Proposal: Do we want our future children to walk on a “carpet of flowers” or on a “carpet of trash”?
Testing the impact of metaphorical language on environmental concern.
The above-mentioned quote is from the environmental activist Haïda El Ali, who has dedicated his whole life to the renaturation of the mangrove forest. The metaphors powerfully illustrate the responsibility we have for future generations. Previous research has shown that metaphorical compared to non-metaphorical language increases the comprehensibility of information (e.g., Casarett et al., 2010), enhances attention (e.g., Fernandez-Duque & Johnson, 2002), and facilitates its memorization (e.g., Pearson et al., 1981). There has been much research on the use of metaphorical language in medicine (Casarett et al., 2010; Hendricks et al., 2018), education (Duit, 1991; Pearson et al., 1981), and various social contexts (Panzeri et al., 2021; Schnepf & Christmann, in press). To date, little research has been done on the effects of metaphors in relation to crucial environmental problems. Psychological framing research has focused on abstract phenomena such as “the climate” or “the environment” (Flusberg et al., 2017; Hardisty et al., 2010), but less attention has been paid on concrete consequences such as floods, extreme heat, droughts, or the global waste problem. The aim of this study is to test whether the use of metaphorical compared to non-metaphorical frames for concrete environmental issues affect people’s environmental concern, their willingness to act and to donate for related pro-environmental programs. For this purpose, an experiment is planned in which two concrete environmental issues are labeled with a metaphorical frame versus a non-metaphorical frame. This results in four experimental conditions (issue x frame). To be able to identify a small framing effect, 600 participants will be needed. The study will take about 7 minutes. Therefore, a budget of £739.20 is needed.
Researchgate account: Julia SCHNEPF | PhD Student | Master of Arts | Universität Koblenz-Landau, Koblenz | Faculty of Psychology
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