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Framing the future climate change (trento 2015)

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The effects of messages framing in political communication on climate change policies

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Framing the future climate change (trento 2015)

  1. 1. Framing the future: The effects of message framing in political communication on climate change policies Mauro Bertolotti Patrizia Catellani 1st International Conference on Anticipation, Trento, November 5-7, 2015
  2. 2. Bertolotti & Catellani If I eat less red meat, I will have a longer, healthier life. Thinking and communicating the future  Individuals anticipate future events through prefactual thinking (Gleicher et al., 1995; Bakker et al., 1997).  When individuals engage in or are exposed to prefactual thoughts:  They focus on a course of action leading to an expected outcome (Petrocelli et al., 2012);  They prepare for that course of action (Roese & Epstude, 2008; Sanna, 2006). If we cut carbon emissions, we will reduce the effects of global warming
  3. 3. Bertolotti & Catellani Anticipating climate change  Climate change is an emerging global issue threatening our future as individuals, members of a community and human beings.  The scientific community first, and governmental institutions then, have undergone collective efforts to deal with this issue.  Communication to the general public has been limited, resulting in wavering support for climate change policies.
  4. 4. Bertolotti & Catellani Communication factors hindering support for climate change action 1. Communication about climate change policies is often very complex. 2. Communication often focuses on the threats of climate change (global warming, natural disasters etc...), and less often on the opportunities deriving from policy adoption (technological advancements etc...). 3. Communication rarely defines the actors responsible for climate change policies (the international community, nations, individual citizens...)
  5. 5. Bertolotti & Catellani Promoting support for climate change action with message framing Prefactual communication and message framing can be used to: 1. select and organise information, providing it a meaningful interpretation (Entman, 1993; Scheufele, 1999). 2. highlight both positive and negative aspects of policy adoption (or non-adoption) (Cesario et al., 2013). 3. focus on given actors with whom the public identifies (Masson & Fritsche, 2014; Schuck & De Vreese, 2006).
  6. 6. Bertolotti & Catellani Prefactual framing and regulatory focus  Individuals spontaneously think about the future in terms of opportunities and risks, depending on situations and individual differences in regulatory focus (Higgins, 1997).  Message framing can be designed to reflect recipients' self-regulatory processes (Cesario et al., 2013).  Regulatory fit derives from the interaction among multiple levels of framing and recipients' focus (Cesario et al., 2004; Higgins et al., 2002).
  7. 7. Bertolotti & Catellani Prefactual framing of climate change policies If we... then we will.... invest in renewable energy sources reduce greenhouse gases emissions Goal-pursuit strategies (approach/avoidance)
  8. 8. Bertolotti & Catellani Prefactual framing of climate change policies If we... then we will.... invest in renewable energy sources reduce greenhouse gases emissions obtain positive returns on economic development obtain a reduction in natural disasters Regulatory concerns (growth/safety)
  9. 9. Bertolotti & Catellani Prefactual framing of climate change policies If we... then we will.... invest in renewable energy sources reduce greenhouse gases emissions obtain positive returns on economic development avoid a negative impact on economic development Outcome sensitivities (positive/negative)
  10. 10. Bertolotti & Catellani Prefactual framing and regulatory focus Two online studies (N = 95; N = 66) with student participants (77.5 % females, age M = 24.5). Independent variables:  Goal-pursuit strategy  Regulatory concern  Outcome sensitivity Measured variables:  Initial attitudes towards the policy  Agreement with the policy message  Voting intention  Individual regulatory focus scale (Lockwood et al., 2002) (Bertolotti & Catellani, EJSP, 2014)
  11. 11. Bertolotti & Catellani Stimuli Outcome Sensitivity Regulatory Concern Achievement of Positive Outcomes Avoidance of Negative Outcomes Growth Concern “…we will obtain a positive return on the economic development.” “…we will avoid a negative impact on the economic development.” Safety Concern “…we will obtain a reduction of energy costs.” “…we will avoid an increase of energy costs.” Eager Approach Strategy: “If we invest in renewable energy sources like solar and wind power…” • To what extent do you agree with the statement you have just read? • Would you vote for a politician making this statement? (Bertolotti & Catellani, EJSP, 2014)
