Maria Fei

BIO

I grew up in the suburbs of New York and also hold British and Italian citizenship. I worked in market research in London since late 2010 and was in the first cohort of LSE's Psychology of Economic Life MSc, now in its 3rd year. I now work at Ipsos MORI on the healthcare team. As the Behavioural Science Lead, I consult the team on how to approach healthcare research from different perspectives, ranging from communicating to physicians to understanding barriers young men in South Africa face in seeking HIV testing and treatment.

DISSERTATION

‘Is it coming home?’ A Construal Level Theory perspective on climate change communication.

Supervisor: Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington

According to Construal Level Theory, people’s mental representation of an object or event influences what information they pay attention to and how they act; if they have a high construal, abstract mind-set, they are more likely to act on their high construal values and beliefs; and if they have a low construal, concrete mind-set, they are more likely to act on their low construal practical concerns. In the context of climate change, this study tests whether mitigation can be associated with an abstract construal, and adaptation with a concrete construal. This was tested through an online survey experiment that randomly assigned UK residents to climate change information framed in either abstract or concrete terms, then measured endorsement of mitigation and adaptation strategies, and donations to two charities representing mitigation and adaptation. The statistical findings partially supported the hypothesis: the Construal Level of climate change significantly affected endorsement for mitigation policies and personal intentions when taken together, but not when considered separately. Those in the Abstract condition were marginally more likely to show intent to engage in mitigation intentions. Fear, a low construal emotion, influenced the evaluations of participants in the concrete condition. However, most participants equally split donations between mitigation and adaptation charities. These findings have implications for policy-makers, communicators and researchers. Regardless of how climate change is framed or how mitigation and adaptation are perceived, people may see these two strategies as equally important in addressing climate change. These findings are speculative and further research is needed.

© 2019 by The DisCo Initiative 

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