Informing about climate change and invasive species: how the presentation of information affects perception of risk, emotions, and learning

Research
TitleInforming about climate change and invasive species: how the presentation of information affects perception of risk, emotions, and learning
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsOtieno, C, Spada, H, Liebler, K, Ludemann, T, Deil, U, Renkl, A
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Volume20
Issue5
Pagination612 - 638
Date Published2014/09/03/
ISBN Number1350-4622
Keywordsclimate change communication, emotions, environmental education, invasive species, perception of risk
AbstractEnvironmental issues such as climate change are becoming ever more important in today’s societies and politics. Information is spread by the media, for example, via the Internet or information brochures, employing different representational styles (e.g. sensational vs. neutral styles, emphasis of human vs. natural causes). We investigated the effects of such differences in presentation when informing about local impacts of climate change – more specifically about invasive species – on perceived risk, emotions, and learning. Seventy-two students at a German university read five brochures about the local effects of climate change and invasive species. They rated their perceived risk and emotions and worked on learning outcome tests. As expected, the sensational style led to higher perceived risk and stronger negative emotions than the neutral style. In addition, our results reveal a potential dilemma for environmental education: while a sensational style enhanced general learning outcomes, it seemed to lead to quite a negative and one-sided view about climate change and invasive species.
URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2013.833589