Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

5-2014

Abstract

Decades of research demonstrate that how the public thinks about a given issue is affected by how it is framed by the media. Typically, studies of framing vary how an issue is portrayed (often, by altering the text of written communication) and compare subsequent beliefs, attitudes, or preferences—taking a framing effect as evidence that a media frame (or frame in communication) instantiated a particular audience frame (or frame in thought). Less work, however, has attempted to measure frames in thought directly, which may illuminate cognitive mechanisms that underlie framing effects. In this vein, we describe a Web experiment (n = 400) in which US political partisans reported the extent to which a “global warming” or “climate change” frame brought to mind various climate-related concepts. Although the media frequently employ them interchangeably, these frames evoked distinct patterns of cognitive accessibility across partisans: Whereas conservatives associated heat-related impacts (rising temperatures, melting ice) more strongly with “global warming” than with “climate change,” liberals associated these impacts equally with both phrases. Discussion focuses on implications for media framing of climate issues and framing theory more broadly.

Keywords

framing effects, climate change, cognitive accessibility, media frames, motivated reasoning

Discipline

Business and Corporate Communications | Environmental Policy | Social Influence and Political Communication

Research Areas

Corporate Communication

Publication

Environmental Communication

Volume

8

Issue

4

First Page

529

Last Page

548

ISSN

1752-4032

Identifier

10.1080/17524032.2014.909510

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge): STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Titles

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2014.909510