that is easy to comprehend and remember. Representing the consensus visually in the form of a pie chart appears to be particularly useful.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://link.springer.com/
Additional Information: © 2014 Springer Science & Business Media Dordrecht
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2014 15:56
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2019 02:27
Funders: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF)
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/57690

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