  12. 12. Bertolotti & Catellani Stimuli Outcome Sensitivity Regulatory Concern Achievement of Positive Outcomes Avoidance of Negative Outcomes Growth Concern “…we will obtain better climatic conditions.” “…we will avoid worse climatic conditions.” Safety Concern “…we will obtain a reduction of the negative effects of natural disasters.” “…we will avoid an increase of the negative effects of natural disasters.” Vigilant Avoidance Strategy: “If we intervene on the emissions of greenhouse gases responsible of global warming…” • To what extent do you agree with the statement you have just read? • Would you vote for a politician making this statement? (Bertolotti & Catellani, EJSP, 2014)
  13. 13. Bertolotti & Catellani Agreement as a function of outcome sensitivity and regulatory concern 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 Attainment of Positive Outcomes Avoidance of Negative Outcomes Renewable Energy Policy (approach strategy) 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 Attainment of Positive Outcomes Avoidance of Negative Outcomes GH Gas Emissions Policy (avoidance strategy) (Bertolotti & Catellani, EJSP, 2014) Growth Concern Safety Concern
  14. 14. Bertolotti & Catellani Promoting support for climate change action with message framing Levels of Message framing Support for climate change policies Regulatory focus
  15. 15. Bertolotti & Catellani Agreement as a function of outcome sensitivity and regulatory focus 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 Attainment of Positive Outcomes Avoidance of Negative Outcomes Renewable Energy Policy 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 Attainment of Positive Outcomes Avoidance of Negative Outcomes GH Gas Emissions Policy (Bertolotti & Catellani, EJSP, 2014) Promotion Focus Prevention Focus
  16. 16. Bertolotti & Catellani Prefactual framing and identification Levels of Message framing Actors responsible for the policy Identification Support for climate change policies Regulatory focus
  17. 17. Bertolotti & Catellani Identification with the actors responsible for climate change policies  Climate change policy are currently designed and implemented at a national or supra-national level.  People can identify with different groups at once (Castano et al., 2004; Turner et al., 1987).  When communication focuses on the role of national or supra-national institutions, recipients identified with them more likely accept and support a policy.
  18. 18. Bertolotti & Catellani Prefactual framing and identification ITANES panel survey (N = 3244) on a representative sample of Italian voters. Independent variables:  Hedonic consequence of the message  Regulatory concern of the message  Political actor responsible of policy implementation Measured variables:  Agreement with the policy message  National/supra-national identification ("I see my self as: Only Italian / More Italian than European/Both Italian and European/More European than Italian/Only European") (Bertolotti & Catellani, EJSP, in press)
  19. 19. Bertolotti & Catellani Stimuli Hedonic Consequence Regulatory Concern Positive Outcome Negative Outcome Growth Concern “…there will be positive returns in terms of economic development.” “…there will be negative returns in terms of economic development.” Safety Concern “…the cost of energy will be reduced.” “…the cost of energy will increase.” “If Italy/Europe invests (doesn't invest) in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power…” To what extent do you agree with the statement you have just read? (Bertolotti & Catellani, EJSP, in press)
  20. 20. Bertolotti & Catellani Agreement with the policy message as a function of hedonic consequence and regulatory concern 7.0 7.2 7.4 7.6 7.8 8.0 8.2 8.4 Growth Safety Agreement Positive Consequence Negative Consequence (Bertolotti & Catellani, EJSP, in press) Regulatory Concern
  21. 21. Bertolotti & Catellani Agreement as a function of message framing and identification 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 10.0 Congruently-framed Message Identification National Supra-national 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 10.0 Incongruently-framed Message Identification National Supra-national (Bertolotti & Catellani, EJSP, in press) Italy Europe
  22. 22. Bertolotti & Catellani Conclusions  Prefactual communication can help people anticipating the consequences of climate change policies.  Support for climate change policies can be increased by coherent framing of policy messages.  The persuasiveness of prefactual communication depends on:  its fit with receivers' own way of anticipating the future (regulatory focus).  its fit with receivers' identification with the agents of change.
  23. 23. Thank you!

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