Date of Award

8-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

Program

Psychology - General

First Advisor/Chairperson

Joshua Carlson

Abstract

Although climate change has become an increasingly popular topic in both research and the public-eye, there is little standardization of the images used to represent it. The differences in expert and non-expert climate imagery is also problematic. This study aims to resolve both of these issues: first by analyzing participants’ ratings of 320 images on their relevance to climate change as well as emotional arousal and valence; then by compiling these images and their affective characteristics into a database for use in future climate-related research. Participants’ environmental attitudes were surveyed to investigate the relationship between attitudes and image ratings. High-arousal, low-valence images tended to be rated as most relevant to climate change, and participants with higher environmental interest tended to rate all images as more relevant to climate change. We also found that image themes of climate-relevant images in this study were similar to those found in other climate imagery studies—e.g. ice floes, industrial smog, and natural disaster outcomes—implying that non-experts consistently find that this type of imagery best represents climate change.

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