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Changing minds about climate change policy can be done—sometimes

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Posted June 25, 2013

Some open-minded people can be swayed to support government intervention on climate change – but only if they are presented with both the benefits and the costs, a new study suggests.

 

Researchers found that those who were open-minded didn’t change their view if they heard arguments for only one side of the issue.

People who are relatively more closed-minded did not change their mind regardless of the messages they received, or what their original views were. There was also no evidence of open-minded people becoming less supportive of government intervention, no matter if they heard both sides of the argument or only one.

“Climate change is such a polarizing issue that has received so much attention, so it is very difficult to influence people to change their opinion,” said Erik Nisbet, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

“But our results suggest there are ways to approach the issue that may have some impact, at least for a segment of the public.”

The study appears online in the Journal of Communication and will be published in a future print edition.

The study involved a nationally representative sample of people who participated online. First, participants filled out a questionnaire asking a variety of questions and seeing where they stood on government intervention in climate change.

Four weeks later, the participants watched either one or two short videos that took sides on whether the government should take action to reduce the effects of climate change. Some saw only a video for or against government action, while others saw both pro and con videos.

Read more at: Phys.org

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