Magazine article USA TODAY

Changing Minds about Climate Change

Magazine article USA TODAY

Changing Minds about Climate Change

Article excerpt

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, maintains a study appearing in the Journal of Communication. Researchers found that those who were open-minded did not 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 also was no evidence of open-minded individuals 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, but our results suggest there are ways to approach the issue that may have some impact, at least for a segment of the public," notes study coauthor Erik Nisbet. "In the real world, people are getting multiple competing messages on all kinds of important issues. …

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