A new study to come out of the University of California, Berkeley, has shown that when scientific evidence or news regarding the damaging effects of climate change or global warming are presented too negatively people are more likely to dismiss and deny what they have heard.
“Our study indicates that the potentially devastating consequences of global warming threaten people’s fundamental tendency to see the world as safe, stable and fair. As a result, people may respond by discounting evidence for global warming,” said Robb Willer, UC Berkeley social psychologist and coauthor of a study to be published in the January issue of the journal Psychological Science.
“The scarier the message, the more people who are committed to viewing the world as fundamentally stable and fair are motivated to deny it,” agreed Matthew Feinberg, a doctoral student in psychology and coauthor of the study.
This could be the cause of an earlier Gallup poll which saw 48 percent of Americans surveyed suspecting that concerns over global warming were exaggerated, and 19 percent feeling that global warming would never happen.
Overall, the study concludes, “Fear-based appeals, especially when not coupled with a clear solution, can backfire and undermine the intended effects of messages.”