The Effects of Gain- and Loss-framed Messages When Paired with a Social-norm on Motivating an Energy Conscious Behavior Change in Altruistic Settings




Keltner, Susan

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As a result of slow outcomes from global climate change negotiations, it is increasingly apparent that a multifaceted policy approach to climate change mitigation may be necessary. Encouraging energy efficient behavior at the individual level is one such approach, and would require a public messaging campaign. Two frequently used forms of messages are loss-framed and gain-framed. For example, a gain-framed message related to climate change might feature a thriving polar bear and encourage mitigation action to protect such a majestic creature. However, most climate change appeals use loss-framed messaging, which might include an image of a drowning polar and text shaming readers for their carbon footprint. There has been very little prior work which assesses the effects of message framing in environmental appeals, with most studies focusing on health related communications. This disparity is important since individuals generally do not personalize environmental risks in the same way as health-related risks.



Environmental science, Communication, Climate change, Altruism, Climate change, Energy, Message Framing, Messaging, Social-norms