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Undesirable effects of threatening climate change information: A cross-cultural study

Uhl, I., Klackle, J., Hansen, N. & Jonas, E. Apr-2018 In : Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 21, 3, p. 513-529 17 p.

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  • Undesirable effects of threatening climate change information: A cross-cultural study

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DOI

Why is the fight against climate change so challenging? Research suggests that climate change information may trigger symbolic defense strategies such as derogative outgroup behaviors (e.g., ethnocentrism) instead of direct attempts to address the problem itself (e.g., proenvironmental behavior). Ingroup affirmation may help decrease symbolic responses. We conducted a 2 (Affirmation: ingroup vs. no affirmation) × 2 (Message: threat vs. control) × 2 (Nation: Austria vs. Argentina) experiment (N = 243) to assess responses to climate change information (direct and symbolic) in participants from individualist and collectivist cultures. Participants responded with higher levels of ethnocentrism and a lower intention to engage in proenvironmental behavior after reading climate change information. This effect was significant in Austria. Using ingroup affirmation as an intervention tended to foster rather than reduce ethnocentrism. Thus, across cultures people resolve climate change threat in symbolic ways rather than by trying to address the problem itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-529
Number of pages17
JournalGroup Processes & Intergroup Relations
Volume21
Issue number3
Early online date30-Oct-2017
StatePublished - Apr-2018

    Keywords

  • TERROR MANAGEMENT THEORY, MORTALITY SALIENCE, SELF-ESTEEM, GROUP AFFIRMATION, PROCESS MODEL, MOTIVATION, COGNITION, IDENTITY, DEFENSE, UNCERTAINTY
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